Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Doncaster Mile Preview!

Getting cocky after the last horse I said I'd nude up for if it somehow won, Zikmann, ran a distant last in the Golden Slipper, I'm offering a triple treat for our WHAB readership. There are three (3) horses below that, if they somehow win, I will nude up for (whilst trackside for the Doncaster!). It's a great field for one of the toughest mile races in the world, so let's get into it.

1. THESEO (2) $13

Captain: The Professor asked me if I could find a single reason to not bet on Theseo in this race at such attractive odds...I could not find one, or even make one up. This is a star racehorse, a contender for Horse Of The Year, and a horse that is bombproof. That's right, in the wake of a nuclear holocaust, we'll all be gone, but Theseo will still be there churning out laps of Royal Randwick.

Weather: Overcast, Track: Nuclear

So him dropping back from 2400m to 1600m, to me, only makes it tougher to beat him at the mile. Not too harshly weighted here either for mine. Get on people.

Professor: Super fit. Loves the mile. Loves the track. Has an undeniable quality that most of these lack. I love Theseo for this. And the best thing about backing Theseo is that it thrives in all track conditions. I have a $50 free bet, courtesy of Centrebet this weekend, and this guy gets it.

JB: You know when you get a free bet for $50 that has to be placed in a single bet, well this is my free bet horse. At $13 you can set yourself up for a solid win on the back of a free bet. If, however, you have already expired the free bets on the plethora of betting agencies ala Cap-i-tan then a bet on this horse from your own pocket still stacks up but will find it tough to monopolize your Doncaster cash.

2. ALAMOSA (18) $26

Captain: If this was a mile at Caulfield or Flemington on a dry track, I'd be very keen. Like Theseo, don't think he is too badly weighted in relation to every other horse in the field, except All Silent. I'm not sure how Alamosa's Toorak victory outweighs All Silent's Emirates victory by 2kg but we'll leave that to the handicapper to explain. He is a chance in this race, but some horses you'd just prefer to see in Melbourne. I'm going to have to leave him out.

Professor: At hard and fast group one level, I'd prefer this horse over 1500 metres. I think a mile (even though it's 8-5-1-1 over the mile!) is the very edge of its comfort zone and at this level I don't know if I want to be on it. Any give out of the ground just about ends this horses chances as well.

JB: Good horses like Alamosa deserve flattering pre-race commentary, but when it comes down to it I'm not betting on it and although worthy of a place in your multiples I will be leaving out of even those.

3. KING MUFHASA (10) $15

Captain: Has changed his name by Deed Poll, in NZ is known simply as Mufhasa. My take on his George Ryder run is that he left it all on the track. Connections think he'll improve on that. If they are right, he's right in this. They are also praying for the track to dry out as he holds numerous track records in NZ. Thet's just choice bro'. A bug chance un this.

Professor: I'll probably shop around for significantly more than $15 on the day, and if I get it, I will have a little crack at this one. I think it wants the surface no worse than dead though.

JB: King Mufhasa sounds like an afircan american tranie or chick-with-a-dick for those with a clasical education. Not sure how you all feel with those sort of encounters but for mind the discounted price is never worth it. Even at longer odds I will be letting this was one go through to the professor.

4. TRIPLE HONOUR (1) $17

Captain: Last year's winner but up in weights and not looking like he's in the same vein of form. One that is probably needing rain to win. Despite drawing well, I'm going to need more than the $17 on offer here. You're taking him on trust these days and I don't trust him.

Professor: Not for me. The connections seem to think that it is going better than last year, though this horse has looked like one of those who benefited from handicap conditions and a purple patch of form. A La Montagna type, never to win anything that big again.

JB: Long time between drinks. The quality of the horses here has grown, the Honour has not. Triple Honour isn't the name you will find on my betting slips.

5. ALL SILENT (16) $6

Captain: Favourite for the race and if not for the presence of Theseo and Musket, I'd be plonking on him. In fact, I'll still likely plonk on him, as well as Theseo and Musket. I get a little crazy when there's a big Group 1 on but for good reason. He ticks just about every box for a Doncaster Mile; weighted to win (and how!), is already a Group 1 winner, has a blistering finish, sits back anyway (taking the wide gate out of the equation), and is always in the finish. I can't remember him running a bad race...oh fuck it...now I've probably just jinxed him with the Captain's Curse and he'll run last! Nah, this fella always turns up and is the best weighted horse in the field. Only knock is that he's not as blistering on the heavy and slow. Dead or better, he's getting home with Musket trying to nail Theseo on the line.

Professor: He and Theseo have slipped under the handicappers radar for me. In a sane world, the two of them would be duking it out with 60 kgs and still be right in this. As it stands, with a less weight than Alamosa (As 80's video game legend QBert would say: #$^&#!) he is entitled to favouritism and yeah, I'm signing up.

