Dr. Geoffrey Hutson's breakthrough book Watching Racehorses is out now! Learn about behavioural handicapping: how head tossing, pawing, salivating and other behaviours provide telltale clues about a horse's readiness to run.
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Caulfield Guineas

October 8th, 2022 4 comments

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.

4 Responses to “ Caulfield Guineas ”

  1. Michael McMahon says:

    Hi Geoffrey,

    Sorry to read about the closure of your always entertaining raceday observations, and the reason for it. I have certainly benefited from your books and often go back to re-read chapters to double check something (and often keep reading on for the sheer enjoyment). I haven’t touched a form guide in years now! I have always loved the horses and more so now that I observe them rather than having the eyes down reading numbers on a page. All the best Geoffrey and thank you. Michael

  2. Trevor says:

    Dear Geoffrey,
    I was very sad to hear your news and will miss your blog immensely. It gave me time to regroup in the winter months when there is less flat racing (only on artificial surfaces) here in the UK. You always provided wise and considered answers to the many questions that I raised; the first question I posted to your blog was in June 2018. You took racehorse watching to a new level following on from Tom Ainslie, Bonnie Ledbetter, Trillis Parker, Nick Mordin and others. As far as I’m aware your research paper and subsequent books were the first time that racehorse behaviours, as observed on the racecourse, were rigorously quantified on such a large scale. In the United Kingdom racehorse behaviour has more airtime on ITV flat racing these days from people such as Francesca Cumani (about to come over to Australia for two weeks for the Melbourne Cup), Adele Mulrennan, Leonna Mayor & Ken Pitterson. Although I do get frustrated when their contributions are cut short by advertisements or brief interviews with owners/trainers etc. so not all the horses are appraised. Also, they are often given the less straightforward races to analyse.
    Occasionally when at a race meeting, I get approached by racegoers (and recently by an owner who clearly loved her horses) asking me what I was doing, and what my “shorthand” scribblings/abbreviated words mean. I always try to mention your books. Nothing gives me more pleasure than choosing a horse based on its behaviour, that I would not have chosen had I followed conventional form reading methods, that gets placed at decent odds. That’s all down to you.
    Geoffrey, I hope your condition can be managed sufficiently well so that you can continue attending race meetings for the foreseeable future.
    Thanks for your lasting contribution to the discipline of racehorse behaviour and how it can be used to make selections.
    All the best, Trevor

  3. thomas george fisher says:

    Hi Geoffrey. so sorry to hear the bad news…been reading this blog for years ..but can also go back to the articles u wrote for turf monthly. especially the one on “least line regression” Now there’s a trip down memory lane for you .stay positive Tommy

  4. El Lautens says:

    A very intermittent reader lately so just saw the news. Vert sad to hear and I too hope the condition can be medically managed. I love reading of your punting battles

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