Taj Rossi and the spring of 1973

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Occasionally a horse arrives on the scene during the spring and sets the entire racing industry alight. That horse in 1973 was Taj Rossi.

In 1972, Bart Cummings bid a then record $18,000 for a bay colt by Matrice out of a mare named Dark Queen; the colt turned out to be Taj Rossi. This was Bart’s only purchase at the sales, and he bought the colt simply on spec and would worry about finding owners later such was his desire to secure the colt.

Taj Rossi raced as a two-year-old and he was probably just ok. He won his last two starts as a two-year-old, before being spelled in preparation for his spring three-year-old season. In late August, the colt was beaten at his first start for the preparation. The track was very heavy this day, but there was more than one punter who decided that the bay colt had not ‘come on’ from his moderately successful two-year-old season. Bart then set the colt second up for the 1200m Ascot Vale Stakes. This race is now known as the Coolmore and it is run on Derby Day as a Group One race. In 1973, it was run and won at the start of the spring, but it was still a major sprint race.

It was September 8 1973 and what Taj Rossi did on this day and over the next 11 weeks is the stuff of absolute legends. The colt won the Ascot Vale as a rank outsider, which was not surprising considering how poor he was first up. He won by two lengths in an effortless display in a then race record from two very good performers.

Two weeks later, in what appears to have been a ‘fitness run’ Taj Rossi was entered in an open handicap by Bart. The colt was given 61.5kg such was the strength of his 1200m win two weeks earlier. This race was 1600m and despite the weight, Taj Rossi was sent out the odds on favourite, again, such was the strength of his Ascot Vale win. And the punters were not disappointed, with Taj Rossi winning nicely.

One week after this race, Taj Rossi won the very rich Moonee Valley Stakes as the even money favourite. This race was on 29 September and was run over 1600m.


Two weeks after that on 13 October Taj Rossi was sent out favourite in the Caulfield Guineas. Just before the start, the colt, ridden by Roy Higgins, managed to hit his head on the uprights on the starting gates. By the time Higgins noticed that the colt was dazed and confused, the gates sprung back, and the favourite was left standing and not knowing what was going on. Higgins quickly got Taj Rossi’s mind back on the job, but the damage was done and the colt was unsighted in the run. Well unsighted until the final furlong where he set the turf on fire with a dashing display to rattle home for 4th beaten less than a length. He was an absolute certainty beaten.

The tips for Caulfield Guineas day 1973. Only one person tipped Taj Rossi. But he was beaten of course.

The tips for Caulfield Guineas day 1973. Only one person tipped Taj Rossi. But he was beaten of course.

Two weeks after the Caulfield Guineas, Taj Rossi won the Cox Plate at 7-1. He won by a head and beat a very strong field in the process. The runner up in the race had won the Caulfield Cup the previous week. This was perhaps the 3rd running of the Cox Plate when the race was actually considered a WFA Classic, so the field was extremely strong and Taj Rossi handled them nicely. He had now won the Ascot Vale over 1200m, a handicap over 1600m, the Moonee Valley Stakes and now the 2040 Cox Plate.

The next Saturday, Taj Rossi was saddled up and sent out the 11-2 favourite in the VRC Derby over 2500m. Remember that this horse had won a sprint race to start his preparation. Also, it has to be pointed out that only very few three-year-olds have ever won the Cox Plate then backed up and won the Derby. Savabeel was the last to try and he failed. But Taj Rossi certainly did not fail. He won and won nicely but one has to wonder how he got out to 11-2 ($6.50). The Derby win made it four now Group One wins and he really should have won the Guineas!

pic_Taj Rossi_winning

One week after the Derby win, Taj Rossi was sent out the 9-2 favourite in the George Adams Handicap. This race is now known as the Emirates Stakes. Taj Rossi won this race as easily as you will ever see with one of the greatest finishing bursts ever seen at Flemington. It has been demonstrated over the years, that it is relatively common for gun horses to keep winning if they are either stepping up in distance or racing regularly at the same distance. It is much harder to win at a certain distance, then win 7 days later at a distance that is less than the previous week. Taj Rossi won the Derby over 2500m, then the week later won the Emirates over 1600m. This has to have been his greatest ever win. But he was not done!


The week later, Bart sent the colt out to Sandown to win the Sandown Guineas. And why not! Remarkably, Taj Rossi started as the even money favourite, but he really should have been $1.10. This win at Sandown made it seven wins from eight starts from 8 September – 17 November. Five of these races are now Group One races, two are Group Three races and One is now Group Two. Had of Taj Rossi won these seven races last year instead of in 1973, he would have banked $4.3 million for his connections. In 1973 he managed to grab just $175,000. Even with inflation, this is just $1.5 million. The prize money for racing has certainly grown!

