Hello everyone

Sorry about the delay. Before we get into the big day at Rosehill, here are a few from around the the rest of the big island that most of us live on.


7.4. Show A Star

8.3. Under the Louvre – 5th best of the day


1.1. Alcobro

3.8. The Grey Flash

6.6. The Messina Nymph – 4th best of the day


2.1. Perplexity

6.3. Aimee – She will win this week


1.5. Mjolnir

6.1. Najoom – Best of the day


It is a great day of racing at Rosehill on Saturday so why not have a crack at the entire card. Here we go.

Race 1.

Winner – 10. Street Rapper. This colt won over a very similar distance to this recently although that race was in lesser grade. He will have taken great benefit from said win and the fact that he was strong at the end of the 1350m will see him being hard to get past here at the 1400m

Hardest to beat – 6. Italy. Good form around the likes of Speak Fondy and she seems honest and is always hard to get past.

Best longshot – 8. Lighthouse Keeper. The Hawkes camp are very buoyant about this runner. He seems over the odds after a good run on debut.

Race 2.

Winner – 8. Medcaut. Although he is looking for further, there is no doubt this runner will be fit and will fly first up. He has a good first up record and this is hardly an All-Aged Stakes. Class will take him a long way.

Hardest to beat – 7. Frespanol. After a good last preparation, this gelding is ready to fire fresh. He is two from four first up and will be hard to beat.

Best longshot – 9. All Cerise. His mare has won second up in the past. She will enjoy the 1400m and will be strong to the line.

Race 3.

Winner – 6. Excess Knowledge. At Kembla Grange this entire was brilliant over a very unsuitable distance. His last 400m was breathtaking and the way he took the ground off some good horses late will see him again being very hard to hold out.

Hardest to beat – 2. Leebaz. This boy almost won this race last year but was just pulled in late by Weary. He likes running second up and he no doubt will be very hard to beat.

Best longshot – 5. Malice. This horse is a winner. He will be looking for much further but he is a winner first up and he won’t give up without a fight.

Race 4.

Winner – 1. Catkins. She seems the logical choice. She never runs a bad race and really, she usually wins. She is in career best form and she is a special for mine. Maybe the Doncaster next week also should she win this in style. 2nd best of the day.

Hardest to beat – 10. Amanpour. This mare has a stunning second up record. She is at huge odds, but she appears all set for a good run. Madam Gangster will in turn be hard to beat also, but this mare looks the value.

Best longshot – 4. Peggy Jean. Should have won last start in Melbourne and back to her home track, at 20-1 she will be sitting midfield and should she get a run she will be hard to hold out.

Race 5.

Winner – 6. Sidestep. Has trialled beautifully and is a former top liner. It looks as if he didn’t come up last time, but he did finish just 4 lengths from the guns in the Darley Classic before not enjoying the trip to Perth. He has since comeback and trialled well and he looks the best value runner on the card for mine.

Hardest to beat – 11. Ryker. Make no mistake… this gelding is very good. Gai would have wanted him in the Doncaster, but unless he wins this race, he is zero chance to get a run in the great race. He will win eventually so keep backing him on the each way basis. This time last year, he had some good form around Cosmic Endeavour.

Best longshot – 3. Rain Affair. Why not hey! You never know. He might get an easy lead, kick away and show some of his old class. He gave Atlantic Jewel a fright over this trip once before.

Race 6.

Winner – 1. First Seal. Another special. She was three wide the trip last start trying to win a race with a weight that not even More Joyous was forced to carry back in her glory days. She was a risk and she only got rolled by three inches. She is a special this week. 3rd best of the day.

Hardest to beat – 2. Set Square. Oaks winner and she might even win the Sydney Oaks also, but First Seal will be too sharp for her over 2000m.

Best longshot – 8. Adrift. A Zabeel filly that will eat the 2000m. If there are any queries on the others at the trip, then this is the filly that will be storming home.

Race 7.

Winner – 1. Protectionist. Remember this horse? He did not get warm in his first two runs, but they were over 1800m and 2000m. He is not Fiorente. He could not get close to Fiorente over 2000m but he would probably beat the now stallion over 2400m or 3200m. He is $10, he will love the trip and if he wins, we will have to take evens for the Sydney Cup.

