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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Cox Plate

October 22nd, 2022 2 comments

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!

2 Responses to “ Cox Plate ”

  1. Trevor says:

    Geoffrey, your comments about Zaaki were unexpected, given he looked so good back in May. Zaaki seems to have lost some condition, perhaps he needs a rest after four races this season. I notice he still managed to finish 4th. To what degree do you factor in a horse’s physical appearance when making a selection? You have seen Zaaki before so that no doubt helps. If a horse’s physical condition has deteriorated, do you find this is often reflected in its behaviour e.g., the horse looks more withdrawn, is more on edge than normal?

  2. Geoffrey says:

    I have been asked if I can tell if a horse has trained off in physical condition. The answer is generally no! As you know Trevor, I rely on the horse’s behaviour more than its physical appearance to tell me how it feels.

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