JB: My money is on Theseo at the front and this guy hot on his heels. My money at this stage is split pretty evenly between these two and will wait to see what the track is like on the day (yes, thats right because I will be there bitches) and give my final support accordingly.


Captain: It's a shame really that he's had such a disjointed campaign with injury and races that just have not suited. Now he draws gate 19, which had the emotional rollercoaster that is Mark Kavanagh in agony at the barrier draw. He's having no luck at all, but I still wonder if he has come back the same horse this prep. I think he'll be back strong for the Spring. I just don't see him winning the Doncaster tomorrow.

Professor: As good a horse as he is, be wary of the three year old wunderkind backing up for another prep. Had a mixed preparation, but in saying that I think he has been a rung below his spring form. That being said, a rung below his spring form is still very good, so I hate to leave him out. The only real reason to do so for me is that a three year old horse is carrying the same amount of weight as All Silent.

JB: Great horse, bad campaign. When he does recapture some form - look out. I'm not betting that he will find his feet in the Doncaster.

7. HOT DANISH (7) $7

Captain: Apparently she's Sydney's favourite mare, but while I respect her, she just doesn't do it for me. Not sure what it is; maybe I just prefer strudel. Sometimes it's that simple. The thing to like about her here is that she always gets forward and should be able to make her own luck from the handy gate of 7. Whilst not writing her off, I don't think she can beat All Silent at a mile with only a 0.5 kg pull in the weights on a dead track or better. A wetter surface and she falls into the mudlark clutches of Neroli and Vision And Power. So by process of elimination, I won't be on her, though she'll be thereabouts at the finish.

Professor: Though a winner of 2 of 3 at the mile, I think that this mares best shot at a group one is over 1200 metres. Gets the mile, but will probably find one or two better. Given a likely slow track on Saturday, I'd back this in the T.J. Smith, but not in the Doncaster.

JB: A bloody good horse, had a great campaign last spring, hasn't quite dominated like last year but with plenty of class about her I'm not going to be agaff if she takes this one. Having said that you can't bet on everything and sometimes you just have to call it. My money won't find a home here but if these horses come together in the spring then I reserve my right to change my preference.

8. SIR SLICK (15) $151

Captain: Another Kiwi horse who has two different names, depending on which country he's in. Back home he is Sir Slick. In Oz, he is Sir Plod. You know what I'm going to do if Sir Plod gets up?!?

The Captain, following an unlikely victory...

Sir Slick for me is one that I am giving a small chance to. Enough of a chance for a $3 win/$5 place kind of ticket. Why? It's career line in NZ is more than a little impressive. But for its ill-fated Melbourne tilt of 2008, it would be worth some discussion. Maybe it travelled poorly, maybe it had a bug. Maybe like many-a-gay-english horse, it wasn't the same without its sodomy pony. Whatever. There's enough potential here to make me interested at $151.

JB: If some heavy rain comes in then I still won't have money on this guy.

9. SOLO FLYER (9) $15

Captain: After his first start as a 2.y.o in 2006, which he won, the Flyer developed amnesia and forgot how to win. Following years of revolutionary therapy from the AJ Cummings stable's resident horse whisperer, he finally remembered how to win again in March 2009. Now he can't stop winning. It's an old cliche, but I'll bust it out again; winning form is good form. He has risen through the grades nicely this campaign and is a good chance here.

Professor: It's hard to fault this guys form this preparation. Could be the most ill-equipped of this group when there is give in the ground, so I'm going to take the easy option and suggest that you wait for a guide from the market.

JB: One can easily get carried away in quality Grp 1 races and end up with a multitude of bets on any and every thing that takes one's fancy. Not to say the Flyer shouldn't catch your eye, but you can't be taken seriously when you have money on 5+ horses. Something has to give and the Flyer for me will be found wanting when all is said and done.

10. VISION AND POWER (12) $10

Captain: Has surprised everyone this campaign, not least his trainer. Always was an honest horse but now he's busting out G1's. You would think however, that he needs it rather wet to win a Doncaster. I can't have him at the $8-$10 that I'm seeing around the traps unless I'm told by the course manager, face to face, that without question, the track will be heavy. I don't know the course manager and I'm pretty sure if I rang him, he wouldn't talk to me for fear of being subject to WHAB's scrutiny. On that basis, I'm leaving him out of my calculations.

Professor: Can this horses purple patch of form continue? To me, it had its ideal surface in its last start, got a perfect rails ride and only beat Black Piranha by a neck. I'd look for the Piranha to be snapping (Pun!!) at its heels and turning the table on anything slow or better.

