Horse Racing

The Chalk Eaters Guide: 25th April

Sad beginning tonight – Harness legend ‘Group 1’ Gavin Lang has passed away

The sequel to Jesse Owens vs that horse in North Dakota

Well, it’s been another crazy week – Vegadaze had colic surgery and then suffered a fatal leg injury, 4 horses were killed in a freak truck rollover near Lindsay Park on Monday – Which was quickly forgotten by a far worse incident on Victoria’s roads – And then Luke Tarrant, who is no stranger to the odd misdemeanor, gave a Larry Cassidy a Liverpool Kiss at the Doomben scales on Wednesday, earning himself a 6 month ban.

And I thought Richard Laming and Noel Callow having a Donnybrook in the Cranbourne carpark was hilariously stupid.

Anyway, you don’t need me to remind you that our national day of commemoration is here again, and with the Sydney carnival done, this was the Saturday for the Hawkesbury standalone card, however, due to jockey travel restrictions and it being a provincial track, Racing NSW had to improvise and move the meeting to a remote Sydney metro track.

Alas, this year’s Hawkesbury card is at Rosehill.

Elsewhere, the traditional ANZAC Day meeting at Flemington sees a certain Melbourne Cup winner, plus the running of the time-honoured VRC St Ledger, once dominated by the likes of Phar Lap and Tulloch, and now dominated by whatever third-rater Gai Waterhouse enters.

There’s also the City Of Adelaide and the Chairman’s Stakes at Morphetville, the Sheila Gwynne at Ascot, and on another note, this is also the last Saturday on the job for a staple of Sky’s racing coverage – Andrew ‘ Hoss’ Bensley.

Saturday mornings won’t be the same without you Hoss – The Ponderosa awaits.

Vow And Declare (No.1, Barrier 3) in Race 4 at Flemington, 2:50pm AEST

2600m William Newton VC Handicap

Trainer: Danny O’Brien, Hoop: Craig Williams, 61kg

Before I begin, a bit of information about Bill Newton – He was friends with Keith Miller, he once dismissed Bill Ponsford for 4 in a Colts game at the MCG, became an ace RAAF pilot during WWII, fought in the South Pacific, until he was shot down, captured and beheaded by the Japanese in March of 1943, and was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, becoming the only RAAF pilot to be awarded the original VC.

And now to assess reigning Melbourne Cup winner Vow And Declare’s likelihood of winning, here’s the velvet voice of Roland Gift!

And the other Fine Young Cannibals.

No.1 in the U.S. – July 8, 1989

Did I mention Vow And Declare is the reigning Melbourne Cup winner?

Because Vow And Declare is the reigning Melbourne Cup winner.

Baccarat Baby (No.4, Barrier 3) in Race 7 at the Sunny Coast, 3:18pm AEST

1400m Open Handicap

Trainer: Dick Vandyke, Hoop: Michael Hellyer, 59.5kg

With a name like that, it’s time for another classic pop track.

Wait a minute, that’s bacharach, this is Baccarat.

Either way, I don’t understand the concept of either of them.

Baccarat was one two horses David ‘Dick’ Vandyke sent to Melbourne last Spring – The other was Ben Johnson’s favourite horse Alligator Blood.

In simple terms, the mare wasn’t totally disgraced in two runs, finishing 6th in the Tristarc on Caulfield Cup Day, followed by a 5th in the Group One Empire Rose on Derby Day.

If you know your cars, that Empire Rose is a Ferrari 360.

By comparison, this race looks like a Datsun 120Y.

BB returned at Doomben over the 1200m a fortnight ago, and lugging 60 kilos, she chased hard in the straight, but just missed the all-the-way leader Mishani Hustler.

The weight is pretty much the same, and if you ask me, there’s two, or possibly even three big ticks for the mare – She’s fitter, she goes out to 1400m, and the big one – SHE’S 4/4 ON THE HOME TRACK OF CORBOULD PARK.

I’m happy to be aboard, and experience the likely disappointment that awaits.

Amangiri (No.8, Barrier 4) in Race 7 at Hawkesbury Rosehill, 4:20pm AEST

1500m Group 3 Hawkesbury Gold Cup

Trainer(s): Team Hawkes, Hoop: Tommy Berry, 55kg

This spot was originally reserved for Indy Car, but Gerry Harvey randomly accepted an offer from Hong Kong interests, so he’s been scratched, and thus, I’ve latched on to Amangiri like Rose Porteous to Lang Hancock’s bank account.

Amangiri is no stranger to the Chalk Eaters – I definitely included her in last year’s Frank Packer Plate, which turned into a horror movie (Right there on my TV), and on Cox Plate day last year, when she won the last on the card at the Valley, the G3 Tesio.

The support appears to have come for the mare, because she’s rock hard fit, she’s a go-forward and make your own luck type of horse, and there appears to be next to no speed in the race, giving her the perfect excuse to dictate and give a very good sight on a track with leader-ish tendencies.

This could only end poorly… So count me in!

Token Ascot Tip

Dig Deep (No.1, Barrier 6) in Race 9 at Ascot, 5:20pm AWST

1100m Last Post Handicap

Trainer(s): Dan & Ben Pearce, Hoop: Jarrad Noske, 60kg

Another thrilling edition of the Get Out Stakes in Perth, which sees the Wizard consigned to riding ‘slight’ 8/1 outsider Mankind, and in a weird twist, a pair of 3-year-olds have ended up clearing out the market, despite being the topweights.

The absurdity of WA racing markets at work.

In one corner, it’s my jilted ex-lover Laverrod, who’s had more letdowns than Kenny Rosewall at Wimbledon, and in the other, it’s my choice of Dig Deep for the Pearce boys, who has had a season in which he mixed it in the WA Guineas and somehow got in to the Kingston Town field, and now ends up in a boring arse handicap.

For those of you who have never heard of this middling 3-year-old, Dig Deep is the brother of Doug Deep, former curator of The Gabba.

You could say they both have experience chopping up grass.

The recent trial appeared good enough (He only won), the Pearce boys are happy, so, it’s time to run 2nd to Rocket Rod to round off the day.

Crazy Craig’s Tip Of The Day

An appropriate request from Crazy Craig

LAYING The Inevitable (No.1, Barrier 2) in Race 7 at Flemington, 4:35pm AEST

1000m WGCDR Ian Bayles DFC

Trainer: Patrick Payne, Jockey: Tahlia Hope (a2), 62kg (60kg with claim)

Greetings and good tidings knackers, it’s Crazy Craig, The Boy From Bairnsdale, and I tell you what I love most about ANZAC Day, is reading about the history of the GREAT war horses who served in the Australian Imperial Force.

Major Michael Shanahan riding the legendary BILL THE BASTARD, plus the other Walers of the Light Horse Brigades – It’s fascinating stuff!

Anyway, I’m off to Flemington for the first time in 6 weeks, and I’ve seen an ex-Tasmanian horse carrying a bit too much weight over the 1000m!

The Inevitable hasn’t raced since he ran nowhere the Newmarket, and with Tasmanian racing being locked down, Scotty Brunton sent him up Bass Straight to keep him going, and he’s ended up with Patty Payne!



Patty, you may be smart, and your horse may have a touch of class, but you may have stretched your brain a bit too much here!


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

Taking on Patrick Payne?

Get in the bin, Craig.

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