Hardest to beat – 8. Hartnell. The Japanese horse is a risk simply because they can’t all win. He might just smash all the Aussies, but on form we have seen, Hartnell is a great chance. He will be flying home and as long as the Japanese horse (To The World) is not a champion, which he may be, then it is hard to see Hartnell not running in the top two.

Best longshot – 9. Silent Achiever. She is ticking along nicely and now we can finally get a price. She is clearly worth a bet at close to $15. She won this race last year and remember last spring? We all though she was going terribly, but then she almost won the Cox Plate. She is not going that bad.

Race 8.

Winner – 8. Caped Crusader. At just his second start this time in, this gelding smashed a decent field over 1800m. He can cruise in front and can kick hard around the turn off a hot speed. He is only going to get better and better and should he win this, he certainly can give the kiwis a fright in the Derby. He is the best each way bet of the day.

Hardest to beat – 1. Merion. The stable have been waiting to get this horse to the 2000m for a while now. He has shown he can’t beat Wandjina and so on, but these staying types might be more his go. He will be strong at the end.

Best longshot – 10. Happy Soul. Two nice wins in the bush in a row, Craig Williams and $41. Good enough for a small each way play.

Race 9.

Winner – 5. Pornichet. This former Frenchman was great last start despite still not being 100% fit. He is ready to peak now over the 2000m and just wait, he might be something very special should he put it all together. These are the best conditions he has ever had in a race (since arriving in Australia).

Hardest to beat – 13. Dear Demi. Class class class. She is back to the 2000m and she is always hard to beat.

Best longshot – 2. Hawkspur. After a return to form last start, this boy might just be back. His best is very good and he will find a good spot and be hard to get past at the end of the 2000m.

Good luck and stay tuned.


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Hello everyone

Let’s relive the Golden Slipper where A Turf Fascination’s best bet of the year and the best longshot as tipped on Friday ran a nice little quinella!

It is no fluke that Gai wins this race most years.

In light of Vancouver’s dominant win in the just raced 2015 Golden Slipper, it is perhaps important to investigate just how Gai goes about winning these two-year-old races year after year. The humble author of this article is a semi insider to the process and as such, I do have a little knowledge about how Gai goes about getting the best yearlings. Gai Waterhouse is the most successful trainer of two-year-olds in modern history, and this success comes from a well recited recipe that the Lady Trainer has been performing year in and year out for the better part of two decades. Here is the story of exactly what happens from the moment Gai sees a yearling to the moment the connections are all hugging and high fiving after said horse wins its maiden wherever that might be.

Most foals are born in Australia sometime between August and October. There are a few exceptions, but most future champions hit the ground in very late winter, the spring or the very early summer. This has been the case in the southern hemisphere since Carbine hit the ground in New Zealand in the late 19th century. For the next ten months after a foal is born, very little happens in regards to Gai. Yes Gai will be aware of some of the better bred foals that are currently growing and maturing, but until a foal gets close to becoming a yearling, Gai has very little to do with them. Come September the following year, the foals are now almost yearlings; yes they officially become a yearling on August 1, but by September a great majority are starting to take shape. This is when Gai starts her search. From September until December, Gai will travel the length of Australia inspecting yearlings. What does inspecting yearlings involve you may ask? Well nothing really, apart from looking at the physical build-up of the yearling, the way it walks and the ways it reacts to people. At this stage, a yearling is paraded in front of Gai; Gai takes notice of the way the horse walks while being led, the way its muscles work together while it walks and most importantly, the balance the horses processes. To get to the next step, a horse, during these parades, has to be comfortable around humans, such as the stud employee who is leading it. But more than anything else, to qualify and arouse the attention of Gai Waterhouse, a yearling needs to be well balanced. At this point in proceedings, Gai has very little idea of the pedigree of each yearling and she has no idea whether or not the horse is fast or not. The yearlings only walk in front of Gai during these inspections, they don’t gallop. Every stud that Gai visits are more than happy to parade out their pride and joy for the Lady Trainer.

