Horse Racing

The Chalk Eaters Guide: 20th June

A lazy hat-trick of Ascot Gold Cups for Stradivarius

It’s a shame we’ll never see Stradivarius race in Australia…. he’d deadset carry 62 kilos in a Melbourne Cup and probably win by 6L eased down against our plodders, although with Frankie Dettori’s performances Down Under, he’s more likely to wipe out half the field on the turn.

Anyway, if you don’t give a crap about Royal Ascot, here’s the finish of the Gold Cup – poetry in motion.

The 2018 Melbourne Cup winner in Cross Counter and the 2019 runner-up Prince Of Arran showing just how top notch our staying form is when they get back home.

Anyway, in amidst jockeys bringing up talk about whip rules, the real left field moment this week was John O’Shea’s mare Pretty In Pink, who won the Group 2 Moreton Cup at Doomben last June, returning a positive swab for a drug you probably associate more with the West Coast Eagles than thoroughbreds…


And amphetamine.

Now, a jockey or trainer on meth isn’t unthinkable, but a methhead horse, now that’s just disturbing.

You have to wonder a how horse could test positive for a drug like methamphetamine, but it makes more sense when you realise where O’Shea stabled the horse.

Fair enough, play on.

Anyway, it’s Queensland, all he has to do is lodge an appeal at QCAT once he gets punished, and he’ll be safe for 5 years while they sit on their hands.

As for the Saturday ahead, surely the highlight of the day is the rematch between Kay Cee and Laverrod in the Belmont Guineas, supported by lightweight black type races at Doomben with The Phoenix, the A.R Creswick up the Straight Six of Flemington, and the Winter Dash at Randwick, which is still submerged under a Heavy 9.

You can tell the peak of Winter racing is just about here, because the cards are getting even bleaker.

Cherry Tortoni (No.3, Barrier 8) in Race 2 at Flemington, 12:20pm AEST

1420m Rod Johnson Handicap (2YO)

Trainer: Patrick Payne, Hoop: Billy Egan, 60.5kg

The annual race named after the VRC’s former chief Rod Johnson, who started working at Flemington as an office boy in 1946, the year the mythical Bernborough retired after an injury in the Mackinnon on Derby Day.

Rocket Rod retired a mere 48 years later in 1994, having climbed all the way to CEO, as the Melbourne Cup had finally evolved from being raided by Kiwis and South Australians, to being raided by Kiwis and the Irish.

Anyway, this is Paddy Payne’s first appearance in the Chalk Eaters since Rubisaki’s wins at Randwick during April, and it’s quite appropriate that I mention Rubisaki, because take a look at who won this corresponding race (A 1400m 2YO Handicap) a year ago:

If you squint your eyes enough you’ll see the winner

Payne clearly trying to make lightning strike twice, albeit carrying 6 more kilos with gelding Cherry Tortoni, who won superbly on debut at Sale 3 weeks ago after getting caught wide, with the runner-up Not A Zak running 3rd at The Valley last week.

Aside from that, another wild fact about Cherry Tortoni is that he’s a relation to Guy Walter’s versatile champion Tie The Knot (Via his dam Tortoni, a half-sister), who won 13 Group 1s (With Payne riding 3 of them), including back-to-back Sydney Cups, and four consecutive Chipping Nortons between 1999 and 2002, and keeping up the connection, he races in Tie The Knot’s red silks & white cap, having been bred and raced by Sandy Tait and Jill Nivison.

Lonhro got in the Hall of Fame despite shitting the bed in 2 Cox Plates, yet Tie The Knot wins 13 Group 1s and he barely raises a mention 18 bloody years in a row.

Anyway, I know nothing about the other runners, so I’ll just move on from this history lesson.

Mount Popa (No.1, Barrier 7) in Race 4 at Randwick, 1:15pm AEST

2000m BM78 Handicap

Trainer: John Hawkes & Sons, Hoop: Tommy Berry, 60kg

Apparently Mount Popa is not a reference to the great Tony ‘Poppa’ Popovic.

I feel disappointed.

In another show of multiculturalism in Australian, Team Hawkes, with help from their old mate Rupert Legh, have acquired an Irish gelding who raced in France, and now finds himself racing against second-rate Winter horses in Australia on a bottomless Randwick track.

What a journey.

Mount Popa ended up starting favourite on his Australian debut at Flemington on June 6, in a show of support on the back of some solid trials, despite the fact that it was 1400m and well short of his best distance.

Predictably, Popa didn’t win, thanks mainly to a bad start and the on pacers controlling the race, but he hit the line for a very promising 4th, giving further ammunition for him needing further.

If form lines are your thing, Holbein ran 2nd to Honey Esprit in that Flemington race, and wouldn’t you know it, Holbein went to The Valley last week and won.

In what can only be a solid show of confidence form the Hall of Famer Johnny Hawkes, Mount Popa goes straight to Sydney, and off the back of that Flemington run, goes straight to 2000m 2nd Up.

