The last official day of Spring has arrived, and it’s the halfway point of the so-called Masters here in Perth, with the running of the Winterbottom Stakes, and around the nation, there’s Festival Stakes at Rosehill with a bunch of other Listed races, the George Moore Stakes up there in Brisvegas, and the City of Marion Stakes at Morphetville, to the interest of nobody,
BUT, if you ask me, Sunday could be even better- The Jericho Cup at The ‘Bool, honouring the Waler horses that served the Australian Light Horsemen during WWI, with a 4600m journey for the Bill The Bastard Trophy, and the Legends Day at Newcastle, featuring the annual running of the Gary Harley Handicap, and I imagine Gazza will be putting the favourite on top for that one.
Given it is Winterbottom day, I was going to show you the all-time classic match race between Takeover Target and Apache Cat in 2008, but instead, I’ll give you a recent edition to the classic horse name stitch-ups.
Move aside, Piston Broke and Hoof Hearted.
Rubiaski (No.4, Barrier 8) in Race 6 at Death Valley, 4pm AEDT
1200m 3YO BM70 Handicap
Trainer: Patrick Payne, Hoop: Jye McNeil, 58kg
Paddy Payne has long topped my Payne Power Rankings, just ahead of Stevie, Cathy and Michelle, although after the last NRL season, Payne Haas is a year away from moving up to at least No.2.
Marise Payne is also on the list, but she really needs to lift her game and do something like threaten a foreign diplomat if she wants to get off the bottom.
Race 6 on the card looks like a promising battle between the fillies – The unbeaten Somal (2/2) and Payne’s Rubiaski, who was due to return for the Red Roses on Oaks Day, but was scratched and will instead come into this race as the starting point for her 2nd racing prep.
For some reason, I’m going against Somal, who will probably end up dropping a log on this lot, but what do I care, critical thinking has never been by hallmark.
Rubiaski showed plenty of promise in her first preparation as an Autumn 2YO, with a pair of wins at Seymour and Flemington, and finished off with a narrow 2nd to Fabulanski in the Listed Taj Rossi final at HQ, before she went for a holiday in some discreet part of Western Victoria, where Darren Weir was supposedly running the equine equivalent of East Germany’s entirely clean Olympic preparations.
Her trials have been pretty solid, the Payne yard has been going more than reasonably well of late, so let’s see how this turns out…. Most likely poorly.
Bobbing (No.10, Barrier 5) in Race 7 at Rosehill, 5pm AEDT
1500m Group 3 Festival Stakes
Trainer: Bernie Kelly, Hoop: James Innes Jnr, 53kg
The feature race of the day in Sin City, and I’m taking an inspired shot at the stumps, which could very well look like it was thrown by Ricky Ponting or Jonty Rhodes, but more likely go flying to the rope for 4 overthrows.
Heck, it could even end up looking like that rocket Michael Clarke produced in 2005 to remove Baz McCullum.
Trained by Bernie Kelly up in Scone, Bobbing is a lightly raced 6 year old, having raced just 13 times for 5 wins and 4 seconds, and last year took out the NSW Spring Provincial Championship while Kelly was still in Hawkesbury.
He ran 3rd in the Kosciuszko, having charged from the back to run home with the best 400-200 (10.67) and 200-finish (11.01) splits of the race, and his last 600 in all was 32.58 seconds- Even better than Victorem and the winner Handle The Truth.
Bobbing carried 60 kilos at Newcastle a fortnight ago in which he ran a brave 4th, and drops down to 53 on Saturday, which is huge, because in 13 starts, he’s never raced with anything lower than 56kg.
He goes up another furlong, the form is there, but the bigger questions are; Will there be enough speed, and does he have the class to go with some of the more regally bred types in the field.
Forceful (No.4, Barrier 1) in Race 4 at Ascot, 2:59pm AWST (5:59)
2100m Listed Tattersall’s Cup
Trainer(s): Grant & Alanna Williams, Hoop: W.Pike, 57.5kg
Hail Richie, Hail The Great Man, Hail!
The punters have circled Forceful as their Pike-ridden favourite for the day, as the gelding prepares to make the step up to the staying distance as per Uncle Bob’s instructions, a fortnight after he was surprisingly bloused by Taxagano in the Ascot Gold Cup, despite Pike giving him a ride that would win 99/100 times – Just not that Saturday.
As a result, Taxagano gets lumped with the 59 kilos, and Forceful only goes up to 57.5, a fairly good weight swing over the extra 300m, but of course, they’ve both got questions about staying the distance, which you could probably ask about Friar Fox as well, despite only carrying 54 kilos, but her history at the staying distances is pretty mild.
Anyway, I’ve got not much else to say, other than it’s Pike and he’s got the gate.
Trekking (No.1, Barrier 4) in the Winterbottom Stakes, 4:50pm AWST (7:50)
1200m WFA Group 1
Trainer: James Cummings, Hoop: Kerrin McEvoy, 58.5kg
And now it’s time for WA’s premier sprinting race, won by the likes of Placid Ark, Miss Andretti, Takeover Target, Ortensia, and the old marvel Buffering, who both won it twice in three years.
This year’s edition looks like it’s going to be another nut buster, as the field shapes up as the Sandgropers vs the Croweaters vs the Eastern Staters vs the lone Mutton Muncher in Tony Pike, who brings over Endless Drama.
James Cummings has 3 in the field, with Trekking comfortably looking the Sheikh’s best hope, and on paper, he’s got the best form in the race by a fair distance, having won the Schillachi to get the golden ticket into the Everest, in which he ran a big 3rd, and then finished runner-up in the Redzel to Pierata.
Taking a squiz at the field, the only top-level form reference like that is Vital Silver’s 2nd in the G1 Manikato to Loving Gaby., who then ran 2nd to Nature Strip (By a distance) in the VRC Sprint.
On the downside, Treeking is around $2.80 compared to $7.50 the field, so that said, personally, I’d just like to sit back, relax, and enjoy the fireworks.
Crazy Craig’s Tip Of The Day
LAYING Wagner in Race 4 at Moonee Valley, 2:40pm AEDT
1000m Murray Nangatta Handicap
Trainer: James Cummings, Jockey: Dwayne Dunn, 54kg
G’day shareholders and stockbrokers, it’s Crazy Craig, the Boy From Bairnsdale, and in honour of my Lay this week, I’ve whipped out an epic piece of musical history for your ears to enjoy!
I tell ya Knackers, the second I hear that orchestra start, I instantly imagine the 9th Cavalry Regiment emerging off the Vietnamese coast their helicopters, and raining fire on Charlie in some Vietcong controlled village!
Moving on from talk of Coppola films, and James Cummings has sent Wagner down to The Valley to kick off his summer after a 3 month break!
His 1st Up record is very good, having done it 3 times for 2 wins and a second placing, BUT, none of them have come over the dreaded 1000m at Death Valley, which is as safe as wandering through Bairnsdale in January without any thongs on, knackers!
One poor jump, and you’re crying for mercy!
Another key thing for your old mate Crazy Craig is that Wagner has never won below 1100m, and the fabled speed map shows he’ll be giving a start to other fancied runners.
I think he may just have too much crap on his plate tomorrow, which is why I’m making my craaaaazy call- WAGNER won’t be riding with the Valkyries on Saturday, because he’s my LAY. OF. THE. DAY.
I’m Crazy Craig, and that’s why they call me CRAAAAAAZY CRAIG!
Categories: Horse Racing