So what happens now? Hundreds of yearlings from all over Australia must all look very similar? Also these days in Australian, almost every yearling is technically ‘well bred.’ So how does Gai, year after year, find what turn out to be the best two-year-olds? The inspections are done, and we now arrive at the sales. It is sale season from January right up until Easter. At each sale a further inspection takes place, and it is here where Gai makes her decision. Gai looks for the yearlings that have ‘exploded’ since she last saw them. Now to define ‘exploded’ we would have to ask Gai or Bart Cummings or the late T.J. Smith. Champion trainers have an expert eye that can judge better than anyone else, the quality of a young horse before having even seen it gallop. Gai is one of the best in the history of racing at this. In the pre-sale inspections at the sales complex, Gai will walk around and find the lots that really took her eye during her original inspections back at the stud farms some two, three or four months earlier. If a horse has ‘exploded’ or to the laymen ‘come on, grown, matured and improved’ enough to satisfy the Lady Trainer, then Gai will make a play for this horses. From here at the sales it is simple commerce. Supply and demand. If a horse has really impressed Gai, it is most likely that it has really impressed someone else also. From here it is a matter of who wants the horse more and who is prepared to pay the most based on their assessment of a particular horse. While Gai is the most successful trainer in terms of two-year-old results, and at some sales, she is by far the most prolific buyer, Gai by no means gets every horses she wants. If Gai rates a horses as a good type, and she would like to train it and feels it is worth $250,000, then she certainly won’t bid $400,000 just for the sake of having it. The sales ring is a balancing act. Gai has to balance her judgement with the market. If the market is weak, then Gai can dominant; if it is strong then it is a battle.

The sales have finished and the winter has come and gone. On August 1, all the purchases from that year turn two, and Gai is now working out which new two-year-olds will be ready to race early. It is most definitely not a simple procedure. Gai often quotes that a two-year-old is either precocious or they are not. They are either early runners or they are not. Gai quickly works out which new horses are ready to start a two-year-old campaign and which ones need more time in the paddock to grow and mature. Come the middle of September, the two-year-olds that are precocious are getting ready to trial. They have competed in multiple jumpouts and have been participating in serious gallops for weeks. By the end of September it is time for the official two-year-old trials. Gai has a big team each and every year at these trials and usually dominants the trials. By now, a year after first seeing the horses, and two years after they first hit the ground, Gai can officially decide which ones are ready to run in the Breeders’ Plate for colts and geldings and the Gimcrack for fillies.

The Breeders’ and the Gimcrack are run at the start of October on Epsom day and Gai has won both these races many times over the last ten years. At the same time, there are two-year-olds sent to Melbourne to run in the race on Cox Plate day for the youngsters. Other two-year-olds run on Derby Day and on Stakes day. These are the earliest feature two-year-old races in Australia (the Breeders’ and the Gimcrack included). From November, it is all systems go towards the Magic Millions races for two-year-olds all over the country. Ballarat, Wyong and the Gold Coast are the three Magic Millions meetings that Gai generally targets. We must remember that at this stage, that while these races for the two-year-olds are being run and won, Gai is inspecting the next generation at the same time!

We now arrive at January and the Gold Coast Magic Millions meeting. This meeting is a year after Gai has purchased a particular horse, 15 months after seeing the horse for the first time and around two years and three months after the horse was born. The Magic Millions race for two-year-olds is worth simply too much money to ignore, so plenty of the famous Gai Waterhouse energy is focused towards this race. From here we move into February. The horses that were ready for the Breeders’ back in October are most likely having a little spell, and the ones that were not ready are starting to step up their work. Sometimes two-year-olds won’t be ready at all during their juvenile season; others will be right to race from October all the way to the Slipper in April. Others will come in and go out and come back in. It is different for every horse, and Gai is the master at programming horses as individuals.

We now arrive at the grand final, the Golden Slipper and the two-year-old Triple Crown held during the Sydney autumn carnival. The horses that Gai has won these races with have generally been up and running by the Breeders’ back in October and had still been going by the Magic Millions in January. To get a young horse to again peak in April is no mean feat, but Gai seems to be able to do it year after year. The Slipper and the Sydney autumn is the pinnacle. It is where all the hard work pays off, but it does not just come up unannounced every year. Gai builds her horses up to this carnival. From the trials in September, to the Breeders’ in October, to the Magic Millions in January, to the Slipper lead-ups in March to the Slipper itself in April. It is a build-up, and Gai has made a career out of perfecting this build up. But it all starts in the days after a horse turns one. Gai is at the birthday party, and while she does enjoy the cakes and treats provided by the various stud farms Australia wide, the Lady trainer is primarily there to see what horses can balance without assistance and what ones enjoy human contact. As far as horses winking at her, and nodding towards her and so forth, well you will have to ask Gai about that! But one lady can’t fluke it year after the year. One lady can’t be that lucky and pick the right yearlings at every sale. There is a process and Gai, despite having the process down-pat, won’t be resting on her laurels.

