Horse Racing

The Chalk Eaters Guide Review: 7th November

A brief summary of Saturday afternoon for 75% of the country

So a pandemic couldn’t bring Australian racing to a halt, but Tabcorp’s data centre shitting the bed definitely will.

This week, we’ve gone from the Race That Stops A Nation, to the Server That Stops A Nation.

Yep, THAT was as good as TAB’s communications got in this Public Relations cataclysm, because it took them until about 5pm to actually tell people using their app that there was a serious problem and they couldn’t place a bet.

I believe this is exclusive footage of the TAB technicians trying to fix the problem.

What a time for a cock up – The last day of the Flemington carnival, and predictably, the cascade effect was massive, in what is now the undisputed leader for the worst meltdown ever witnessed in Australian racing.

AT LEAST $100,000,000 AUD in turnover lost…. Not that anyone’s shedding a tear for Tabcorp given some of the crap they’ve pulled, but that’s a good 7-figures lost that would’ve gone back into the racing industry itself.

In what was almost a case of cutting off the nose to spite the face, every metro meeting (Except Perth) in Australia was pushed back one race, which did next to nothing because the technical problem wasn’t resolved, and it was so bad in Adelaide that Morphetville was called off after 2 races and postponed to Monday.

With the sheer size of the green giant, just about every bookmaker in the country was affected, with corporate bookies unable to pay out on Race 1 at Flemington for upwards of 2 hours, and Sportsbet weren’t offering any exotics at all in the afternoon – BUT, you were actually able to bet with the corporates, so needless to say they had an uptick in activity.

Thankfully for me, the WA TAB survived (And to think the State Government want to sell it) unscathed by using their own pools, but betting on every race closed on the scheduled start time, no matter if it ran 3 minutes late, and it took upwards of 25 minutes for dividends to pay out, which under the circumstances, was pretty good.

Keno also got knocked out nationwide, and, just when the Victorian TAB agencies in particular hadn’t taken enough of an arse-tearing in 2020, they’ve been knocked out cold on one of their busiest days of the year.

In short, Tabcorp dropped the ball so hard the damn thing plummeted straight through to the earth’s core, and you’d imagine they’ll offer TAB account holders nothing short of a pissy little $50 bonus bet to apologise for one of the biggest arse-ups ever seen, but it is Tabcorp, so anything’s possible.

Still, if there was a positive, it was nice watching Sky Racing without the bloody odds cluttering the screen.

Pondus in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Flemington – 2nd

Originally tweeted by

Well, Pondus ran pretty well, and it looked like he might just go on to win it at the 200m, but where in hell did True Self find that kind of a turnaround, because after getting caught behind runners, she threaded the eye of the needle thanks to one James Hugh Bowman and just utterly exploded past the $1.95 favourite and Chapada to go back-to-back in the Queen Elizabeth.

True Self hadn’t bloody well placed in 6 starts since that win last year, but she came back to Australia and just whipped our plodders again.

How often do you see 8-year-old mares winning races, especially in this part of the world where most of the good ones are usually at stud by then.

Wandabaa in the Hot Danish Stakes at Rosehill – 4th

From Sky Racing

In a field that had been ripped open by scratchings, I still got the old fashioned ****in’ 4th Again!

Speaking of which the man himself made an appearance at the Waterford TAB today…. he had at least one 4th placing, don’t you worry about that!

Arcadia Queen in the Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington – WINNER

From the coverage

That was as smooth as a baby’s backside.

Sure she was last, but the big key was she tracked Fifty Stars the entire way, Luke Currie made sure she always room to peel out in the straight, and with that advantage, she proved just who the best horse in the race was and won superbly.

I’d say that was the common theme in both Group 1s today – Both the winners (Bivouac in the Darley being the other) were just classes above, and they were ridden that way, which is exactly what you want to see.

Mugatoo’s scratching made a lick of difference, except to AC’s price for anyone who could actually bet on the race.

Of course, the story was that Pikey gave up the ride so he could go home and quarantine for the Railway Stakes, with Currie getting the ride because Damian Lane got rubbed out, but moreso, it was a big moment for Grant ‘Puffer’ Williams, who spent 4 months in Melbourne away from Alana & their daughter, and amidst plenty of highs and some deep lows with the Peters fleet this Spring, Puffer ends it with another fantastic performance from the Queen of WA, who was nearly finished with feet issues in August, but ends her Spring with 2 WFA Group 1 wins in 3 starts.

Fantastic effort – Ascot would’ve going off it’s face.

Arcadia Queen is the 5th WA bred horse to win the Mackinnon, joining Trap For Fools in 2018, Scenic Shot in 2009, Rogan Josh in 1999 (Who won the Melbourne Cup 4 days later), Aquanita and Eurythmic, although only Arcadia Queen and Scenic Shot were trained in WA.

Makes you wonder that Chris Waller can’t turn every horse to solid gold.

Elite Street in Race 9 at Ascot – WINNER

I don’t actually have a replay of the race, which may be down to the technical issues today, but I’ll describe the ride:

Brad Parnham managed to park Elite Street in a perfect 5th and one off the fence, and the result of that was he had plenty of room to work with, and just as he did last start, the progressive sprinter let down beautifully in the straight and anchored home the Chalk Eaters by powering past Long Beach and the flashing Highland Beat.

A big end to the day for the Parnhams, as Brad won the Fairetha Stakes on Kallaroo, beating Chris Parnham, then Steven won the feature Lee Steere Stakes on Kay Cee, trained by Neville, and Brad popped up again on Elite Street.

Given it was a Group 2 win, I think it’ll be young Steven getting the top bunk tonight!

Crazy Craig’s Lucky Lips Tip Of The Day

Bivouac in the Darley Sprint Classic at FlemingtonWINNER

From the coverage

WINNER would be selling Bivouac’s performance short.

It was poetry in motion watching him absolutely let rip at the Clock Tower, and fair dinkum, you don’t see sprinting wins that good too often, let alone in one of the best Group 1 sprints in the country.

3.75 lengths was the official margin, and given Glen Boss was sitting up in the saddle at the 50m getting ready to celebrate, he could’ve made it an even 4 lengths if he’d bothered.

Bossy couldn’t have ridden the entire any better – He jumped well, tucked in behind the typically quick Fabergino to get that cover from the wind, and when you saw him loom into the race at the 400m, it was looking pretty ominous, and the Everest runner-up showed how damn good Classique Legend went to win that Everest.

If that’s the last we see of Bivouac on a race track, given he’s tacked a few more zeros onto his stud value at Darley, it’d be a glorious way to go out.

It should be noted that all things considered, Nature Strip ran pretty well, leading the field running unprotected into the wind, but even a horse as quick as Nature Strip was made to look like he was standing still.

On a side note, it was hilarious listening to Matt Hill in the run call Nature Strip like James McDonald was riding, and not Hugh Bowman, given JMac was suspended.

I’d put it down to muscle memory.

So on that note, to cap off a reasonably successful Cup Carnival, THE LUCKY LIPS ARE BACK!

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