JB: I think this guy's form indicates either that he has been primed to perfection for this one or he has spent all his lollies. You won't hear me at the top of my voice declaring that this horse can't do it, but at the end of the day my money won't be riding with the vision or the power.

11. NEROLI (3) $9

Captain: I'll boldly say right now that if the track is heavy, she wins. She eats mud for breakfast. Her stable is made of mud. A stable spy tells me she even shits mud. Even without a heavy track, she is some chance on her ability. But if you get wind of a stormfront on Doncaster morning, even if it's 6am, go directly to the TAB. Do not pass Go but definitely collect $200, more if you have it. With any luck, you'll be the first punter there. Wait till the TAB opens, and be the first to plunge on her.

Professor: I'm pooping the Neroli party. If the track is heavy, the Professor thinks that you should look ⇓⇓⇓. They ran a comparable time in the Ryder and Coolmore and the track was even more chopped up in the Ryder. Neroli is a big chance in the heavy, but I'd play it safe.

JB: I wouldn't go as far as to call this gal a mudlark per se, but if the rain keeps coming then all bets are off and this gal is for me.

12. GALLANT TESS (13) $41

Captain: Unfortunately, being gallant doesn't guarantee you a Group 1 win. Think she probably had her shot at these big mile races 12-18 months ago and that the moment has passed her by.

Professor: Confidently putting a line here. Will beat home a lot of more fancied runners. Will likely find at least 4 better. That's the Gallant Tess way. Unexciting but a great little cash cow for her owners.

JB: Not sure if people would call you gallant or tess for putting your money on this. Play it safe, keep your money for something with a chance.

13. LARGO LAD (5) $11

Captain: This guy is the most massive horse I've seen. He is a monster. He hasn't always run accordingly however. That said, it would not shock me if he was the knockout in this. His last run was better than it looks on paper; though I do tend to find myself saying that a lot about this big bastard. I am going to leave him and accept the egg on my face if he knocks 'em out.

Professor: Hayes: Check. Boss: Check. Look, this horse is always whopping unders. Ask any of the clowns who jump on this thing in early markets for the Cox Plate, Caulfield Cup etc... In fact, if you play your cards right you can get $15 on this to win "So you think you can dance" at Sportingbet. Get on while the getting is good.

JB: Not for me, if you want a big horse, I don't know maybe your into that kinda thing?? Then Orca in Race 3 is more likely to make you a return.

14. PINNACLES (4) $34

Captain: Pinnacles can turn up with seemingly no form and win a nice race or run 3rd in a Doncaster, like he did last year. You should never take him lightly because his form is littered with bad gates and sloppy rides. An innocuous looking 8th for this horse in the form guide, is invariably a bad barrier, immediately followed by a sloppy ride; a double whammy which leaves him absolutely no chance. With a nice draw here and no weight on his back, I reckon he's worth a nibble at each way odds. Let's just hope Munce doesn't slop him up...

Professor: Has the ability to frustrate with its inconsistency like no other. I do like your chances of getting silly odds of $70 or so on the day. Once it ticks past that, you have my permission to get stupid.

JB: No one likes an inconsistent horse, ipso facto I won't be trackside screaming out for this guy. If you get nervous either put a hedge in for this guy or buy yourself a scotch and coke, I recommend the latter.

15. BLACK PIRANHA (11) $14

Captain: Looks like this one is on the up. His form is good and he keeps improving. Not sure if he has improved to the level of winning the Doncaster Mile but it's worth a shot. My issue with the Piranha is that he has only two runs leading into this. I would say that you need at least three. Especially when the mile might test you. And any trainer will tell you, this is the toughest mile race in the land. If he draws up to a horse like Theseo and looks the tiger in the eye, he'll see that it's going to take even more to beat him. I don't think he'll be fit enough or tough enough in the final furlong so it's a no for me.

Professor: If you like Neroli or Vision and Power at $10, you should love this one at $20. They ran a similar time on an even more chopped up surface in the Ryder. This carried 59 kgs in the Ryder, and boomed home. Regardless of conditions, I'm including this one with no weight as a real knockout.

JB: A horse that has fans, I'm not one of them and will not include in my straight up bets. Could find a place in the multiples for the Piranha but will see how much I have drunk by that stage.

16. RAGS TO RICHES (8) $67

Captain: Hehehehehehe! Makes me giggle that this old boy is having a crack at a Doncaster, especially when I'm used to him in more moderate Open Hcps in Brisbane. No form that makes me want to get a little crazy on him, although he won't have the likes of Pay Me, Nellie Got There and co. to contend with. Hehehehehehe! You know what I'm going to do if RTR gets up?!?