Gai Waterhouse is by far the most successful trainer of two-year-old in the 21st century. This success comes from the hard work and dedication that is detailed in the above paragraphs. There is not a week of the year, when Gai is not thinking about two-year-old success and her strategies over the years have clearly paid off for thousands of owners world-wide.

Good luck and stay tuned.

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It is a Cosmic Endeavour to get to Vancouver

Hello everyone

Saturday at Rosehill, Golden Slipper day, is one of the best days on the Australian racing calendar if not the world’s racing calendar. There are five Group One races and all five are very intriguing races. We have Hong Kong horses, Japanese horses, Kiwis, Victorians as well as all the locals. Here are some thoughts on all five of the Group One races.

Race 4. The Ranvet

There are seven horses in this race and perhaps six have strong winning chances. We can’t support them all, so the first thing to do it pot a couple and the unlucky two are the two mares Silent Achiever and Lucia Valentina. They have had their chances to beat Contributer this time in and although they will get better over 2000m so will he. So in a business where we have to rule out some really good horses, the two mares get the chop from this race. Fast Dragon looks perhaps slightly outclassed so he is another that we can (with limited confidence) put the pen through. He’s Your Man did win an Epsom, but he had his chance to beat Happy Trails in a Mackinnon and missed out over this trip. Happy Trails last week got beaten by a potential jumper in Extra Zero in the 2000m Australian Cup. All in all He’s Your Man does not look good enough. That leaves the star Contributer, the Hong Kong stayer Dominant and the Japanese wildcard Tosen Stardom. This is where I am thinking for this race.

Winner – 1. Contributer. He has taken all before him since arriving in Australia and he is only going to be better over 2000m. First up in Australia (over 2000m in the spring) he ran past Nobel Protector and that mare won like Sunline last week just to reiterate the form lines. He can sit near the front, he will explode in the straight and it will take a very good horse to run past him.

Hardest to beat – 5. Tosen Stardom. Tommy Berry is riding the favourite in the Slipper, but he seems more excited about this horse. The Japanese are proven in Australia and this boy looks a genuine star in the making. He might be the one to run past Contributer.

Best long shot – 2. Dominant. This boy will be grinding home. He looks a Sydney Cup horse, but he has form around some world beaters in Hong Kong and if for some reason the pace is hectic up the front, he will run all day and will be powering home. Only this horse and the kiwi Fast Dragon are at double figure odds in the race.

Race 5. The Rosehill Guineas

First things first. Hallowed Crown can be risked. There were doubts about him running a mile let along a strong 2000m and this will be a strongly run 2000m. Sweynesse almost won a Cox Plate at 2000m, Hampton Court is a Group One winner at 2000m and the two kiwis Mongolian Khan and Volkstok’n’barrell will ensure it is a truly run race. With the pen through the favourite we now have to decipher whether or not these 2400m kiwi horses can beat Sweynesse and if they can, which one will? One more thing to add is that the $26 about Hampton Court seems way over the odds. This colt ran past First Seal and Sweynesse over 2000m last spring and his trainer has been telling anyone who will listen that he has not been set to peak until this race and the Derby.

Winner – 4. Sweynesse. This colt has almost won both his runs this time in, and he, unlike Hallowed Crown has always looked as if the 2000m will be his go. He is never going to run a bad race, and with just even luck he looks as if he will be in the finish and be very hard to hold out.

Hardest to beat – 3. Mongolian Khan. Apart from having a brilliant name, this colt might just be champion. His trainer Murray Baker knows what it takes to win these three-year-old races in Sydney and most importantly, this colt is a winner. He never has excuses and he has won his last six in a row. He may just win this race, and then win the Derby. He looks a special colt.

