Written 18 March 2008.
Hello Racing Fans or, if you’re reading this in Alabama, Hello Racism Fans,
Welcome to a new venture in the wonderful world of my continued unemployment. In the spirit of my Years in Review and, more closely, my Oscars Previews, I humbly give to the world a preview to the 2008 Golden Slipper Day. I read on an advertisement placed at Wynyard train station that this is the Southern Hemisphere’s richest day of racing. For those new to racing, rich refers to the sum total winnings available over the day’s 10 races. This used to confuse me, as I thought it referred to the honesty and integrity that exists within the racing industry – now that is rich!
(CP: Although Patrick wrote that there would be 10 races, he only provided previews for 9. Records indicate that only nine were ever scheduled.)
The Golden Slipper is a very famous race that dates back to Australia’s colonial days. Back in those days, rum was our currency and, by the time Autumn set in, most of the brutish convicts were nine sheets to the wind by nine in the afternoon. Being used to prohibitive winters spent in the Irish bog or in coal fields up Newcastle-on-Tyne, the transported would need to stock up on provisions (that is, more rum) to see them through Sydney’s depressing and snow-filled winter days (median temperature 12 degrees). Being too drunk themselves, the task commonly fell to the oldest issue of the condemned to collect the alcohol-cum-legal tender. Now, there was a serious infant mortality problem back in those glorious days, and the oldest child was generally somewhere between the second trimester and two years. And so it was that these two years would make the trek out from Botany to Rosehill (approximately 1,200 metres) to collect the rum. This happened peacefully for some time until a very kind and charitable voluntary transportee, Caroline Chisholm, decided to give her only slipper (which, curiously, was made of gold) to the first child that made it to Rosehill. Well, upon hearing of this, many philanthropic Ye Olde Sydney landowners (no, not the Aborigines, this is after them) decided that, alternatively, they would each contribute a single gold slipper to the winning two-year-old as reward for their journey. When news of this disseminated to the drunken underclasses (the Irish, and some French Canadian terrorists. Yep, they were sent here too, it pays to have a degree in history. Metaphorically, of course, it doesn’t actually pay anything, in fact, I can’t even get a job.) two things happened. One, it became a race for that rum-cum-sum and, two, people started betting on it. This continued for some time until the horse was introduced to Australia by Alanis Morissette in 1996. And since that day, the best two-year-olds in the world have come together each Autumn to race over six furlongs to decide who will get the rum and who will get the Golden Slipper. It’s the world’s richest race for two-year-olds, it’s the richest race of the Autumn Carnival and it’s Australia greatest single day of horseracing.
And I won’t be watching it because I’m going to an engagement party.
Regardless, I present below a guide to each of the nine races that will be run.
Whist it is true that I don’t work and spend most of the day watching horseracing on TVN, I am not George W Bush and am therefore not all knowing and omnipotent. What appears below are my tips and I will be betting my money (which is actually yours since I’m on the dole) on them. I offer no guarantees of success. If you follow my tips, we will win and lose together, and while I take due care picking winners, I cannot be held responsible if you bet on a horse on my recommendation that runs lame and has to be shot. On the straight. With a 12 gauge. Under a hastily erected tarpaulin.
Race 1: The Schweppervescence 1200m
8 Light Red
4 Strong Choice
3 Al Be Nimble
Telegraph Consensus: 8 Light Red
Race 2: Daily Telegraph Sellwood Stakes 2000m
5 Nuclear Sky
9 My Lady’s Chamber
Telegraph Consensus: 1 Our Smoking Joe
Race 3: Myer Tulloch Stakes (G2) 2000m
7 Our Mosstique
4 Voice Commander
Telegraph Consensus: 5 Imvula
Race 4: Arrowfield Stud Stakes (G1) 2000m
The worst field of the five Group 1s on show, the scratching of Camarilla weakens it further. Bernicia is unbeaten in three and will start 7-4 favourite. Perhaps one to avoid to keep the money safe for the big ones, but you could say that about the previous three races too. My motto has always been that if the jockeys are on you should be too. People who rush into favourites on a wet track are destined to end up in the poor house. In that spirit, I’m looking further down the board odds at the Beadman steered Raise.
