If Michelle Payne called me a farm animal, I’d be a goose
These are some of the events have occurred in the space of 5 days.
Linda Meech was replaced with Mark Zahra on Derby contender Thought Of That by owner Brae Sokolski, despite being the only jockey to win on the colt, which Michelle Payne whinged about and called Sokolski a pig, and Meech replied “Hope it gets beat,” in another wonderful racing shitfight.
Willy Pike rode his first Victorian winner in 12 years in the Bendigo Cup.
Tom Waterhouse had an interview with RSN supposedly cancelled by ‘TAB Pressure’, he rescheduled, and then got taken off air for doing nothing but whinging about getting pulled.
Godolphin’s Ipsolini and last year’s Cup runner-up Marmelo were scratched by Racing Victoria vets, and trainer Hughie Morrison is so pissed off he’s now considering legal action alongside the owners.
If you ask me, they’re all perfect plots for Seinfeld episodes- “The Pig”, “The TAB Pressure”, “The Wizard”, and “The Scratchings”.
But in the meantime, it’s Punting Festivus- 100,000 drunken seagulls flock to Flemington for Derby Day and an entire card of Group racing, with the sidecar now being the addition of the $7.5m GOLDEN EAGLE at Rosehill, which is like putting 18 inch rims on a wheelie bin.
Another great day ahead…. the same can’t be said about Melbourne’s weather.
Zoutori (No.4, Barrier 6) in Race 1 at Flemington, 11:45am AEDT
1200m Group 2 Hcp TAB Stakes
Trainer(s): Matthew Ellerton & Simon Zahra, Hoop: Craig Williams, 57.5kg
The first of a billion races of the 2019 Cup Carnival, and immediately, Zoutori screams off the page as Chalk Eater candidate No. 1A.
He won the Bobbie Lewis down the Straight Six, beating a subsequent dominant winner in Parsifal, and then in the Gilgai, he went up against Everest runners Sunlight and Santa Ana Lane, getting absolutely belted in the set weights & penalties, which, had it been a handicap, would have had at least 5 kilos on Santa.
Still, he rattled home to run 3rd, barely beaten a length in a superb run, as Santa only just got beaten in the Everest, which should read more than alright for a drop in class.
Armed with the services of Craig Williams, the man known only as ‘Pretty Boy’ at the Waterford TAB, he’s a huge chance of getting home, and if Willow can get us off to a flyer, expect him to give a 25 minute detailed breakdown of the race during the horseback interview with Britt Taylor.
Trust me, it’ll make a Rob Oakeshott speech sound like the Gettysburg Address.
Shadow Hero (No.1, Barrier 9) in Race 7 at Flemington, 3:45pm AEDT
2500m Group 1 Victoria Derby
Trainer: Mark Newnham, Hoop: Josh Parr, 55.5kg
Here’s an amazing fact, on this, the 165th running of the Victoria Derby.
Saturday will mark 90 years to the day of Phar Lap’s win in the race, beating VRC Chairman Lachlan MacKinnon’s Carradale, which made the prick so bitter, he banned geldings from competing in the race.
90 years on, Shadow Hero may not be as dominant a favourite as Big Red, but he’s still the favourite (Barely), in what is another really average edition of the Springtime 3YO classic, as the Hero’s main challengers looking like Thought Of That and Vase winner Soul Patch.
All the talk pre-race has been about the Meech/Payne/Zahra/Sokolski angry foursome about the ride on Thought Of That, which has allowed Shadow Hero to slip under the radar slightly, and when you look at the field, he’s got more runs on the board than Matty Hayden against the Zimbabweans.
In the Spring Champion Stakes, he ran over the top of the leaders and managed to beat home Castelvecchio (Looking good right now), but of course, recent years have shown the Spring Champion isn’t the greatest form reference for the Derby, with only Ace High (2017) and Monaco Consul (2009) managing to win ‘the double’ this millennium.
Mark Newnham targeted the Derby as early as the howling dark of mid-June, and I imagine Josh Parr will settle just off the solid speed, before taking off after likely leader Thought Of That, leaving Bruce McAvaney to head to the toilet for a private moment, because of the sheer awesomeness that could await come the Clock Tower.