Best long shot – 5. Hampton Court. What more can you ask for in a 25-1 chance than him to already be a Group One winner over one of the horses he faces on Saturday over the trip he will tackle? This colt will lead, he will bowl and he just might sneak a break and be very hard to beat. $26 is way over his true odds of winning.

Race 6. The Galaxy

This is the hardest Group One of the year to date to pick a winner. My thinking is centred around Deep Field, Rubick, Chloe in Paris and Sweet Idea. Hopefully Deep Field finds the lead and the other three find spots just behind and can get close to running him down late in the race. We will leave Chloe in Paris out at the minute as is not even guaranteed a run. But if she does run, make sure you include her as she is in terrific form and will flourish at the 1100m.

Winner – 9. Rubick. He should have won last start and because he didn’t we can get close to $7 about him. The 1100m is the perfect distance for him and from barrier four he can sit one out and one back and sprint strongly late. The barrier is the key to this colt’s chances.

Hardest to beat – 5. Deep Field. It can’t be all smoke and mirrors in regards to this colt. The outside barrier is perfect and he will jump, will lead and he might shoot off around the corner and be hard to get past. He has proven he can run the time, and as he needs a Group One win to confirm his stud career, he really needs to win this race. He is not going to find any of the other Group One races this year any easier. It is also important to note that the Hawkes Team rarely back up their horses. Deep Field is backing up so he must have performed very well during the week.

Best long shot – 4. Sweet Idea. It is no secret that this mare is on a Stradbroke path, but she is simply too good to leave out and she is at double figure odds. She has trialled well, she is ever so honest and it is unlikely she will be too far from the action at the end as she has always been a very consistent mare.

Race 7. The Golden Slipper.

Forget the barriers. There looks only two winning chances here and it is unlikely they will both get terrible / unlucky runs. I am very confident that either Vancouver or Exosphere will win. Vancouver will most likely go forward and if Tommy Berry can’t find any cover he may well just sit out three wide and still be too good. If any horse can run past him, which looks unlikely is only can be Exosphere. So the betting strategy is to back both and hope things go to plan.

Winner – 1. Vancouver. He is the best horse in the race by a mile and might be the best horse in Australia. He has proven he can win from anywhere and if the barrier does faze Gai, then it should not faze anyone else. He looks a special for mine.

Hardest to beat – Exosphere. Forget all the times and data and all the lengths we go to as to find a winner. This colt looks the only horse with enough talent in the race to give the favourite a scare. Vancouver will have a break in the straight and it is just a matter of whether this colt can bridge the gap. He might be good enough and he might not, but these two look to have a big break over the field in regards to talent.

Best long shot – 8. English. She is a winner and her improvement graph is continuing to go up. Surely she can’t beat her stablemate Vancouver on what we have seen, but Gai does have a habit of winning this race and also training a placegetter or even the trifecta. English looks the best of the female brigade.

Race 8. The George Ryder

Gai to go the double. Cosmic Endeavour will get an easy lead, will kick and it will take a smart miler to run her down under the WFA scale. The fact that she looks as if she will get an easy led is the key to my confidence. There are a stack of chances including the two Japanese horses and the two three-year-olds. I am prepared to risk the Japanese as they looks as if they will benefit from the run and be better next start. The two three-year-olds can be risked because they are coming back in distance and if they could not beat their own age group in their Guineas races last start, they will find it hard to beat all these good solid WFA horses.

Winner – 11. Cosmic Endeavour. She will be off and gone while many of the others are still balancing up. Rosehill can favour a leader at times and locked to the rail and flying is where this mare will be at the 300m. She might simply be too slick.

Hardest to beat – 2. Criterion. Brilliant first up and the 1500m of this race suit him perfectly for where he is in his preparation. He looks to get a gun run from an inside barrier and he will be flying home as he did in the Canterbury Stakes behind Cosmic Endeavour.

Best long shot – 9. Burbero. Has run first or second in his last five starts. He is fit, will be flying home and is 50-1.


6.3. Atlantis Dream

7.5. Akavoroun

8.1. Chivalry

Good luck and stay tuned


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The 1929 Rosehill Guineas

Originally posted on A Turf Fascination:

Hello everyone.

