Racing on the TV


Just wondering how folks like the channel on the telly. I know it is a sore point with folks in the regions but hopefully that issue will be resolved shortly.

I am in seventh heaven myself. The TV has been locked onto C78 for a week now.

I love the rotating replays. I love the lack of advertising. The talking heads have been very good. Why did we have to put up with Bruce Clarke on TVN when Shane Anderson was available ? I would go so far to say that Anderson is the best in the business. The man never makes a mistake, never says anything stupid, doesn't feel the need to force his personality on us. He's not pretty but you can't have it all.

Miles remains the gold standard. Terry Bailey is calling well and Rick Macintosh is Rick Macintosh.

I know. It's only Victorian racing but that is all I want to see. Selfish, yes. Selfish and satisfied.

I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed the Channel 4 coverage from Ascot on C7. It would be very excellent if there was more of that on C78 overnight.

The Metropolitan Hcp


Inspired by Sydeston's preview of the mile...

JUNOOB : His 12 months on Australian tracks have seen progressive improvement for Waller, culminating in a well rated win in a slowly run Hill Stakes last time for Blake Shinn. His good 3rd in the Doomben Cup has been his only visit to Group 1 company to date. A class runner in an average bunch but not at $5.00. Not for me.

BAGMAN : 8YO journeyman who came back to track for Chris Waller after a 448 day spell and has not looked back. Two strong wins under big weights in lesser company in Melbourne before returning to Sydney and stepping into WFA company for thirds in the Chelmsford and Hill Stakes. Wasn't suited by the slow tempo last time or the heavy track in the Chelmsford. Avdulla off, Hugh Bowman off. An honest soldier in exceptionally good hands. $13.00 .

SPILLWAY : Hayes trained import who impressively beat the usual suspects in the JRA Plate at Randwick in April who has been impressive at WFA in Melbourne this prep. Forget his last start. False form from a bad ride. The yard has been on fire and he was scratched out of the Turnbull for this. Huge chance under James MacDonald who should suit the horse. Yes ! $4.60

OPINION : Another Waller. Ascot (UK) 2400m winner who beat Carlton House and Junoob in the Parramatta Cup last March for his first Australian win and the best of the rest behind The Offer in the Manion and Sydney Cups. Lead up form this prep has been underwhelming but solid. Collett off for Angland. Will relish the journey. Better than his $15.00 suggests.

TRAVOLTA : Blinkers On Again. Waterhouse trained Kiwi who has been competitive in Listed/Gr.III grade in Australia. Gets up on the pace as you expect from the stable. Led them along in the Newcastle Cup with 58.5kg and drops 2.5kg. Josh Parr takes the ride from Tom Berry. Would need to get things all his own way to hold some of these off. $16.00

BRIGANTIN : Ran third in an Ascot Gold Cup and beat Dunaden to win the Vigier at Longchamps and came to Australia with his tyres pumped up but his form down under has been decidedly underwhelming prior to his last start 2nd in the Newcastle Cup for Glyn Schofield who retains the ride. That was an improvement and Waller has him coming to hand at the right time. Not the worst and not as rough as his price. $41.00

LA AMISTAD : Blows bubbles because of her breeding . The fact is that her best effort in 14 starts was a good win in the listed McKell Cup carrying the minimum against a pretty ordinary bunch last May. She resumed full of promise in the Rowley mile but was disappointing in the Kingston Town and not suited in the Hill Stakes. Corey Brown replaces McEvoy who replaced regular rider McDonald. $8.00 is unders for mine.

OUR VOODOO PRINCE : Yet another Waller runner. Another well bred bubble blower who pumped up his own tyres with three solid wins in Melbourne culminating in a rattling win in the Easter Cup over Akzar and Stipulate. Has been coming along quietly this prep but Albonetti when straight past him in the Naturalism at Caulfield before Waller brought him back to Sydney for this race. Moreiro takes the ride. $19.00

ARALDO : Wayward former German galloper who beat Sea Moon on protest in the Bart Cummings last year. Has ability but doesn't run true enough to have my trust. Jeff Lloyd takes the ride from Glenn Boss. Bandages on, nearside blinker and bubble cheeker off. Testicles still on. Pass. $31.00