Taj Rossi had a virus during the autumn of his three-year-old season and he never again reached the great heights of this 11 week period during 1973. The colt went to stud in America, but was sent home after there was very little interest in sending mares to the Aussie champ. He sire 20 horses in America, and 16 of them won!

Good luck and stay tuned.


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An alternate Cox Plate lead up


G’day. I am just doing some study about Taj Rossi. So please read this reblog while I type up the new one.

Originally posted on A Turf Fascination:

Hello everyone

Today we will have a look at the last two wins of the fantastic career of Super Impose and how they were very unique.

Super Impose is considered on of the best milers to ever run in Australia. He won two Epsoms and two Doncasters and set metric weight carrying records in both. He was also placed in a Melbourne Cup and was a reliable horse for 7 seasons.

However, the most unique part of Super’s career was his last two wins as an eight-year-old in 1992.

Here is how it happened…

Super resumed as an eight-year-old in the spring of 1992 in Sydney. He ran second in the Warwick Stakes to underrated horse Shaftsbury Avenue, then ran third in the Chemlsford as an even money favourite. From here he went to the Hill Stakes where he ran second, again as the even money favourite. By now, the talk was that old…

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Degenerate Carnival Folk

Hello everyone.


Just a word of advice to all the young folk out there. The 18, 19 and 20-year-olds that think they can afford $60,000 cars after dropping out of high school, getting a southern cross tattoo and sweeping the floor in a mine for two months. You know the type. Why do these both boys and girls feel they are invincible on the roads? The speed limit is 100kph for a reason, but no no no, these idiots want to go faster. Then in town in a 50kph zone, they like to tailgate and try and intimidate the motorists in front of them. How many times have you been obeying the law, doing the right thing only to have a P plater in a Commodore 18 inches behind you trying to make you drive faster? Where do they need to be? Why are they in such a hurry? They most likely need to get to their night jobs to help with their car repayments. If you slam the breaks on after a kid runs in front of the car, you save the kid’s life but get rewarded with a smashed up car due to a hero who somehow gains some sort of sexual satisfaction from driving their shinny green car too close to the person in front. What does it achieve? Do people actually break the speed limit due to being intimidated by some deadbeat in a deadshit chariot?  Next time this happens to you, when you are just out for a drive over summer, with the windows down, listening to the cricket, having a nice day… do this. Go slower. Slow right down and really make the pricks mad. If they are unsatisfied with the acceptable speed limit of 50kph, then go 40. Stuff em!


It is a huge weekend of racing, however Saturday is reserved for the Hawks so no Sydney form has been done. Having said that, if you back Catkins in the 7th and Twirl in the 3rd and even take them in a double, you will get $90 back for your $10. They are the only two horses I will be backing on Saturday, but the channel will not be flicked to watch the races!

There are two Group One meetings in Victoria this weekend. One is Friday night and the other is on Sunday. He is a go at the entire cards of both. * indicates an each way special.

Moonee Valley Friday

Race 1.

Winner – 1. Deiheros $6.50

This one too – 11. White Hunter $4.60

J. Roughead – Kizz’s Munro $36

Race 2.

Winner – 2. Commanding Jewel $1.65 

This one too – 7. Solict $7

J. Roughead – None. One of these two will win.

Race 3.

Winner – 1. Vatican $10*

This one too – 3. Angle’s Beach $1.90

J. Roughead – 5. Solsay $7

Race 4.

Winner – 1. Buffering $5.50

This one too – 2. Lankan Rupee $1.50 (I hate this horse!)

J. Roughead – 5. Angelic Light $7

Race 5.

Winner – 2. Silversands $19

This one too – 1. Eloping $3

J. Roughead – 10. Royal Trieste $61

Race 6.

Winner – 11. Signoff $5*

This one too -1. The Cleaner $4

J. Roughead – 7. Marksmanship $16

Race 7.

Winner – 3. Chivalry $4

This one too – 1. Almalad $3

J. Roughead – 2. Zululand $16

Race 8.

Winner – 12. Stratigraphy $4.40

This one too – 7. Desert Journey $7

J. Roughead – Hurdy Gurdy Man $21

Caulfield Sunday

Race 1.

Winner – 7. Spinderbella $4.20

This one too – 4. Aliyana $5

J. Roughead –  9. Noble Twostep $41

Race 2.

Winner – 9. Count Encosta $7*

This one too – 16. Gridhian $34

J. Roughead – 2. Kapour $41

Race 3.

Winner – 4. Griante $9.50

This one too – 1. Miss Stelle $8

J. Roughead 5. Flash of Doubt $16

Race 4.

