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Cox Plate

October 22nd, 2022

I’m up at 7, woken by the rain, full of doubt. It’s been pouring all night. I live just a couple of drop kicks from the Valley and there’s 33 mm in my rain gauge. A heavy track! I don’t bet on the heavy. I’ve pretty much decided not to go. It starts clearing by 11 and I’m in two minds. By the time they jump in the first I’ve decided it’s better to get out of the house than sit around moping. I used to catch the tram or walk but today I’ll drive. There’s a long queue of cars and it takes me 25 minutes to get into the centre car park. The parking attendant directs me to a spot a mile from the tunnel so I ask if there’s anything a bit closer now that I’m a disabled person. I’m put in a huge puddle next to a BMW. I hope there are a lot of lads around to push me out later!

I narrow the race down to two horses, Gold Trip and El Bodegon. Gold Trip is relaxed, but not quite as imperious as last week and El Bodegon is pawing extravagantly in his stall. There’s nothing wrong with the hot pot Anamoe except the $1.30 the place. I’m Thunderstruck is not a settled horse and Gai’s horse Alligator Blood has the lameness query with the synthetic hoof filler. Zaaki is all skin and bone and is carrying his head awkwardly. I go into the stand to have my bet and the 4G won’t connect to Tabcorp. I try the Valley free WiFi but get the revolving sun. I guess there are twenty thousand punters trying to connect. So I give up and just watch. After all, it’s just another race on a special day. And I don’t bet on the heavy. Anamoe brains them. And the car leaves the mud behind, no help needed, no worries!


Caulfield Cup

October 15th, 2022

The first horse I see is Nonconformist in the pre-parade ring. Looks nice and relaxed. Next up is Gold Trip in the stalls. He looks terrific, hindtoe up. Imperious. Time to check out the fave, Smoking Romans. The horse is weaving. Rhymically waving its head from side to side. Quite vigorously. This is probably one of the worst things a horse can do in my book with a behavioural handicap of -50%. In other words weavers win half as often as you would expect by chance alone. In other words a lay. Gai’s horse Knights Order looks terrific and Duais is OK too. Benaud is asleep. Alegron is fine and rounds out the six for my box trifecta. I checked on the emergency Durston twice, looking fine, maybe a bit forlorn, but I didn’t pay him much attention since he was listed as having a Norton bit.

In the parade ring Gold Trip is a stand out and gets my place bet on the tote at $4.40 with a 1.10 multiplier. What’s that? $4.84. The horse looks all set to win until the neglected Durston grabs him on the line. A good winning day, but damn, in all the excitement I forgot to lay the favourite.


Caulfield Guineas

October 8th, 2022

Ah, the excitement of the spring carnival is in the air. At long last! I’m here for the Might and Power, a Cox Plate warm up where Anamoe is the hot favourite. The horse looks the part in his stall and gets all the media attention. And is James Cummings taking lessons from Gai by putting straw in the stall? No matter, I’m a Zaaki fan. The horse is nice and relaxed and I take $1.60 the place with a 10 percent multiplier on the tote. What’s that? $1.76. It is a fabulous race with Zaaki taking on Gai’s front runner Alligator Blood nice and early. He needed to do that to get ready for the Plate. And it looks like he will hold on to win until the hot pot swamps them on the line. A terrific run for third. I’m excited!

But I’ve had a bit of a set back. I have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease which affects my walking ability. I’m now shuffling around like an old person and have trouble getting more than 10,000 steps. I don’t have a noticeable tremor, but like Billy Connolly, I have trouble rolling over in bed! Another side effect is a condition called micrographia, where my handwriting has turned incredibly small. I have trouble reading my own writing at the best of times, but now the scrawls I make on my racebook are virtually illegible. And also I reckon there has been a ten percent decline in my cognitive ability. I feel I’m losing the edge off my sharpness. Simple cryptic crossword clues can take me an age to crack.

So what does all this mean? It means I have trouble checking out the horses in their stalls and in the parade ring. And it means I will have to give away the blog, although I will try to keep it going for a few more weeks. And I will keep the web page going for a while in case there are a few punters out there who haven’t yet read the books.