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Flemington 29 January 2010

January 31st, 2010 0 comments

The VRC has been hyping the Lightning Stakes and parading Cannonball before the media, the first American-trained horse to race in Australia. Everyone is more interested in the controversial rider, Patrick Valenzuela, who has an impressive list of 11 suspensions for substance abuse, mainly cocaine. Apparently, he once shaved off all his body hair to avoid detection. Fortunately, Racing Victoria’s integrity department has given him the all clear. So, we’ve got a race. Although Valenzuela hasn’t ridden Cannonball, the trainer doesn’t think it will be a problem: “He’s hyper-strong, we don’t want to get him too excited. Patrick knows these type of American horses.” It’s a pity he’s at 25/1 in early markets as it looks like a terrific lay opportunity. But I’ve pretty much decided that I’ll only oppose horses at $3.00 or less for the win and $2.00 or less for the place.                             
Cannonball is not in his stall, on first look. In fact, he doesn’t turn up all day. Why is the VRC hiding him when he was promoted during the week? Maybe he’s too excited? Hyper-excited? At last he appears in the mounting yard. Two strappers to control him, with a stallion chain through his mouth, a tongue tie and dumping everywhere. Wow! This horse is about to explode! No wonder they hid him. Fit, though. My tip is that anything could happen, but most likely he’ll do a broadside over the running rail. Stand back!
There are some nice relaxed horses in this race: Headway, Nicconi, Wanted, Burdekin Blues and Shellscrape. I back Headway for the place at $2.70. Cannonball doesn’t fire a shot, and Headway runs on for fifth. Nicconi gets up from Wanted and Shellscrape. A pity I don’t take trifectas. I run into Emil, who has just backed the winner. He has had horses with Hayes and follows the stable religiously. He has had a super day, and backed Our Aqaleem as well at 25/1. I get a lecture. “Loyalty, Geoffrey, that’s what it’s all about. Loyalty.”

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