Winner – 7. Commanding Time $7.50*

This one too – 8. Le Roi $6

J. Roughead – 8. Electric Fusion $15

Race 5.

Winner – 3. Aimee $34*

This one too – 10. Pickin’ Time $9

J. Roughead – 2. Go Indy Go $17

Race 6.

Winner – 2. Rich Enuff*

This one too – 12. Liberation $13

J. Roughead – 10. Awesome Rock $10

Race 7.

Winner – 10. Akavouroun $21*

This one too – Sweet Idea $7

J. Roughead – 13. Trust in a Gust $10

Race 8.

Winner – 10. Vain Queen $5*. Best of the weekend

This one too – 3. Richie’s Vibe $14

J. Roughead – 18. Wales $21

Good luck and stay tuned.


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A Reference Point


After a couple of midweek winners, please enjoy this reblog while the weekend form is being studied.

Originally posted on A Turf Fascination:

Hello everyone

Les Carlyon describes the Melbourne Cup as a reference point. There are a few dates where the winner of the Cup (its name) has a direct connection with the major events of that year. Yes this is a bit of a silly post, but we have to put up something. Here we go.

1880. Grand Flaneur won the Cup this year as a three-year-old. In the press the owner / connection known only as ‘Edward’ said the horses was to be retired because he wanted the horse to go to stud before he was beaten. The next day a different Edward who could ride a bit but never owned a Cup winner, Edward Kelly was hanged. Ned Kelly no doubt wishes he had retired before he was beaten!

1915. Patrobas won the Cup this year. He was named after a Roman Christian that was in charge of protecting his fellow apostles in…

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Can’t win on the Saturday races, so we may as well try on Wednesday!

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The races on Wednesday 24 September are at Canterbury and Bendigo. These are two of A Turf Fascinations’ favourite venues, so why not have a look through the form and give some tips to those still loyal after a recent lean run. Here we go…


3.9. Spirit of Joy $4. This filly hates wet tracks and she has ran accordingly over the last few months. She faces a dry track on Wednesday and she was scratched from a race on Sunday in preference for this. A good winning chance at each way odds.

Race 4. In this race, there are two horses on a quick back up at huge odds that are in good form. They are 3. Midnight Ride and 6. Ephoral. Both these runners are at about 30/1 and they are both in good enough form to threaten for a place.

5.10. White Dove $6. Most of the horses in this race are no good. But down the bottom of the weights, with Winona Costin taking an extra 3kg off, there is a mare very much in form. She is by High Chap and once these types of mares hit form, they generally hold it. She is one of only two last start winners and if she runs to the level she ran at last start, she can win. 3. Best of the Rest is very well named as it is the best of the rest in this field and worth a little saver also.

6.12. Golden Aro $9. This gelding was going nowhere with Gai Waterhouse. I was writing about him every day and he was going very slow very often. Then he went for a spell, grew and has comeback a much better horse. He is in great form now and he looks a significant each way chance on Wednesday with very little weight. 14. Apache Court at 20/1 might also be worth a small bet.


2.1. Hissing Sid. This jumper is better than his rivals. If he gets over them all he should finish in front. Not sure what odds he will come up, but even money would be a good price.

3.2. Charcoal Lake. A first starter with no trials and no jumpouts! So how can it be tipped? Well it has a very sneaky trainer and it is starting it’s career over 1400m at the big Bendgio track. Normally horses start their lives over 1000m, 1100m or 1200m. To debut over 1400m is rare and there must be a reason for it.

4.5. Our Shanakee. After two recent starts over the last two weeks, this colt is again backing up in quick succession. Trainers normally back up horses only when they are flying and look set to run well. He is bred to get better with more racing and he looks as if he will be at huge odds so just $1 each way should suffice.

6.11. The Golden Pig $13. This horse’s trainer knows how to sneak one in on the minimum and this particular horse has been running really well in lesser company. He is stepping up to the 2400m and he is an entire. Generally, horses that are not great are gelded as three-year-olds in the hope they will get better. This boy still has all his tackle and is a stayer! Very rare.

7.12. Soosa Rama $5.50. Unbeaten second up and last spring he linked together plenty of good wins. His best will blow this filed away but it is just a matter of finding his best.


Gai has two running on Thursday at Hawkesbury that look very hard to beat. 1.1 Rochallor has plenty of weight but a horrible barrier. However he is simply better than his rivals and with even luck he should figure in the finish. 6.1. Abbey Road might be a star. She won her last trial by 8 lengths and if she wins this, don’t be surprised if she makes her way to Melbourne. Abbey Road is the best bet of the two days.

Good luck and stay tuned.




