Horse Racing

Crazy Craig’s Picks of the Day Review: 6th November

First off, if you’re wondering why there was an hour long gap between the second-last and last race at Ascot… well, look away now:

What a terrible couple of weeks for WA racing… Major falls and injuries for jockeys (Hannah Fitzgerald only just got out of the ICU after that Kalgoorlie fall last week), good horses being injured and having their seasons & careers cut short…

There’ll have to be some kind of forensic review into these events, hopefully for the better.

Now, looking on:

You might think “Why the hell are two grown diminutive men hugging it out after an intense few minutes riding horses”, well, it’s quite simple.

James McDonald, in the Red & Blue colours of Zaaki, rode his 10th winner of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, breaking the record of 9 that Brett Prebble, an idol of JMac’s, set twice over in 1999 & 2000, and rather fittingly, it was Prebble aboard Cascadian that McDonald & Zaaki beat home in the Mackinnon Stakes to take the record:

From the Channel 10 Sport Twitter

Two great riders creating a great moment for this year’s Spring Carnival, and by crikey, it needed one.

Of course, Zaaki made sure that both favourites made it home in the Flemington Group 1s, after Nature Strip, with JMac working the peddles, won a Darley Sprint Classic that could be best described as a track gallop for the $1.30 favourite, and on the subject of $1.30 favourites, Real Time Warrior was the polar opposite of a $1.30 favourite at Rosehill:

That 150/1 winner was Laura Lafferty’s first winning ride in Sydney, if you don’t mind umpire.

So overall it was another unique day of Australian racing, with Nature Strip’s win in the Darley arguably cementing his status as the best sprinter in this nation since Black Caviar, with a record to back up such a claim, Zaaki overcoming the Cox Plate miss and some injury concerns to win the Mackinnon, McDonald breaking the Cup Week record for winners, Tommy Berry riding 4 winners at Rosehill, but I’d better end this opening with something that didn’t even occur in Australia, and that’s the farce of the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar.

So in case you missed it, the Godolphin pair of Albahr and the hot favourite Modern Games had a major incident behind the barriers and were subsequently scratched before the vets could check them.

The vets then checked Modern Games and ruled him fit to race, despite the bookies having long ruled a line through him, which in 99 out of 100 jurisdictions would see him out of the race and heading back to the stalls with everyone suffering the dreaded sub rule in the quaddie.

HOWEVER, some reason, there exists a rule in the unholy laws of US racing that gave the stewards permission to allow Modern Games to run for prize money, and what do you know, the non-runner won the race easily for the Sheikh, Charlie Appleby and William Buick:

What a backwards arsehole of a racing jurisdiction.

Anyway, did I tell you Crazy Craig’s Pick of the Day and his Value Pick BOTH WON?


Pick of the Day: Alcyone in Race 3 at Flemington = WINNER ($1.90)

A wild old pre-race journey it was for Alcyone, going from $2.15 out to $2.50 on Saturday morning, followed by a final big plunge into $1.90, and it turned out the weight of money was spot on for the favourite, who produced something that was akin to being as pleasant as the first time I watched the original Star Wars film as a child.

Still, I don’t think Alcyone quite hit 0.5 past lightspeed like the Millennium Falcon.

So in a brief summation for those of you who didn’t bother watching Channel 10’s average coverage, Hugh Bowman plonked Alcyone perfectly in the classic one out, one back trotting position, taking bad luck out of the equation after the Caulfield bungle, and the favourite presented into the race perfectly when the time was right, and with a strong tailwind down the straight, Alcyone had more than enough in reserve to hold off Lunatic Fringe and present a case for James Cummings to send him to a race like the Ballarat Cup in a few weeks.

Good ride, a very solid win like a good honest tomato sauce favourite should, and to paraphrase Gary Harley, the favourite was the favourite FOR A REASON!

Random Bill Haley Pick: Rocha Clock in the Hot Danish Stakes at Rosehill = 2nd ($1.60p)

All up, it was a good run for the Random Bill Haley pick, but it was ultimately just a bit too late for Rocha Clock to run down Electric Girl and prevent the upset, which is a shame, because I had the winning song all lined up and ready to play:

Ah, it just makes me think of The Fonz and Richie Cunningham.

Value Pick: Massimo in the Lee Steere Stakes at Ascot = WINNER ($8.00/2.45p)


MOCK CRAZY CRAIG WILL YOU, WELL…. Give it 7 more days when the picks turn to crap, then you can start again.

More importantly, after a pair of well run 2nd placings to begin life with the Gangemis, Massimo led all the way to win the Lee Steere from a charging Valour Road, as Clint Johnston-Porter produced a ride that was brave, bold and beautiful, although not Bold & Beautiful in the same way that Ridge and Brooke were.

Still, nothing from the back had a chance of winning the race with the way Massimo controlled proceedings, as Regal Power started from Guildford as The Wizard fell asleep at the wheel, only to run on for 4th in another massive tease for the aggrieved punters, Dance Music lost the war of attrition after defeating Massimo in the Northerly, I completely forgot The Velvet King was in the race, Kay Cee was gone a long way out, and anything else was just pea-hearted and not good enough.

Still, I can’t even remember the last time the Crazy Craig Value Pick actually won prior to Massimo saluting today…. Namakwa on June 5?

Regardless, what a performance to end the peak period of the Spring Carnival, before we begin the swing towards the West, and to celebrate a good Italian victory, here’s Pavarotti with an encore of La donna è mobile from Rigoletto!

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