The Rosehill Guineas and the AJC Derby use to be run in the spring as a lead up to the VRC Derby and the Melbourne Cup. The Rosehill Guineas has been won in the past by the a lot of the greatest champions the Australian turf has ever seen including…

1925 Amounis

1937 Ajax

1951 Hydrogen

1957 Tulloch

1960 Wenona Girl

When it switched to autumn

1979 Dulcify

1980 Kingston Town

1983 Strawberry Road

1992 Naturalism

1996 Octagonal (who beat Saintly)

and in 2008 somehow Dealer Principal won the time honoured classic. Is Dealer Principal the worst horse to ever win a group one classic? Since winning the Rosehill Guineas in 2008, Dealer Principal has had 30 more starts for one win. This win over 1300m on a Wednesday is the only time this gelding has even run in the placings. Three starts ago he ran 10 of 10 at Ararat!

Anyway, today is about…

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Where is Scotland?

Hello everyone

This morning, like I do every day, I spoke on the phone with Gai Waterhouse. I asked the Lady Trainer what was the story about her being born in Scotland? After all it says on wikipedia that Gai was born in Scotland and raised in Sydney…


It turns out that someone asked her a question one day in an interview and she miss heard. Confusion reigned and Gai was from that day forth, listed on wikipedia as being born in Scotland. She was born in Australia! This is not a Nicole Kidman (Hawaii), Russell Crowe (Wellington, New Zealand) situation. Gai was born and bred in Australia, so can someone please change the wiki thing?

Right, now that that is sorted out, lets get on with the business of the day. It is Golden Slipper week and we can get $3 about Vancouver as we speak. Just hold off until acceptances, but as soon as the final field comes out, back him. He should be $1.70 for the Slipper. His starting prices so far in his career have all been around $5. This reminds me of the starting prices for Pierro in his first three starts. Pierro also started at $6.50 in the Slipper. It was like picking money up off the ground. Now I am not saying the colt will definitely win the Slipper, I am just saying that every cent you can get over $1.70 is value with a capital V because he is by far the best horse in the race.

This is what Furnaces did to a good field first up…

This is what Headwater did to a really good field first up…

And this is what Vancouver did to Headwater and Furnaces last start…

Wait until acceptances, then back him as he will still be overs. In fact, hope he draws barrier 16 0f 16, then back him again because he will probably go out!

He looks mighty hard to beat.

Good luck and stay tuned.


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Form is form

Hello everyone

Running late this week but be assured, the form is done…


Firstly here is a run down of the three Group One races for the weekend…

Coolmore Classic – Race 7 Rosehill

This race has short priced favourite, but it certainly is not a one act affair. First Seal will be the tip based on the strength of her win in the Surround Stakes, but she has a weight that only champion fillies win this race with. She might just be a champion filly, but she will have to emulate the likes of Bounding Away and Assertive Lass to win the race with 55.5kg. The best modern day comparison More Joyous, bypassed this race as a filly, but as a mare, she was only asked to carry 57kg which she won with. The other three in the field that provide some interest, especially considering the track looks as if it might be damp are 2. Diamond Drille, 5. Arabian Gold and 12. Adrift. Diamond Drille is a Group One winner on a wet track, Arabian Gold is a swimmer and a classy swimmer at that, and Adrift is still on the up and beat First Seal first up. However First Seal is unbeaten on a soft surface, and the way she beat the fillies last start shows that she is flying, but against Group One mares, she is under the odds, but can’t be tipped against.

Winner – 4. First Seal. It is hard to tip against a $1.70 favourite in a race for the girls. These races are usually won by the favourite and the best filly or mare. But the weight is a worry. But she will be there at the end, and there is a good chance, she might just be better than her opposition. There is also a chance she might even get to even money considering the strength of the field.

Hardest to beat – 2. Diamond Drille. This mare is going really well, and she has been crying out for a damp track and a step up in distance. Whatever she does on Saturday she will improve on in the Doncaster or the Queen of the Turf, but she is all set to run well over the 1500m on Saturday.

Best longshot – 12. Adrift. Make no mistake… this filly is very good. She will most likely be the favourite come Oaks day and she already has a win over First Seal this time in. The 1500m will allow her to settle and she will be flying home and can give the favourite a shake a big odds.