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The biggest mystery of 1978

Originally posted on A Turf Fascination:

Hello everyone

On September 2 1978 the future champion and Hall of Famer Dulcify had his first ever start. It was in a maiden at Morphettville in Adelaide. Twenty horse were engaged, and Dulcify had barrier 20 of 20. The track was heavy and the horses were racing for $2100. Here is the only available bit of form guide in relations to this race…

CaptureLet’s have a look at the data…

– Dulcify was one of four horses in the field having it’s first start.

– Dulcify was 1.5kg above the minimum and had 5.5kg off the top weight.

– The best performed horse in the field was number 9. Silver Plaque who had 53kg. He was jumping from barrier 10 and had had three starts for three placings.

But here is the mystery. Dulcify jumped in this race at 300-1. Yes 300-1. How many horses have you ever seen…

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We drink here now, and it smells of death

Hello everyone


Has anybody else noticed the decline in the Aussie pub culture of late? Now we are not talking about the ‘still out at 7am wearing a white singlet while wearing a glowing headband, and dancing like an idiot despite not having had a beer’ culture (all this after lining up for two hours to get in and having to pay $10 entry fee). We are talking about the good old Aussie pub culture. You finish work, you pop ‘down the pub’ meet new people, spend $20, half stumble home then repeat the process 300 – 350 times per year.

The price of beer at the pub is killing us. How far would $20 get you these-days at the pub? 6 pots, a counter meal and a $5 greyhound bet now would cost $54 when it only seems like yesterday you could do this for $20. A pot in a Victorian country pub has gone from $2.10 in 1999 to somewhere around about $5 in 2014. At any rate the price of beer has doubled over the bar. Has your wage doubled? Of course it bloody hasn’t. This problem can be fix easily… anytime the price of a pot goes up, the average Australian wage should go up by the same percentage. Simple!

The scene in pubs is nothing short of depressing at the minute. Only a few old fellas in there, no new blood, no new conversation, absolutely zero chance to meet a wife and all the while they are charging more not less. This is economics 101. If you have no customers you sell no beer. People are only turned away by the price and by the atmosphere. It can all be fixed in one minute and the pub trade will flourish again. Dropping pot prices by $1.50 to $3.50 will get more customers in and spice up any slow dying local. It has to be better to sell some beer at $3.50 as compared to no beer at $4.80? There is nothing better than taking up an afternoon position at ones local, but sadly it looks to be a thing of the past. All the up and comers are taking drugs at home or the drinkers are buying slabs (which are almost as bloody expensive!) and staying home and listening to I pods rather than pumping out ‘Children of the Revolution’ on the jukebox at the local. And another thing… why the hell does pool cost $3? How can this be good business? Granted that most fights in the history of Australia have started around a pool table, but if pool was free, people might buy beer. Why not have a free pool table in the hope of getting a few more people in. No no no, they would rather try and slug ya $3 a game. No wonder none of the kids can play pool anymore! Australian youth should be forced to experience a double late in a game to try and save their undies. Come on someone… fix this!


Best – Aussies Love Sport (Randwick race 2 number 6) $10. This entire completed one of the best track gallops of the year at Randwick this week. If he holds this form he will run really well at good odds.

Second best – Earthquake (Randwick race 4 number 1) $2.80. We are not giving up on this filly. She could barely go forward last start on a wet track and she still ran third. On Saturday she will get a dry track, and she will be back to her best. Close to a moral.

Third best – Terravista (Randwick race 8 number 3) $2.30. This boy should be simply too good, although this is a pretty good field. He can win on wet, dry, rail in, rail out anywhere. Looks a very good chance.

Consistent as can be – Trust in a Gust (Caulfield race 9 number the 5) $3.50. Never runs a bad race and there are not many stars in this race.

A thin Group One race – The Underwood Stakes (Caulfield race 7). There are only two chance in this races for mine. They are 1. Happy Trails and 10. Silent Achiever. They are the only two with consistent WFA form at Group One level. Back both each way.

Can turn it around – La Amistad (Randwick race 5 number 8) $5.00. A terrible ride and wet track cost this mare last start. She can bounce back at each way odds.

Class – Samaready (Caulfield race 8 number 1) $5.00. If this mare runs her best she will win. Simple as that. But if she does not, there are any number of fillies and mares that can pop up including Shamal Wind, Politeness and Forever Loved.

One in Brisbane – Trakstar (Doomben race 3 number 4) $4.60. Never runs a bad race so snap up the each way odds.

The forever promising gelding – Aregee McLaren (Morphetville race 7 number 10) $16. His best is good enough to factor here but it has been a while since he has found form.

Good luck and stay tuned.




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