8 Prima Nova
Telegraph Consensus: 2 Bernicia
Race 5: The BMW (G1) 2400m
We’re warming up now with the first leg of the Quaddie and the first leg of the Daily Double (with 0% commission tomorrow on all totes). This races looms as a trial for half the Melbourne Cup field (the second half), but we have to find a winner. The combination of a wet track and a certain Ms G Waterhouse (nee Smith) will see Tuesday Joy odds on at the jump, but I think there’s some value in this and am ignoring TJ (and his daughter) and cheering on the mudlark Red Lord.
7 Red Lord
10 Tuesday Joy
Telegraph Consensus: 10 Tuesday Joy
Race 6: Cathay Pacific George Ryder (G1) 1500m
The best field of the day. Two of the best three horses going around anywhere in the world, Casino Prince and Weekend Hussler (the third is Forensics), are saddling up for this. Also in the mix are last start winners Acey Ducey (which is a slang term for bisexuality), Mentality and recent champion Racing To Win. Making up the numbers are the Erwin Rommels of the racing world, Desert War and Honor In War. This should be the race of the day and, even though it’s won 8 out of its 10 starts and it’s last three since returning, I’m sticking with the Prince to back-up it’s Chipping Norton Stakes win with the George Ryder.
4 Casino Prince
8 Weekend Hussler
1 Racing To Win
Telegraph Consensus: 1 Racing To Win
Race 7: AAMI Golden Slipper (G1) 1200m
The spirit of those two-year-old Micks and Paddies will embiggen all 16 runners in this race, which jumps at 3:35 and is the second leg of the Daily Double. There are a lot of great horses this year and a lot of great value considering the media’s fascination with Sebring. There are some good name going around this year as well, with Stripper and Hips Don’t Lie the likely favourites for punters watching this from Club X on London Circuit. One horse stands out in this field and, considering it’s been racing in Adelaide and the Gold Coast, there’s plenty of value. It stormed down the rail in the straight in the Magic Millions Classic and, when you say it with an Appartheid South African accent, there is no doubt that the spirit of Trevor Immelman will be smiling when the jockey statuettes are painted Green and Black square checks with black sleeves and Green and Black cap.
14 Augusta Proud
9 Hips Don’t Lie
1 All American
Telegraph Consensus: 8 Sebring
Race 8: Coolmore Classic (G1) 1500m
The fourth leg of the all G1 Quaddie, it’s probably worth taking the field as it’s very hard to find a winner in what would be an open race if it weren’t for 3-2 favourite Hot Danish. Now I like a hot Danish as much as the next red blooded Aussie male, but just as Nicklas Bendtner has been shooting blanks for Arsenal I except the same from this horse-faced 6-foot klutz. So if you’re like me and you’ve done your money on the Gunners without ammo, I’d steer well clear of this proven winner and get on the horse that only Mr Profumo can scandalise.
14 Like Me Wild
4 Gallant Tess
Telegraph Consensus: 1 Hot Danish
Race 9: Watpac Royal Parma Stakes 1400m
The old saver. Many an Irish husband has cancelled a family holiday after running lame in the last at Rosehill. This is a ridiculously open race, with the bookies favourite currently the third emergency Strong Choice at 16-5. There’s so much value in this race that picking a winner could well be the difference between dinner of eggs and a dinner of caviar. Partly because I like its name and partly because it loves the wet, I’ll be putting the last of my grandmother’s carers allowance on 17-1 Craig Newitt ride.
11 Fox Lake
3 Newton’s Rings
Telegraph Consensus: 9 Party Crasher
(CP: Patrick was spot-on with Race 1, but missed out the rest of the day. Sebring did win the Golden Slipper that rainy March afternoon.)