JT’s Piss Poor Flemington Group 1 picks: Tofane in the Empire Rose, Alegron in the Derby, Paulele in the Coolmore, Superstorm in the Cantala
This Halloween, I present the horror story of…. THE HORSE TURNED INTO A MAN.
Every year, he roams Flemington as the Cup Carnival comes alive… Although there’s barely been anyone to haunt of late.
On that note, once again hello everyone, including the people who have wondered what on earth they’ve stumbled on to, it’s time for Derby Day, what used to be the greatest day of the racing season, and while Melbourne Cup Day traditionally has the most meetings across the nation, Derby Day is eternally the higher quality day, by virtue of those 4 Group 1s; The Coolmore Stud Stakes, The Empire Rose, the Cantala Stakes, and the 166th running of the Victoria Derby, plus the Hotham Handicap to decide the 24th and final spot in the Melbourne Cup, before the Racing Victoria vets randomly scratch 4 horses on race eve.
Then there’s the alternative big race north of Wodonga on Derby Day, the Golden Eagle for the 4YOs at Rosehill worth a few kajillion dollars, plus a couple of other sprint races for the horses not good enough to win the Everest, and much to my disappointment, Racing NSW can’t be arsed using the Steve Miller Band to promote a race named after an Eagle.
Sort it out V’Landys.
Then there’s the John Letts Cup at Morphetville, named after the one and only Lettsy, himself a 2-time Melbourne Cup winning jockey to go with his long career as the mounted interviewer aboard Banjo for Channel 10 & 7, and finishing the day at Ascot, which is in Belmont, it’s the Group 3 double of the Prince Of Wales Stakes and the Asian Beau Stakes, and not many people know that Asian Beau has held the Australian record over 1450m since December of 1978…
The obvious reason being that no sane race club will run a race over 1450m.
Given it is Derby Day, I asked Crazy Craig via telegram if he could give me three picks instead of two before his mind wandered off and decided to throw something in the Mitchell River, and based on the conversation with our mutual organiser Mr Alfonse, he said yes, followed by something that Google Translate thought was Swahili.
So on that note, it’s on to Crazy Craig for his Picks of the Day, and he definitely didn’t have lucky lips last week, it’s almost October 31, so here’s Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr!
Pick of the Day: Great House (No.4, Barrier 7) in the Hotham Stakes at Flemington, 1pm AEDT
2500m Group 3 Quality
Trainer: Chris Waller, Jockey: James McDonald, 57.5kg
Great House, in the middle of our street!
Hello fellow blowhards, it’s Crazy Craig, TBFB, very excited as always for Derby Day and the 5-day weekend, and did you know this year will mark 65 years since the famous triple dead heat in the ’56 Hotham Handicap – Fighting Force, Ark Royal and Pandie Sun all hit the line together, and it was the first recorded triple dead heat in the history of Australian racing!
What a crazy moment in history!
Of course, these days the Hotham serves as the final ballot exemption race for the Melbourne Cup, and this year looks a hot contest between Chris Waller’s Great House, who won the Newcastle Cup before running 5th in the Metrop and the Caulfield Cup, Mankayan, who has a HEART AS BIG AS A PEA, as evidenced by him running 5 consecutive placings without winning, and another Maher-Useless runner King’s Charisma, and in fact, looking at this Hotham field, there’s 9 horses, and Fun Fact is the only one that wasn’t bred in Britain or Ireland!
That’s not a Fun Fact, that’s a CRAZY fact!
Still, I keep finding myself going back to the Killer Kiwis in Waller & McDonald and the soap dodger Great House, in the middle of our street, who as I previously mentioned ran 5th in the Group 1 Metrop at Randwick, and in that run he settled back at the rear and made contact with another runner before charging home late in restricted room, then in the Caulfield Cup he had to race on the inferior part of the wet track, but still ran on well to finish 5th again, and it should be noted that while Incentivise crapped on everyone, Great House was only 0.3L off Persan in 3rd.
I would argue quite solidly that is the best formline of any horse in this field, and obviously there are a few queries, like how much gas does the Galileo gelding have left in the tank, having been in work since bloody June, compared to someone like King’s Charisma who goes in 3rd Up, it’s a big rise in weight (50kg up to 57.5kg), but going from a Caulfield Cup to a Hotham Handicap is like going from playing India in the subcontinent to playing Bangladesh in Alice Springs!