Professor: Yeah, on a genuine bog this thing could sneak into the first 4. That's as big a vote of confidence it'll get from me. And I'm its biggest defender.

JB: I'm not going to have any part of this, but will be interested to see the Professor and the Capitan fight for slopping rights.


Captain: I've talked her up before only to be let down, not with terrible runs, just with unprofitable runs. Class wise, I think that on her day she could possibly win a Group 1...in fillies & mares company. Just can't have her sober, but if the drink gets to my head, who knows what I'll be saying come 3.30 Saturday.

Professor: At this stage in her career, the Rose has been crying out for this trip. I was shocked to see that it had never run more than 1500 metres in her career. Interestingly enough, in her last two starts she has been ridden much more forward than usual. If you are backing her, with 51.5 kgs I think you would like her to be ridden cold and you just never know. She may just tickle 100-1 somewhere on the day and could run a really cheeky race. As it has matured, I think the rose has been crying out for 1600-2000 metres and I will have a little flutter.

JB: The Rose has quality in there somewhere, just not one to bring it out when it counts. I like this horse but this is not going to be her race.

18. MUSKET (14) $26

Captain: In a word...yes. This guy can win this. I get the feeling he's been building up to a race like the Doncaster since he started racing. His last run was the run of the day on the heavy in the Parma. He has no weight here. The mile looks perfect. Ready...aim...fire...he'll be shootin' home down the centre of the track...be on him at a crazy $26 when he does.

Professor: His run in the Parma was terrific. And on a side note, how wonderful is it that Randwick has a listed race to celebrate the godly combination of snitzel, cheese, ham and tomato. Don't get me started about the bastardised hawaiian parma that Melbournians crave:

Believe it or not, this is Parma...possibly bastardised.

They love Simon O'Donnell. Musket is absolutely dependent on a cracking tempo up front - which he is highly likely to see here. With the likes of Sir Slick and Theseo in this race, Musket with 51.5 is an obvious beneficiary. I've got him down as the best of the genuine swoopers and at $26, you have to be interested.

JB: At $26 he is a solid roughie that you should have at least something on. Not going to be the horse that I want to win but will hopefully pay for a few more rounds when the race has come and gone.

19. RHYNO CHASER (17) $67

Captain: Do connections realise that there is another 1600m Handicap on the card that he might actually have a chance in?! You know what I'm going to do if the Chaser gets up?!?

Professor: It's your money.

JB: Look, nobody wants to see Captain peewee so lets all just move on, and if all the other horses come down with anthrax and somehow the Chaser gets up then I'm happy to just say it didn't and spare my retinas.


Captain: Theseo and All Silent are the best horses in this field in my humble First-Four-In-The-Golden-Slipper opinion. All Silent will need some luck and is susceptible to bombs, so on that basis, I make the bombproof Theseo my top pick. Musket should be flying home with the light weight and this could well be his time. But can a Musket defend you against a bomb? Solo Flyer can't stop winning, but hasn't been tested under a mushroom cloud. So;

1. Theseo
2. All Silent
3. Musket
4. Solo Flyer

"Then came, Hot Danish, King Mufhasa, Neroli, followed by Pinnacles and Largo Lad, next was Vision And Power, Alamosa and Whobegotyou had no luck, behind them Triple Honour, Black Piranha, didn't see it out, Chinchilla Rose and Gallant Tess, and a line of three have knocked up at the back, Sir Plod, Rags To Riches and Rhyno Chaser." Should have been a race caller!

Unless of course it pours and the track is heavy...then it is all Neroli!

Professor: Unbelievably, I'm almost seeing eye to eye with my first four. That may be what happens when you've been shooting emails back and forth about this race for 2 months. Or, this could be a race that makes sense. Anyway for the likely surface of a 5-7 on the double (peno)trometre:

1. Theseo
2. All Silent
3. Musket
4. Black Piranha.

At large odds, I see no reason why a dollar each way on Sir Slick and Chinchilla Rose would hurt. If it's no worse than a dead four, include Solo Flyer and Mufhasa at the expense of Musket and Black Piranha. If it's a genuine bog; my first four is Theseo - Black Piranha - Neroli - Musket.

JB: No prizes for guessing my picks if you have read the above but staying pretty firm on:
  1. Theseo
  2. All Silent
  3. Musket
  4. Largo Lad
Ok so I get a bit undone locking in a fourth, for me Boss is always a good hedge to the bullshit he carries on with. Looks like a great card with plenty of races that will be worth every penny of the entry fee. Keep an eye out for your WHAB team, they'll be drunk (possibly nude at some stage!), they'll be in the DOSA, and they will be talking it up!

1 comment:

Professor Chaos said...

Nice... Am shocked we have the same top three. That has to be a WHAB first.