Saturday was a great day for horse racing.
Winx was at her very best.
However, it was a tough day to be a bookmaker. GOOD – I can hear you loyal readers yell! But with a whimper, let me say: the horses that tightened won all day, giving no respite.
The small number of horses that shortened from their 9am opening prices won seven of the races. That made it an exceptionally hard day to win for the bookies, which I am sure is bringing out sympathetic thoughts from all the punters that are reading (sarcasm has always been hard to produce in written words!).
Gai’s 2yos in Melbourne
I was delighted for the good wife winning, for the 2nd consecutive year regarding race 1, the Inglis Banner.
Fascinatingly, the filly Espaaniyah inspired very spirited betting on Betfair, by definition, both for and against her. More than twice as much business on done on her as other runner.
Espaaniyah had trialled poorly in Sydney behind a horse that was soundly beaten on debut, showing no speed. Subsequently, she “jumped out” (another word for barrier trial except the results aren’t officially recorded) very well in Melbourne showing dramatic improvement and a lot of toe. I suspect those that opposed her on the weekend only had access to the Sydney trial form; while those who backed her had found the Melbourne jump out form – which is no easy feat.
Jump outs and trials are the same thing, except the results of barrier trials are published and widely available. Except for the replays on racing.com, jump out results are hard to find. If the results of the Melbourne jumps outs – the times, the sections, the results, and even the names of the other horses involved were published, I suspect Espaaniyah would have been exceptionally well backed. Racing Victoria do turnover, and thus prizemoney, a disservice by not publishing them.
One thing that struck me from Saturday was the continued seemingly re-emergence of John Sadler. Following winning the last race on Caulfield Cup day with the well backed Sircconi, Sadler, along with hoop Linda Meech combined again on Saturday with Shoko which plummeted from near-on 15/1 into $10 after briefly touching 8/1. Both these horses won very impressively, and Sadler certainly appears to have his “mojo” back.
The Cox Plate produced a media blitz the likes of which can only happen in Melbourne. For a week, almost every sport related article in the Herald Sun mentioned Winx. More so after the race.
The Club is very protective of the quality of the Cox Plate field, but the rejection of Trap For Fools’ nomination for the race, in my humble opinion, was the wrong decision. There is a lot to be said about full fields and after having won twice over the Cox Plate track and trip this preparation, I believe Trap For Fools would have led the field on Saturday, and set the pace for Winx making it a better race. This sentiment of mine was backed up in Moonee Valley Gold Cup before the Cox Plate, where Trap For Fools didn’t quite run the trip, but still finished a brave 2nd. He should have been allowed to start.
If there were a ‘fixation with watering tracks anonymous’ then I would be chairmen of the board, CEO, and secretary. But again, I was left without words when I heard that 5mm of irrigation was to be put on the Valley surface on the morning of the Cox Plate. I just wish God was in charge. Leave all track watering decisions to God!
Of course, I understand my using of a deity in an example of a curator (not the creator) may offend, but there is something to be said for allowing rain to make tracks soft / heavy, and sun to make them good / firm.
The track did play reasonably well, but I have no doubt the watering allowed the inside two lanes to be a shade quicker than the rest of the track. Sam Tankard – @Tankardsam (on the track staff) tweeted out the following…
He turned out to be spot on!