Horse Racing

Crazy Picks of the Day Review: Melbourne Cup Edition

From the 10 Sport Twitter

After 16 years, the Curse of the Diva is broken.

Not only has a mare placed in the Melbourne Cup for the first time since Makybe Diva’s 3rd Melbourne Cup win, but Verry Elleegant, the best damn horse in the country, the mare who stepped up and filled the void post-Winx, with a massive 57kg on her back, proved she didn’t need a Soft track to be a match against the dominant favourite Incentivise, and on a perfect deck for racing, the all-Kiwi combination of VE, James McDonald and Chris Waller finally won the one race that had been missing from their all-time great CVs, and they didn’t just win it, they shat it in by a solid 4 lengths, in what was the the fifth-fastest Cup in history – 3.17.43.

Daryl Sherer took this beauty

And it wasn’t like Incentivise ran poorly at $2.80 – Verry Elleegant was just THAT good.

We’ve seen two dozen horses complete the Cups double, we’ve had Melbourne Cup winners come back to win the Caulfield Cup the following year, like Rising Fast, Viewed and Dunaden, but amazingly, prior to today, no horse had ever done the reverse and won the Caulfield Cup one year, followed by the Melbourne Cup the next year….

And, Verry Elleegant’s win also marks the end of the 161-year long Curse of Barrier 18 – It was the only barrier that had never won the race.

The mare by Zed had plenty of knockers before today, despite having won 9 Group 1s and being voted Australian Racehorse of the Year, because she has at times put in some absolute stinkers on Good tracks, or has just run poorly as a favourite (See the Turnbull Stakes this year for example), but all of that has been put to bed and burned unceremoniously, and Verry Elleegant, if she wasn’t before, is now the most versatile horse to race in Australia in the last 15 years, having recorded Group 1 wins from 1600m to 3200m, and she’s now won a lazy $14 million to boot.

What a trainer Chris Waller is – Winx ends up being the greatest thing since sliced bread, then Nature Strip and Verry Elleegant get transferred to him when the Darren Weir shitstorm happened, and between the three of them, they’ve now won about AUD$55 million in prize money.

An all-time great performance, and of course, naturally I was on the floor at the Bowling Club, because I bit the bullet and put my Cup place bet on Floating Artist, which was my suggested annual Cup place bet in the Crazy Cup Day Picks.

As I predicted, or should I say, I was silently hoping internally, the Maher-Eustace horse with the light weight got the gun run from Teo Nugent and was right in the finish….

Only to run 4th by a half ****in’ length in a three way finish with Spanish Mission and Incentivise, who just had that little bit more petrol left in the tank after a genuinely run 2 miles.

As my mutual friend ‘FFA’ from the Waterford TAB would say, EFFIN’ FOURTH AGAIN!

I would say that summed up the day for the Crazy Picks – Right there contending for the money, but we got absolutely nothing. …

Oh well, at least I backed Profiteer.


Crazy Colin’s Pick: Wil John in Race 2 at Flemington = Heart as big as a pea

Wil John do stuff all?

Yes, he will.


The Cheetah’s Pick: Gracilistyla in Race 4 at Randwick = 4th

Would you look at that – Effin’ Fourth AGAIN!

Looking back, when the Cheetah wrote in to me and said that his mysterious mate had called Chris and Chris said that his horse CAN WIN, I’m starting to think his mate got his wires crossed, and that Chris was actually talking about Verry Elleegant’s Melbourne Cup chances, because he certainly couldn’t have been talking about Gracilistyla, who had a HEART AS BIG AS A PEA.

Fun fact – The Waller yard could’ve run Roots, who jumped in this race at $1.80, in the Listed Desirable Stakes on Oaks Day in a few days, and she would’ve been a live chance in that.

Instead, she couldn’t even run in the Top 2 of a 6-horse Tuesday field at Randwick.

Well, at least they’ve got a nice big gold cup to cry into.


Crazy Craig’s Value Pick: Energy Within in the Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes at Flemington = 5th

Good run down the outside from Energy Within, who stuck to the task and kept finding, but it only ended in her missing the placings by half a length, and just like every other sorry mare in that race, she was never really threatening the winner Rich Hips, who won the race for the second year running for Busuttin and Young, and there was daylight between the 2nd placed Exceldia and 3rd placed Paul’s Regret.

In fact, on Cup Day last year, I recall that Crazy Craig’s Pick of the Day was in this race, and it got smashed by Rich Hips that day as well…

So when you think about it, for the second year running, in the battle of the unusual body parts, the Rich Hips has outsmarted the Lucky Lips!


JT’s Piss Poor Perth Pick: Treasured Star in the Burgess Queen Stakes at Ascot = 5th

Well, I was a bit nervous watching Treasured Star on the corner, because she’d copped a bump at the start before doing the typical Peters/Pike get back in running, only this time she’d been caught on the fence and needed a bit of luck, which seemed to come in typical Pike fashion, only for it to slam shut with extreme force when Searchin’ Roc’s started to shift in, and right at that moment, eventual winner Buzzoom had started his run to victory, and the end result was Treasured Star had to check off heels, lost all momentum, and would have to make do with 5th.

The full Stewards report:

“When interviewed in relation to his riding in the straight, Jockey W Pike (TREASURED STAR) advised
that after initially being held up for clear running in the early stages of the straight, he elected to ride
his mount along in an endeavour to secure clear running to the inside of SEARCHIN’ ROC’S (K Yuill),
however, that runner had commenced to shift inwards which resulted in the clear running which had
initially presented no longer being an option to improve into.”

“Therefore, he elected to angle his mount outwards passing the 200m and shortly after BUZZOOM (C Parnham) had improved quickly and on level terms to his outside which resulted in his being disappointed for clear running behind the heels of SEARCHIN’ ROC’S with him having to check his mount from that runners heels losing ground at the
150m.”

“After considering the evidence of Jockey Pike and viewing a number of angles of the Hawk Eye vision, Stewards were of the opinion that Jockey Pike’s riding was not unreasonable in the circumstances and no further action was taken, other than to remind him to ensure he has full room when endeavouring to improve between runners in future.”

And this comment:

Bumped heavily and buffeted shortly after the start. Held up for clear running from on straightening and was disappointed for a clear run at the 150m resulting in the filly improving onto heels and having to be checked, losing ground.

May as well forget it ever ran.

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