Newmarket Handicap – Race 6 Flemington

Ok, so everyone in Australia will tell you it is a three horse race and if you ask 30 tipsters you will get ten votes for Lankan Rupee, ten for Terravista and ten for Chautauqua. However with the benefit of history, we might be able to trim it back to just one chance. But this is done with trepidation, because history is made to be broken. No horse has won this race first up since before Franz Ferdinand was shot sparking the Great War (WWII). Does that mean Terravista can’t win? No it does not, but as a historian, I have to take notice of this. Now Lankan Rupee. He won the race last year, and is way up in the weights for this year’s edition. No horse has won this race twice in a row since before The Beatles lobbed in Australia. Lankan Ruppe is a gun and he is flying but he has to give weight to the grey gelding and Terravista and there is a chance they might be just better than him. None of this historic precedent is gospel but with three potential champions all having a very even chance we have to find some dirt on two of them!

Winner – 3. Chautauqua. We are left with the grey gelding. He should have won the Darely in the spring, but was unlucky and it is hard to see him being unlucky again. He has no history against him and he at least has finished in front of Lankan Rupee this track and trip in the past. He also gets weight relief off last year’s winner. He is backable at $3 and there seems very little chance that he won’t make his presence felt at some stage.

Hardest to beat – 2. Terravista. As mentioned, this is a bit of a lottery. Terravista has beaten these two before and he is the horse with the most upside. However year after year, the first up contenders are fancied in this race and year after year they run poorly. But please, if you like him, $6 is a huge price and he is the best sprinter in the world for a reason. If Black Caviar tackled this race two years ago first up against the 955m Moonee Valley horses, would you pot her just because of the first up historic precedent? As mentioned, this race is a three horse lottery and Terravista is it in up to his ears.

Best longshot – 6. Driefontein. Forget her last start over the 1400m, she is a 1200m horse. She gave Deep Filed a run for his money up the straight during the spring and more so she only has 52kg. This is the lightest weight she has carried since autumn 2013. $51 is way over the odds for a Group One winner.

Australian Cup – Flemington Race 7.

If the Newmarket is a mystery, then this race is an episode of Twin Peaks! Generally we have a gun horse that is around the $2.50 and that horse usually wins the Australian Cup. This year we have milers, stayers and only very few 2000m WFA horses. One of which is of course Happy Trails. He is the favourite and he is definitely the hardest to beat. But he can be hard to catch. It is important to note that last year, he beat Fiorente in the Cox Plate, then Fiorente came back to win the            Australian Cup. He also is a Mackinnon winner this track and trip, so his credentials are impeccable. However he is pretty short, and there is a stack of value to be found especially in regards to some good horses. The other three that interest me are 7. The Cleaner, 8. Puccini and 16. Greatwood. We know what The Cleaner will be doing and he certainly has a bit of Vo Rouge about him (Vo Rouge won this race twice). Puccini is the one that really sticks out. For decades these kiwi horses have snuck over and won good races in Melbourne when there was no definitive champion in the race. After a terrible run last start, there is a slight chance this entire was simply sick of NZ. He was a good Group One winner before that and the big track at Flemington will suit him perfectly. The other one is Greatwood and that is only because all Gai’s Melbourne horses are flying and the Lady Trainer has an exceptionally high opinion of this horse.

Winner – 8. Puccini. Yep, he is a semi out of form Kiwi but he is close enough to 30-1 and he has the talent to win for sure. He may well run last, but his best is not to short of his main rivals’ best so he is worth an each way bet.

Hardest to beat – 3. Happy Trails. He is a Group One winner this track and trip. He bobs up every preparation and if he was trained by Gai or O’Shea he would be half his current odds. Enough said.

Best longshot – 16. Greatwood. Gai would not mix this gelding’s preparation up for the sake of it. She knows what it takes to win this race and she has a habit of winning races in back to back years.

And the rest…


3.8. Jameka

4.5. Suavito

5.4. Wawail


1.4. Silverball

3.4. Raphael’s Cat – Best of the day

6.7. Hartnell – Second best

Good luck and stay tuned

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The top six Golden Slipper wins of all-time

Hello everyone

Please enjoy the top six countdown of the greatest winners of the richest race for two-year-olds in the world. The Golden Slipper.

