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Flemington Andrew Ramsden Stakes

May 25th, 2019

This used to be a pretty ordinary race over two miles for worn out stayers at the start of winter. But the VRC and Racing Victoria have now given it a boost by doubling the prize money to $400,000, reducing the distance to 2800 metres, restricting the race to three, four and 5-year old horses at weight for age, and giving the winner a golden ticket into the Melbourne Cup. So that piqued my interest!

The form guide and the bookies had it as a two horse race between Steel Prince, with the picket fence form, and the Adelaide Cup winner, Surprise Baby. Ten to one the field bar two. The horsewatcher had it much the same, with a slight preference for the Baby, mainly because the Prince was sweating up. Both looked keen, ears pricked. But both too short at $1.40 the place. It was a stirring race with a dramatic finish. It looked like a dead heat and they would have to find a second golden ticket, but the Prince prevailed by a hair’s breadth. I was happy just to watch. The barrier probably beat the Baby.

I’m out of here now for the winter. Hopefully back in the spring for the Caulfield Guineas.


Caulfield Race Day

May 11th, 2019

At last the autumn break. 37 mm of rain at my place after the driest start to the year on record. But danger lurks at Caulfield. A Soft 5, so some give in the track, but not badly affected. I’m no good in the wet, but I really want to go to see just one horse, Villermont, in the second last.

I last saw this horse winning the Sandown Guineas as a three-year-old in 2017 and I was blown away by his relaxed attitude and looks. I made the comment that “it’s hard to see that I will ever get $2.70 the place about this horse again!” Clearly I was wrong! Today Villermont is going around at $2.80. The horse is relaxed, head down, and led on a nice loose strap, but  hasn’t raced in 12 months, the distance is too short, and a disturbing development is the appearance of a tongue tie and cross-over noseband combination. So after all that anticipation it’s a no go. Villermont bounded in the air at the start and ran an even race to finish sixth.

The day wasn’t a total wipeout though as Neurotic, despite the name, was a calm, head down horse, and loomed up to win. The mare fortunately held on for third at $3.40. That’s even better than $2.70!

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