Still, it’s a Mountain to climb, which, perhaps ironically, will have to be climbed by a Mount, who did have a placing on a Heavy track

There’s enough there to suggest Popa can win, and I’d bloody well hope so, because if he doesn’t, I’ll do something drastic.

Like drink a beer.

The Perth Piss-Up Section

A sad twist over here in Perth racing – Top mare Angelic Ruler ran an uncharacteristic bad race in last week’s Belmont Sprint, then the Pearce boys sent her to the vet when she was off-colour, and a surgery revealed she had a “significant and inoperable growth in her colon”, which had apparently been there during her Melbourne campaign last Spring (Where she placed in a string of Group races), and she passed away on Thursday.

Geez, between Tuscan Queen’s serious injury and now Angelic Ruler’s passing, Perth’s mares cannot take a trick…

Kay Cee (No.5) & Laverrod (No.1) to QUINELLA the Belmont Guineas… at Belmont, 1:48pm AWST (3:48)

1600m Listed 3YO Set Weights

Kay Cee: Steve Parnham, 54.5kg, Laverrod: Pat Carberry, 56.5kg

Yageddit – It’s KC!

I tried the risky quinella a fortnight ago, and it got up at the mighty odds of $1.60 as Kay Cee defeated Laverrod in a thrilling episode of The Chase Australia, so on that note, TIME FOR ROUND 2.

This year’s Belmont Guineas is a rematch of that wild Raconteur Stakes a fortnight ago, with the trifecta from that race back for the return bout, and Nev Parnham did say that if Kay Cee was ever going to be beaten this Winter, it was 1st Up to a horse like Laverrod, who has seemingly been in preparation since Christmas.

But, proving her Group 1 winning class, Kay Cee, with Sunshine Band in tow, mowed down Rod against an unfavourable slow speed, and showed us just who the best 3 year old in WA currently is.

Hammering home the advantage for Kay Cee, she gets a 2.5 kilo swing on the Rockhampton Rocket, and 4 kilos on 3rd placed Karijini Aurora, and the end result of that is that she’s been backed 3/5 on, which is just about the right price if you ask me.

My interesting note is that this’ll be last time we see Laverrod in the Daly family’s easily noticable hot pink, royal blue quarters and black sleeve silks that Jacks Or Better and Vega Magic carried to Group 1 success.

The reason being is that owner Wally Daly has decided to retire his well-known silks after some 50 years, a decision brought on after his brother (And former trainer) George passed away in April.

If Kay Cee can hold her form from a fortnight back, she’ll be winning this easily, while my only note on Rocket is that this is his first go at a mile, and if he leads, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him drop off and splatter egg on my face.

Hell, what do I care.

Western Pride (No.8, Barrier 6) in Race 8 at Belmont, 4:10pm AWST (6:10)

1600m Crown Towers Handicap (66+ Rating)

Trainer: Adam Durrant, Hoop: W.Pike, 57kg

Race 8, Number 8.

The Gabster Special.

Speaking of The Gabster, he’s made several claims that he isn’t betting anymore since TABs reopened in WA.

Based on years of observation, when The Gabster tells the assorted weirdos of the Waterford TAB that he isn’t betting anymore, that usually means he’ll be back on Thursday.

Western Pride made an appearance on here a fortnight ago as the Pike In The Last special, and she got the job done with a leg in the air on her return to racing, and looking at this shoddy field, she probably should be going to 5 from 5 in her short career, and the weight of the money believes the same thing – She’s been backed in to $2.05.

Alright, now with with my weekly use of that gag out of the way, let’s go to The Cheetah for his shady tip of the day.

The Cheetah’s Tip Of The Day

‘LAYING’ Order of Command (No.1, Barrier 12) in Race 9 at Flemington, 4:32pm AEST

1100m Adam Lindsey Gordon Handicap (Quality)

Trainer: Danny O’Brien, Jockey: Damien Oliver, 62kg

G’day folks, Cheetah here, thrilled to be back for another week after my reverse psychology on Brimham Rocks did the trick.

You may say my mail was blatantly off on that one, but you don’t know The Cheetah.

I’m turning my eye to my old stomping ground of Flemington this week, and a very willing associate of mine, known only as ‘Anthony’ for legal reasons, was on the phone to Danny O’Brien this week, who has plenty of live chances across multiple states tomorrow.

I asked ‘Anthony’ what Danny said when it came to Order Of Command, in his first run since the Goodwood, carrying the top weight up the straight.

I quote ‘Anthony’, which he claims was direct from Danny’s lips:

“Can’t win with 62 kilos.”

I don’t know your personalities, but that’s good enough inside info for me.

Enjoy your Saturday ladies and gents, Cheetah signing off.

1 reply »

  1. Really enjoying your tips and sense of humour. First really good look I’ve had at KC, of the Sunshine Band, even though we all listened to them heaps back in the day. Hilarious 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

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