Pierata (No.1, Barrier 11) in Race 8 at Rosehill, 5pm AEDT
1300m Redzel Stakes
Trainer: Greg Hickman, Hoop: Tommy Berry, 58.5kg
On a day of firsts in Sydney, this is the first running of the annual race known as the ‘Winners Stakes’ being named after the previous year’s Everest winner, rather than a tribute to Redzel, who will forever be poor man’s Takeover Target… despite winning $15 million.
Pierata is one of 2 horses backing up from The Everest (Main rival Trekking being the other), with plenty more racing in the Golden Eagle, and prior to that he did win The Shorts, before nothing went right in the big kahuna, not getting clean air until the 250m, by which point in time Yes Yes Yes was off and gone to free sex for life post his racing career, as Pierata ran home well for a consolation prize of 5th place.
After drawing the fence in The Everest, Greg Hickham’s star will jump from Barrier 11 tomorrow after a scratching, which means he’ll need more help than Donald Trump in an election to get a good run, but assuming it does happen, like it did for the WWE Hall of Famer back in 2016, he’ll be right there when the money’s down.
The Token Ascot Tip: Regal Power (No.4, Barrier 4) in the Asian Beau Stakes, 4:35pm AWST (7:35pm)
Trainer(s): Grant & Alanna Williams, Hoop: The Wizard, 57kg
Another boring Saturday ahead here in the Wild Wild West, with the Prince Of Wales and the Asian Beau Stakes, and true story about Asian Beau, he still holds the 1450m record at Ascot (1.24.55), just on 41 years after he set it!
It does help that we haven’t raced at the Ascot 1450m since Laurie Connell discovered the wonderful effects of elephant juice in the mid 1980s.
Anyway, one of Uncle Bob’s many gooduns in Regal Power returns to racing after his successful Autumn, where he started red hots for the WATC Derby, in which Pikey decided to contribute to a sharp rise in heart problems across Australia, sitting stone motherless last against the leaders, before barnstroming home to win on the post.
Of course, Pikey warmed up nicely for the Perth Carnival by venturing over to Bendigo midweek, and booting home Top Of The Range to win the Bendigo Cup, which was his first recorded win in Victoria since the 2007 Warrnambool Carnival, back when Darren Weir was a squeaky clean country trainer who had never done anything wrong.
On top of that, he warmed up Regal Power rather nicely with a win and a 2nd in two trials at Lark Hill, ahead of his debut in open class racing.
Given his performances at the staying distances, I’d assume Uncle Bob has commanded his two cerise and white underlings to put Regal Power in on a Perth Cup preparation, so regardless, he’s probably well short of his best distance.
Makes you wonder why I actually put him in…. Even I can’t answer that.
Crazy Craig’s Tip Of The Day
LAYING Bivouac in the Coolmore Stud Stakes (Race 6) at Flemington, 3pm AEDT
Trainer: James Cummings, Jockey: Hugh Bowman
G’day young boys and girls, it’s Crazy Craig, the Boy From Bairnsdale, but for the record, you can call me CCTBFB!
I know I don’t!
And of course Saturday is that glorious Derby Day, and I’ve got my talons draped over the gun 3 year old race they used to call the Ascot Vale!
That’s right! The Coolmore is the Ascot Vale!
What are you going to tell me next Crazy Craig! The Kennedy Mile, aka the Cantala Stakes, was the old Emirates Stakes?
Well guess what! IT IS!
Moving on from that revelation, and I’m making the CRAZY call of taking on the Golden Rose winner Bivouac, on the back of the shit steer he copped in the Manikato, and the fact that he’s 6TH UP tomorrow!
How crazy is that!
How many times do you hear a star Godolphin 3YO getting raced 6TH UP, especially against some very capable runners like Exceedance and Libertini, who have been freshened up especially for this race!
Not too many times Crazy Craig, is what you’re saying right now!
The Sheikh’s servants should have packed Bivouac’s bags for a Christmas holiday in the Hunter, and in the view of this CRAAAAAZY old bugger, Bivouac is My LAY. OF. THE. DAY!
I’m Crazy Craig, and that’s why they call me Craaaaazy Craig!
Here’s A Tweet I Think You Can Relate To, Craig!
Also, for the record, I would pick Arcadia Queen in the Golden Eagle.
Categories: Horse Racing