Horse Racing

The Chalk Eaters Guide: 7th September

Remembering Mikaela Claridge and Melanie Tyndall

I believe those backmarkers haven’t been seen since.

For the 137th time, people have made the conscious decision to venture to the edge of the Simpson Desert for the Birdsville Cup, and of course, the only thing rarer than a backmarker winning at Birdsville, is someone leaving the place remembering the events of Saturday evening.

Of course, elsewhere around the nation this Saturday, the Australians battle the Irish over the jumps at Morphetville, there’s a relatively minor card at Randwick with 4 Group 2 races, most notably the brutal 6-way fight in the Concorde (Can see Nature Strip winning) plus the Tramway, and of course, there’s the Cox Plate Qualifier at Death Valley, in the form of the Feehan Stakes, formerly known as the Dato Tan Chin Nam, and formerly known as the Feehan.

That name reverting by the MVRC is a good enough reason for me to yet again bring up the 2001 edition, memorable for the first time Sunline ran into Northerly!


The kind of win that summed up the Fighting Tiger- He never looked like winning, and them somehow and some way, he won.

If only he’d never run in to Freemason.

Shop Til I Drop (No.8, Barrier 6) in Race 5 at Morphetville, 3:11pm ACST (3:41)

1950m Benchmark 70 Handicap

Trainer(s): Tony & Calvin McEvoy, Hoop: Barend Vorster, 54kg

What is it with the phrase ‘Shop Til You/I Drop’?

In this day and age, surely a more accurate phrase is, ‘Shop til you run up a massive credit card debt and the bank comes and breaks your legs as repayment.’

On to the horse, and she’s going for a winning hat-trick tomorrow, following a win at Murray Bridge, and most recently at Morphetville last month, piloted by the man who could very well be the South African doppelganger of Craig Williams, Barend Vorster.

Her form really is a testament to young Calvin McEvoy, who has been training for all of 3 days, but is now the best trainer in South Australia, which really is indicative of how far the Croweaters have fallen since Lindsay Park was uprooted several hundred miles east.

Without either the Crows or Power able to let them down this weekend, I imagine most South Australians will be cheering Shop Til I Drop home on Saturday afternoon.

Avilius (No.1, Barrier 11) in Race 7 at Randwick, 3:50pm AEST

1600m WFA Group 2 Chelmford Stakes

Trainer: James Cummings, Hoop: Kerrin McEvoy, 59kg

In a startling revelation, Avilius found 1400m too damn short in the Winx Stakes, having never raced below a mile, but he did flash home for 4th behind the go to woe winner Samadoubt, posting what was apparently the fastest final 600m of the race.

To paraphrase the Mark Taylor School of Stating the Obvious, if he’d run the fastest 1400m of the race, then he’d have won.

Now Cummings has got him up to a more familiar distance in this quest for a Cox Plate, and I’m pressed for time, so I’ll sum this up in a sentence.


Te Akau Shark (No.2, Barrier 10) in Race 8 at Randwick, 4:30pm AEST

1400m SWP Group 2 Tramway Stakes

Trainer: Jamie Richards, Hoop: James McDonald, 57kg

It’s not quite a Kiwi Shark, but it’s still a Shark

The resident New Zealand raider for the Spring is Te Akau Shark, taking up the role performed by heroes of the past, like Kiwi, Ethereal and Savabeel.

He’s the current favourite for the Epsom (Despite never racing in an Open G1) ahead of his Australian debut, and an interesting fact is that he’s part owned by a certain Paul Gallen (Hence the Shark name), so this could be the only win Paul experiences this September.

Absolutely nobody knows how ‘The Shark’ will go, even though he’s had 7 starts for 5 wins- At the primitive $2.65 (And drifting), he could step out and get beaten behind the showers by Dreamforce and be branded an utter fraud, or he could come out, settle at the rear and then send a shiver up the spine with a monster run home.

Or, in Shark terms, he could be as fearsome as Greg Norman in the last round at Augusta, or Greg Norman in the last round at Royal St George.

To be honest, given that poisonous quote, I’m surprised Crazy Craig didn’t target The Shark, but then again, he probably isn’t even aware he exists.

Cup Night (No.5, Barrier 2) in Race 8 at Belmont, 4:30pm AWST (6:30)

1200m 70+ Rating Handicap

Trainer: Bernie Miller, Hoop: Patrick Carberry, 57.5kg

Carberry, Carberry, he’s got the surname of a vehicle and a little piece of fruit.

Bernie Miller’s Cup Night makes his first start since he went 3/3 at Ascot back in the Autumn, which was highlighted by a very tough win in the Raconteur, in which he had to sustain a 450m run, take the lead far earlier than he’d have liked, and still manage to hold off the charging wall led by Rebel Knight.

It’s his first start in open grade, but if the tRiAl fOrM (Which apparently never goes wrong) was any guide, he’s more than ready to go against some low altitude flyers like Little Fish.

The smartarse mug in me says if Cup Night can land midfield with what looks set to be a pretty hot up front, then things should conceivably fall into place, and Patty might go a Saturday without being abused at the Waterford TAB for the first time in 5 months.


LAYING Reckless Choice (No.1, Barrier 6) in Race 2 at Eagle Farm, 12:23pm AEST

1600m Benchmark 78 Handicap

Trainer: Steve O’Dea, Jockey: Stephanie Thornton (a2), 61.5kg

G’day knackers, it’s Crazy Craig, the bloody Boy From Bairnsdale, and as the Spring fires up on all 12 cylinders, I’m seeing things like Steve Smith against a Soap Dodger bowling attack!

And much like the Tiger Army, I’m swaaaaaarming up to Brisbane tomorrow, and I don’t even support Richmond, but you bet your bottom dollar we’re gonna turn Eagle Farm into TIGER Farm!

Won’t that be a craaaazy sight!

Anyway, I’m eyeing up my latest target Reckless Choice, who appears very early on the card, and I simply think he’s WAYYYY too short at the $3.20 price, especially up against the Meagher horse Trevelyan, who won at the Farm two starts ago, and then ran 2nd to an impressive Looks Like Elvis, who showed a little less conversation, and a little more action!

Even after you take into account the claim by Steph Thornton, Reckless Choice jumping up 4 kilos on his last run… in which he ran 3rd!

Treveleyan may have Robbie Fradd to contend with, but he’s only carrying 56 kilos!

That’s enough of an excuse to go after the horse with a name that perfectly describes all of my life moves- RECKLESS CHOICE– My LAY. OF. THE. DAY.

I’m Crazy Craig, and that’s why they call me Craaaaaazy Craig!

MY TIP FOR THE BIRDSVILLE CUP AT 3:53PM – Whichever horse isn’t stuck in the dust storm behind the leaders.

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