KINGDOMS : Huge run for a crazy horse in the Derby two years ago and I have always fancied he'd make a stayer if they quietened him down. Ran 10th in this race last year then led all the way to win the Tatts Club Cup. Brian Smith seemed to have cracked the code with him in Brisbane winning a fast (94.75) mile at the Farm before another slick 2nd in a mile at Doomben (94.55) Last start he rattled home in the Kingston Town. Larry cassidy retains the ride and the horse seems to go well for him. Definitely under consideration $11.00

WISH COME TRUE : Peter Moody's former Italian galloper is lightly raced and doesn't put in many bad ones. Since his win over Viola Ici at the Valley he has been 2nd in the Tatt's Cup at Eagle Farm, 4th in the Premiers Cup on a heavy track and stuck on for third in the Newcastle Cup. Tim Clark takes his first ride on the horse. Likely to ride the speed with Travolta. $26.00

DEANE MARTIN : Kiwi improver recommended by a win in the Colin Stephen last time but previously Kingdoms ran past him in the Kingston Town. Chris Munce rides replacing Avdulla $21.00

DISCLAIMER : Snowden's British import hit his straps to win the Newcastle Cup last start after five moderate Australian runs. Reith takes the ride from Collett. You always have to respect the Newcastle Cup form - or not. If not, if the Newcastle Cup was just average then the likes of Wish Come True and Brigantin , Travolta, Tupac Amaru and Khalid, as well as Disclaimer can be set aside. That's what I am going to do. $17.00

TUPAC AMARU : is a plodder. $26.00 flatters him

IGGI POP : should be swabbed every time he goes to the races with a name like that but an injection of speed could be his best hope. $21.00 flatters him too

KHALID : is a 70 rater in Australia. An ex German with Paul Perry, but I reckon I'd back the Polish cavalry against a panzer division before I would be backing Khalid to win the Metro. It's not a strong race but it is too strong for Khalid. $201.00

I lean heavily toward the Melbourne form, especially Spillway. Kingdoms, Opinion and Our Voodoo Prince look to be the value runners.

Get stuck in...

Sea Moon


I have no doubt Sea Moon is good enough, or perhaps was good enough, to win a Melbourne Cup if he consented to do his best - which he never has in Australia.

He is nominated for the Harry White Classic at Sandown on Grand Final Day, and has 61.5kg. If he consented to do his best he would win with a leg in the air, regardless of the weight.

When you look back at his win in the Hardwicke Stakes - it's easy enough to find on YouTube - he looks a entirely different horse to the reluctant animal he has been in Australia. In the Hardwicke he let down, and he stretched his neck. In Australia he gets along with his head up when the pressure is on, like a horse that is reluctant to stretch, and for what ever reason, doesn't want to give of his best.

Mind you he won a race last year and just about won another despite his reluctance. They have had 12 months to convince him under wraps and out of sight at Macedon. I hope they have.

He has been solid in the Cup markets despite his ordinary Australian form, and the Williams camp have remained very quiet. That's a good sign.

I hope he comes out on Saturday so I can make up my mind once and for all about him.

King Charles III Stakes


There is an article in the UK Racing Post that addresses the ATC Autumn carnival from a pommy perspective. It's core message is that a lot of money does not a great race make. It claims -

"One of the problems with trying to internationalize an event like [The ATC Queen Elizabeth Sks] is that prize-money alone is not an incentive for the world's best horses to risk traveling around the planet.

This is because at the upper echelons of racing horses don't actually run for prize-money, they run for acclaim.

The best horses run with two main objectives, based on increasing stud returns. Their objectives are: to beat the best horses in the world and to win the most prestigious races in the world - and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes offers neither of these.

Another reason a horse may be tried overseas is to highlight their stallion credentials to a different audience, but given that there is no market for 1m2f sires in Australia this adds little to the appeal of the Queen Elizabeth.

The very best European middle-distance horses rarely leave the continent. When they have more often than not the reason is to prove themselves at the Breeders' Cup, which falls under the third objective: opening the stallion up to a new market.

In Japan the very best only normally ship out for the Arc De Triomphe (objectives one and two: competition/prestige) and in America the best only used to leave home for the world's richest race, the Dubai World Cup (when it was run on dirt), which fell under objective two: prestige."

They have a point and it is reasonable.

The Melbourne Cup has a degree of prestige in its own right. It is also worth a bucket load of money. It works as an international event because of 25 years of hard yakka making it so, actively recruiting likely prospects and moving heaven and earth to accommodate them.