6th – Todman 1957. Todman is regarded by many as the greatest two-year-old of all-time and he may well have been. He had six starts as a two-year-old for five wins and a 2nd. His average winning margin as a two-year-old was five lengths. He probably deserves a place higher in the countdown, but he is placed at six because of a manoeuver by the trainer of Tulloch, T.J. Smith, in April 1957. T.J. pulled Tulloch out of the 1957 Golden Slipper when he was considered the equal of Todman. T.J. felt Tulloch would be better suited in the 7 furlong (1400m) Sires’ Produce STakes rather than the 6 furlong (1200m) inaugural Golden Slipper. Todman won the Slipper almost unopposed by eight lengths, but T.J.’s foresight was spot on as Tulloch beat Todman two weeks later in the Sires’. Had Todman have beaten Tulloch in the Slipper, he would be placed much higher in the countdown.

5th – Belle Du Jour 2000. This filly gets mention in the top five simply because of the freaky nature of the win. Yes she did beat Gai’s great horse Assertive Lad, but this win will be remembered because the filly hopelessly bungled the start. She missed the start by many lengths and almost fell. As we all know from watching tens of thousands of race over the years, a mistake at the start, especially in a 6 furlong race (1200m), generally rules out a horse’s chances of victory. Belle Du Jour somehow picked herself up, caught up to the field, and in the last 200m sprouted wings to record a stunning win.

4th – Pierro 2012. The great colt won the Slipper by half a length after being tucked away in 6th place for the majority of the race. This victory was great because Pierro won purely on class and behind him were Snitzerland and Samaready, two fillies that went on to win open class Group One sprint races. Both these fillies were much better suited than Pierro over 1200m, yet the champion colt put them away very easily. Also behind Pierro in the finishing order were future open class Group One sprint winners Driefontein and Epaulette. It was a fantastic field full of future sprint stars, and Pierro beat them all.

3rd – Luskin Star 1977. The Newcastle flying machine had nine starts as a two-year-old for eight wins and a 2nd. His average winning margin as a two-year-old was five lengths. This included his 7 length romp in the Golden Slipper. Everyone should do themselves a favour and have a look at this win on youtube. Luskin Star is cruising in about 4th or 5th place for the majority of the race, then upon straightening, the colt unleashes a turn of foot that may only have been matched in Australian racing history by Bernborough and Black Caviar. Luskin Star’s winning time of 1.10.00 was the fastest time recorded for the Golden Slipper in the pre-metric era.


2nd – Dance Hero 2004. In a list dominated by big colts, this little gelding, son of a Slipper winner himself (Danzero) managed to dominant two-year-old racing in Sydney in 2004 despite the presence of some much spruiked and highly talented opponents. Behind Dance Hero in the 2004 Golden Slipper finished future stallion and future Group One winner and multiple Stakes winner Charge Forward. In third was the $1.70 favourite for the race, the brilliant Alinghi who had already went won the Blue Diamond and went on to win multiple open Group One races over sprint trips. Alinghi remains, in Damien Oliver’s option, the best two-year-old he has ever ridden. 4th in this memorable edition of the Slipper behind Dance Hero was Fastnet Rock, the future super stallion and winner of multiple open Group One events over the sprint trips. This was a great field, and Dance Hero beat them in tremendous fashion.

1st – Vain 1969. It has to be Vain! The super colt, who appears on both sides of Black Caviar’s family tree, had seven starts as a two-year-old for six wins and a second. His average winning margin as a two-year-old was 5.5 lengths. Vain went on as a three-year-old and won three races during Melbourne Cup week 1969 by an average winning margin of almost seven lengths, but I digress. Vain was not even favourite in the 1969 Golden Slipper. This seems like madness considering the colt’s form going into the race. That is until you see who was favourite. That honour went to a filly named Special Girl. This filly’s parents were Todman and Wenona Girl, two of perhaps the best ten horses to have ever run in Australia. She deserved favouritism, but those who were at Rosehill this day, still talk about seeing Vain in the mounting yard. The colt was huge, he was angry and he looked as if he could not be stopped. This turned out to be the case as Vain, ridden by his best mate Pat Hyland, cantered up to Special Girl, and went past her untouched to win as easily as you will ever see by four lengths.

Good luck and stay tuned.

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