Saturday’s Golden Slipper looks a “put in-take out” for Vancouver. The 2/1 on offer seems very generous. I think he is an odds-on chance. My “free handicap” (of Slipper likelies) (with weight-for-age adjustments) has:
Headwater 125 or less
English 113 (+4 as a filly)
Lake Geneva 108 (+4 as a filly)
Ready For Victory 113
Speak Fondly 110 (+4 as a filly)
Ottoman 109 (+4 as a filly)
Reemah 108 (+4 as a filly)
Perignon 106 (+4 as a filly)
Italy 105 (+4 as a filly)
Always Alison 107 (+4 as a filly)
But, as I said in these pages previously, with early two-year-old racing times are the be all and end all. These are my time ratings (without wfa adjustments):
English 77 (+4 as a filly)
Lake Geneva 78 (+4 as a filly)
Ready For Victory 81
Speak Fondly 83 (+4 as a filly)
Ottoman 74 (+4 as a filly)
Reemah 81 (+4 as a filly)
Perignon 106 (+4 as a filly)
Italy 77 (+4 as a filly)
Always Alison 74 (+4 as a filly)
On my time ratings, Vancouver has 4½ lengths (6.5kg) on his rivals and is entitled to be odds-on. In the past 10 years, only Sepoy (in the Blue Diamond) has figures (111), going into a Slipper, to match Vancouver. Whatever the barrier draw is, it won’t worry him. Just back Vancouver!
MOREIRA THE WORLD BEATER
Without doubt, Joao “Magic” Moreira is the world’s best jockey. Probably ever. The Brazil-born Moreira, who previously towered over Singapore and before that Brazil, dominates Hong Kong (currently with 88 wins, in front of Zac Purton’s 57). The former colony is the honey pot that attracts the world’s best riders. They all ride there. I say, by definition, the best jockey in Hong Kong is the best rider on the planet. Moreira showed us some of his magic on Saturday at Flemington. He had four rides ($13, $41, $5.5 and $8 chances) for two wins, including the group 1 Newmarket. Moreira is recognised as a superb judge of pace. But when I watch him, he distinguishes himself from other top riders in two ways. First, he looks aero-dynamically perfect in the saddle, offering the air as little of himself as he can. Second, he keeps himself constantly equidistant from the turf as the horse strides. A horse in full flight, as it extends, drops up to about 30cm at the wither. When the horse brings its legs under its body, the rear legs can take traction, the wither rises back those 30cm. Moreira absorbs these rises and falls perfectly with his legs, making the weight less for the runner to carry, the antithesis of dead-weight. We all look forward to seeing the magic here in Sydney over the carnival. Plenty of trainers have been trying to get him to commit to their runners.
There has been a vast amount of discussion in the betting ring of the merit of the two Guineas winners nine days ago. Opinions are very divided. What a great promotion for racing it would be to settle the question: a match race between the Sydney champion and Randwick Guineas winner Hallowed Crown and Melbourne’s Australian Guineas winner Wandjina. Just the two horses, like days of old. I am sure, if run at Randwick, Hallowed Crown would be betting favourite but I do believe Wandjina would be too good for the Sydneysider. It would be a fantastic event and a great betting race. Administrators are preoccupied with field size. But the few matches I have bet on have always been terrific betting heats and bought huge crowds to the track. Some became folklore. Better Loosen Up v Let’s Elope, Big Philou v Rain Lover and Syntax against El Kobar are regularly reminisced upon by racing people.
CALL A GREAT TRADITION
As a teenage schoolboy, I used to rush after school on the Monday before the Melbourne Cup to the City Tatts Club’s Call of the Card. I’d cloak my boater but kept my tie on. It was huge with more than 100 bookmakers, most were SPs, underground operators, and the bookies always bet to losing figures. My old mate, veteran fielder Jock Rorrison and I (under Jock’s name) were the ¼ odds-place bookmaker, a niche where the figures were healthier. We’d field the place part when the bookmaker only wanted the win portion. It was fantastic. Next Friday at 3.30pm on level 3 of the Randwick grandstand will be the 2015 Golden Slipper Call. It is free and open to the public. The prices rarely get 100 per cent. It will be great value for punters. Be there.
Delighted that the 4Tracks4Kids walk went well. Thank you for the support. My group raised about $7000 and the organisers made $274,000. We went from William Hill Park to Caulfield to Flemington then finished at Moonee Valley, a bit more than 40 kilometres (but half was downhill). Because I was fielding at the Valley, my group had no choice but to make all and we established a record time. Great fun.