The VRC has singularly succeeded in making it so but it had the advantage of a race that was already world famous as an event, that was already a cultural icon that commands a public holiday and its own industry of self promotion, that played to a lack in the international turf calender. There aren't a lot of rich international events for 2 milers.

And to some extent it works because it had to. It is debatable how well the Melbourne Cup would have sustained itself over the past 25 years without international participation.

The Queen Elizabeth is worth a bucket load of money - but beyond that it doesn't have that much going for it as an international event. Its a 10 furlong WFA race and there are very many of those on the international calendar. While the race has a long heritage it has been chopped and changed over the years and struggled to sustain its place even on the Australian turf calendar.

Certainly, Reliable Man probably has a better stud deal in New Zealand than he could have got in Europe, and their is always potential for European horses to come here on the rebound to enhance their stud potential in Australasia should they succeed in a race like the QE, but don't expect a rush.

I think the international aspect is a red herring. It's not what the big prizemoney is all about.

What the ATC is doing is attempting to displace the Cox Plate as Australia's championship WFA event International participation in the Cox Plate is incidental, and while it has enjoyed 30 or 40 years of increased prestige (due mainly to throwing a lot of money at a WFA race) it is looking a little fragile recently, particularly with the race club in transition with its make or break plans to remodel its racecourse.

As the international aspect of the Melbourne Cup has grown the Cox Plate has begun to look a little awkward on the Spring calendar, and in the rationalized 21st century the MVRC is looking a little awkward between the VRC and the MRC.

My crystal ball has a few bad solder joints but occasionally it flickers with an image of an amalgamation between the big club and the little club with the big course taking over the Cox Plate and the little course becoming an all weather/night racing venue.

In the meantime there is a window of opportunity to wrest the title of WFA championship away to Sydney with King Charles III Stakes at Woyal Wandwick... with incidental international participation... but worth a bucket load of money.

The Sydney carnival


What did you think of the Sydney Autumn carnival ? There is still a day to play, but what of the two weeks marketed as 'the championships' ?

I enjoyed the racing but I couldn't help but wonder if the quality of the card would have been much different without the big prizemoney increases. This strategy will take a few years to realize its goals but I am not sure how to measure its success.

Do we measure the quality of the fields, the bums on seats or the dollars in the betting pools ?

Or the amount of noise the carnival generates in the mainstream ?

Is international participation - and international exposure - an essential ingredient to success ?

Has it made you think differently about the Autumn carnival ? Has it made you bet more keenly ? Has it made you attend or want to attend in future ?

Who's counting ?


If there is one set of statistics I tend to avoid it is anything relating to counting Group 1 races. I have said it many times : I think the pattern system is rubbish.

However it is the system in use and it cannot be ignored completely - although judging from the stuff up that saw Damien Oliver's 100th Group 1 winner go unacknowledged when he won the Melbourne Cup on Fiorente you could be forgiven for thinking that we are trying to.

Bruce Macaveny delivered a gentle rebuke to racing for the oversight on Saturday's telecast but as he spoke I wondered about the racing media. Why weren't they paying attention ? Or is it a case that they live off racing press releases and can't be expected to do their own research ? Why isn't there an authorative data base of such things ?

Bruce said he couldn't imagine the AFL forgetting that Michael Tuck was playing his 400th game. He's right. The AFL keeps the stats and uses them to promote the game at every opportunity. Racing missed a golden opportunity to promote a big news story - as if Oliver's redemption wasn't a big enough story in itself - because it doesn't maintain an authorative and accessible data base of such things.

I am currently compiling a list of the successive leading stakes winners in Australia from 1850 to the present - because in 40 years of following racing I have never seen such a list. Given the importance of prizemoney in racing it seems almost as unthinkable as the AFL not keeping a list of the leading goal kicker records, or cricket not keeping a list of the leading wicket takers - but racing ?

Tonight there is a gathering in Canberra to induct new members to the Hall of Fame. You would not know unless I told you. The event has barely been promoted. I can't tell you who the contenders might be because there has been no publicity regarding who might be under consideration. Rather like the date and the venue, so far as the public are concerned, it seems to be a secret and a surprise.

Racing routinely misses opportunities to promote itself because of its ham fisted handling of its own records.

But then, who's counting ?

Japan World Cup 3


Ever wonder what would have happened if Japan had won the war ?

