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Flemington Anzac Day

April 25th, 2019 4 comments

I always find it a quite emotional day. And the sea of red poppies on the lawn don’t help. A stunning display of remembrance. Thousands of hand-crafted poppies, knitted and crocheted. Just so beautiful. And sad.

The weather was perfect. One of those idyllic late autumn Melbourne days. And a top day on the punt. As I strolled around the stalls I made a note in my book that Vow And Declare was “interested”. Now that is not one of my usual variables, but the horse obviously made an impression. In the yard with the jockey up the horse was prancing with an arched neck. It ran on well and I was quite pleased with $4.20 for third. In the St Leger Gai’s horse looked the goods and won well from go to whoa, but I was quite taken by Rock Dove, the Godolphin three-year-old filly. Totally composed. Head down. Why do all Godolphin horses look like Hartnell? I was very happy with $2.50 for second and two out of two for the day.

After the last I was counting my blessings in one of those comfortable chairs that have replaced the Island Bar when a nice lady from the CWA gave me a packet of two Anzac biscuits. Wow! I now understand why so many of the returning diggers had broken teeth!

4 Responses to “ Flemington Anzac Day ”

  1. Trevor Murrells says:

    Geoffrey, before you venture off on your well deserved winter sabbatical(!), I recollect (hopefully correctly) that you prefer the second half of the flat racing season in Australia. Is there a particular reason for this? Is it because you have got “your eye in”, there are more two-year old races or for some other reason? The flat racing season in the UK is starting to build here (first two classics for 3-year olds over 1600 metres this weekend), not too many two-year old races yet.

    I appreciate the pictures of the poppies, a schoolmate of mine used to be the Director of Communications for the Royal British Legion who organise poppy day in the UK. Hope to see him next week.

  2. Geoffrey says:

    Yes, several reasons really. Getting my eye in, more races for two-year-olds, and the tracks are less likely to be rain affected. And also I like betting on mares races and their “season” is at its peak here from December through March (see p. 106 in the first book). Mares are very honest and rule themselves out if they don’t feel like racing!

  3. Trevor Murrells says:

    Thanks Geoffrey, that equates to June to September in the UK.

    As you can imagine we get a variety of conditions in the UK, typically from good to firm in the summer, although the ground can turn soft fairly quickly at times. At Ascot there were 24 withdrawals on Friday probably because trainers had entered horses that preferred good or firmer ground at the 4 day stage and then we had some persistent rain.

    I was wondering whether Australian horses are better suited to faster ground because of selective breeding (bred more for speed than the UK?) and the fact that generally speaking (never been to Australia) the ground is soft less often than in the UK in the summer months so when you encounter such ground results can become unpredictable. Or does the racing surface play an important part in wet conditions i.e. dirt vs. turf vs. artificial?

  4. Geoffrey says:

    Hi Trevor, I don’t know anything about breeding, so can’t really comment on that. But the tracks are now watered so that we no longer have ‘Fast’ on the old rating scale. I guest it was a response to the European trainers complaining about the hard tracks at Cup time. So now the curators are required to present a Good 3. The old ratings of Fast, Good, Dead and Slow have been replaced with Firm 1, Firm 2, Good 3 Good 4, and Soft 5, Soft 6 and Soft 7. Heavy 8 through 10 is the same. I can’t recall seeing a Firm track since the new rating system came in.

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