So in conclusion, it’s a crap edition of the Hotham, but my Spidey Senses tell me the 24th and final spot in the Cup field will be going to GREAT HOUSE, in the middle of our street, and he is my PICK OF THE DAY.
Special Value VRC Derby Pick (MR6): Teewaters (No.16, Barrier 3), 3:45pm AEDT
2500m Group 1 3YO Set Weights
Trainer: Archie Alexander, Jockey: Michael Dee, 57kg
Consider this my one-off special third pick for Saturday, and there’s no better race to go than the time-honoured Victoria bloody Derby, and of course, the spring edition of the Derby has thrown up a number of upsets in recent years, Johnny Get Angry in 2020 being the most recent, and I suppose the most plausible reason for it is because they’re still Spring 3-year-olds who haven’t been exposed to the horrors of staying races.
So that said, in a race with standout horses like Forgot You, Hitotsu and Gunstock, I’m more prepared to have a throw at the stumps and miss horribly, which has become my trademark, alongside not being all there, and this year I’m going to have a go with TEEWATERS from Ballarat, and the only Teewaters you’ll ever find in Ballarat are usually in Lake Wendouree!
Teewaters has had an unremarkable career ever since he finished last on debut in a Geelong maiden, finishing in the placings in every run since, including the high points of winning his maiden by 6 lengths at Ballarat, with the 2nd-placed horse Tigertiger winning two starts later by 5.75L, and he ran 3rd in the Norman Robinson at Caulfield on their Cup day, being beaten 2.75L by current Derby favourite Gunstock after Declan Bates stuck to the inside of the track, which was clearly the worst part of The Heath on Caulfield Cup Day!
Now, there’s no debate that Gunstock has Teewaters drowning in a puddle of his own making at the 2000m, but I think the Dundeel gelding might just enjoy the extra 500m on Saturday, and if you look at the barrier draws, Gunstock will have to start from the train station in Barrier 19, and Teewaters has drawn Barrier 4, ensuring he’ll get a fairly comfortable run in transit!
I’m not afraid to be bold knackers, even if it results in me having my pants pulled down both physically and metaphorically speaking, so I’m hoping like buggery that Teewaters can pull off a Top 3 finish in the Derby at the odds, which I think are currently 20-1!
Value Pick of the Day: Ellsberg (No.9, Barrier 1) in the Golden Eagle at Rosehill (SR7), 4:50pm AEDT
1500m 4YO Set Weights
Trainers: Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou, Jockey: Josh Parr, 57.5kg
On to my value pick of the day, and I’ve gone straight to the Golden Eagle worth a lazy $7.5m, which still won’t be enough for the connections of the winning horse to buy a 1-bedroom house in Sydney, and the midweek barrier draw wasn’t kind to a few of the favourites, namely Maximal drawing the Richie Benaud barrier 22, I’m Thunderstruck drawing Barrier 10 and Apache Chase drawing Barrier 17, but I reckon it was absolutely perfect-o for Ellsberg, who drew the rail!
Now a few weeks back, Ellsberg was the favourite for the Silver Eagle at Randwick, only to run 2nd after being racing wide down the back, before being caught right in the path of Triple Ace as he broke down, and having to subsequently shift out may very well have cost Ellsberg that race, as he was beaten a half-head by a flying Aim.
Gerard Ryan and Sterling Alexiou have primed him 3rd Up for the big dance at Rosehill Gardens, where he won 1st Up on Golden Rose day last month, and if the speed maps aren’t as bullcrap as they usually are, then Josh Parr should be able to use the good barrier and sit right up on the speed behind the leaders to get the run of the race.
Ellsberg is a consistent horse in every sense of the word consistent, with 4 wins and 6 placings from 11 starts, so there’s no heart as big as a pea at all, and if all goes well, he’ll be in the fight for the Top 3 in the Golden Rose, as my VALUE PICK OF THE DAY.
Anyway friends, stay safe, keep your eyes on the road, don’t be a stranger, or throw your phone in the river, have a decent long weekend, and remember, I’m Crazy Craig, and that’s why they call me Craaaaaazy Craig!
Categories: Horse Racing