Champions Gallery



I have always wanted to find a site that cataloged Australia's champion race horses and detailed their careers. I couldn't find one so I decided to invent one instead. It has become what I call My Really Big Project or sometimes A Horse For All Seasons.


The best place to start was the horses inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame so I have published an index to those horses on one long page that provides a picture of the horse, its vital statistics and essential details and a list of their principal race wins.

The page is much too long but I intend on migrating a lot of the information on it to individual profile pages of each horse that will contain their full racing record, pedigree chart and breeding record.

At present I have only published the index page and one profile - that of The Barb - but I have more ready to upload and many more that only need to be formatted for uploading.

The index is organized chronologically and as each profile requires that I dwell on each horse for a little while I thought I would use this thread to introduce each horse and announce that its profile has been published. Maybe it will generate some discussion or queries about these great horses.

Of course, any corrections, comments or criticisms regarding the site are most welcome and should be directed to this thread (or PM me).

Note : My web authoring skills are very limited. One thing I have yet to learn is how to scale the page so I recommend that you use the Zoom controls on your browser (Ctrl++) to bring the page into 90% or 80% depending on your preference.

Also, I am hosted on a free server which is not real quick but is advert free. You may need to be a little patient for the site to load.

Hall of Fame


The annual Hall of Fame induction event is to be held on Sunday 9 March 2014 at the National Gallery in Canberra.

We don't know how many horses will be promoted. Last year Black Caviar, Crisp, Delta and Star Kingdom joined the Hall bringing its number to 46. I suspect they will promote another four this year to bring the number up to 50.

Crisp was the first jumper to be inducted. Star Kingdom was the first sire selected as a sire. Black Caviar was inducted before her racing career was even finished. Delta came as a bit of a surprise as there seem to be many other horses with comparable claims to the honour who were over looked and Delta was another horse from the post war period to be promoted when other eras seem to be under represented.

My question to the forum is what horses do you think deserve to be promoted to the Hall of Fame ?

I realise that most people's knowledge is limited to their own experience and the Hall of Fame committee is likely to throw up some names that few have ever heard of - and so they should. One of the primary purposes of the Hall of Fame is to introduce us to the great and often forgotten champions of the past, but the organizers have usually tried to hold our interest by promoting relatively recent gallopers as well.

I am happy to hear your opinions of the horses you know that you think are worthy, or may be horses that you have heard or learned about that you think warrant a place.

Me ? I am a history man so I can think of plenty that you may have never heard of and I'll introduce a few of them to the thread in the lead up to the awards but the more recent candidates I will leave to you.

To help the discussion along lists of the Hall of Famers can be found at -

and the 'official site' at -

If you fancy a horse that is not on those lists who you reckon deserves the honour, post it.

Ashes to Ashes


I am not sure the latest promotional spin on the Australian cricket team - all covered in Khrap - is appropriate... but maybe it is.

There is a Test match starting tomorrow and not a word about it on these pages. The silence is deafening.

The positive signs are the American deep fried fat shop is repainting its livery green and gold as the lost boys of Australian cricket try to find their way back from the swamp.

The lead up has seen some home truths spoken publicly that haven't been very popular.

It was Bred Haddin's turn yesterday. This quoted from Cricinfo....

"I think with Darren (Lehmann) coming in, the message he's got across, the brand of cricket that we want to play, and I think you guys understand the brand that Australian cricket wanted to play and what we have forever and a day, I think that got lost in the period that Mickey had a hold of us," Haddin said.

"I don't think he understood and was secure enough in himself to get us to where we needed to go, and it's actually been refreshing coming into a campaign, smiles on guys' faces enjoying the game for what it is, a great game of cricket."

"I think what Boof (Lehmann) does is he understands the game and he encourages guys to talk about the game and the bottom line is it's a game of cricket. He's a very well-respected person in cricket circles and he's a good person"

" Mickey was very, very insecure and that came across in a lot of our selections and our play I think to be perfectly honest. Under Darren we've got a clear message of where we want to go and how we're going to get there. He's able to help guys on the way to get to that point."

"That wasn't the Australian cricket team that I knew when I flew into Mohali," Haddin said. "That was a unique situation which in all seriousness I can't really explain it. It was uncomfortable, walking into it. Guys jumping at shadows and the insecurity around everything that was being done, so it is just refreshing to get back here now and enjoy the game for what it is, a great game and been great for all of us."

There is a lot to be said for truth. Let's hope he's right.

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