The Brisbane Racing Club has sadly yet again dropped the ball just when they needed to pick it up and run fast and strong with it towards the try line. The former CEO of the club, Stephen Ferguson, left some months ago but no one at the Brisbane Racing Club has changed the contact details for owners and trainers wishing to nominate their champion/s for the upcoming Carnival. I took this photograph off the Racing Queensland website on Tuesday of this week, but it's not Racing Queensland's fault, as they would only put up what they were given. It's such a shame that there can be so many people at the Brisbane Racing Club that aren't on top of such major errors. And it's a real shame that all on the committee are so desperately busy that they can't get a spare moment any day, even over the Easter break, to discover such major flaws from their staff.
Well the question on the tips of the lips of all interstate and overseas trainers is “What sort of horse do I need to bring to Queensland to be able to plunder some of your Winter Carnival riches and earn black type?”
That’s a question that I’d be about the best versed ambassador domiciled in Queensland to answer, so here we go.
It’s simply a fact of life that the easiest way to find oil is to “drill for oil where oil has already been found previously”, so the best way to approach this particular racing question above – so it’s not ancient history – is to merely look back at last Saturday’s wonderful Eagle Farm meeting that was. After all, the meeting oozed black type races. I know the second day of The Championships at Randwick was an all black type day, which featured four Group 1’s on a dodgy track, but the Eagle Farm meeting was the first – just a sort of a tease if you like – meeting of the Brisbane Winter Carnival. That’s all a bit Irish, given we are still in Autumn but to be fair, it is Queensland where we struggle to understand such wondrous concepts as “daylight saving” or where we name tracks “Eagle Farm” even though no one has ever farmed eagles there. And how did Doomben get its name? Why was Ben doomed? And who was Ben?
So in order to win one of the three black type races on the big day out at Eagle Farm, let’s reflect on exactly what sort of horse you needed - as an owner or trainer - to star on the day.
The first black type race was the Members’ Quality. “Members” is an ambiguous sort of word - but anyway we’ll run with it. So who stood up proudly in the Members’ Quality? Yep, you guessed it - the former heavyweight Victorian jockey G. A Ryan, now better known as Sydney based trainer Gerald Ryan, trained Angel of Mercy. And on closer inspection of her CV what a treasure she surely is. She charged home from the back of the field at the 400 at Eagle Farm last Saturday, looking like Super Impose, Kiwi and Bernborough all rolled into one. Wow, what a horse? What an effort? But wait there’s more. Hold your horses. The problem is that if you go back into her form she’d won just one race in the previous 13 starts and that was at Northam in the Northam Cup. And the Northam Cup win was her first in 17 months. So you can see by that statistic that she’s good and right up to Brisbane class – it’s just a matter of “how good” is she?
To make this article more mentally stimulating for both website visitors, that leads me to the first quiz question for today. The answers are at the end of this article. So the first question is. “Is this joint Northam in a) England, b) France, c) Northern Territory, d) Western Australia, e) Kazakhstan, d) Uzbekistan, or e) none of the aforesaid?”
Back to the score at the Test and the second black type race at Eagle Farm was the 3YO race over 1600 metres and it was won by Best Yet To Come. Did you see her “attack the line”? Fair dinkum – as if a horse would know that that mirror and the big lump of wood that the big mirror is squashed into, is the finish line. Think about that for a moment if you would? You get born as a thoroughbred foal. Every humanoid that you come into contact with looks after you to the nth degree for the first formative years of your life, then suddenly “the boss bloke or sheila” takes you to the races, puts some 50-kilo bundle of joy in a silly little saddle that’s about the size of a front row forwards palm of his hand, then this 50-kilo bundle of joy proceeds to belt the bejesus out of you as if he or she has something against you, as you run up the home straight. The said thoroughbred must walk off the track when he or she is finished being bashed by this 50-kilo person and think “WTF” (in horsey language). Then if you happened to finish first - you have some sicko swab attendant following you around, whilst the handler whistles quietly to you, to entice you to have a pee into a saucepan. How undignified and embarrassing. What’s wrong with a quiet expulsion of that waste water behind the stables – far from the madding crowd? As an analogy we humanoids have a door, for privacy purposes, on the front of a toilet when we wish to do the same thing. In fact many humans have a problem with even calling it a toilet and call it “the bathroom”. How the hell can it be “the bathroom” when you can’t have a bath in it? No wonder we’re all half potty - we don’t even call things what they are.
Anyway I digress - and this horse Best Yet To Come was in essence eligible for a Class 1 at any of Kakadu, Dingo or that Northam joint. She’d never raced in the clockwise direction before Eagle Farm, but that didn’t matter as she came to Brisbane and beat the others that lined up against her.
That leads me to the next question in today’s quiz, which is this. “The race that Best Yet To Come won was called the Princess Stakes. Is it called the Princess Stakes because it’s named after a) the late Princess Diana who presented the trophy for that race when she was in Orstralia once, b) Princess Kate because she was in Orstralia and more particularly in Brisbane on another free junket, the exact day the 2014 race was to be run, c) Princess Mary, the poor bugger, who is eking out an existence in Denmark, with Prince Freddy, d) the race is named after the late Bruce McLachlan trained Princess Reichen, as she won the inaugural running of the race when the concept was first thought up by some Einstein who was on the committee of the Brisbane Racing Club at the time, or e) I haven’t got a clue and I don’t care.”
The third of the black type Eagle Farm pearlers from last Saturday was won by Excellantes. What a horse he is. He’s been around in everything bar the Ferris Wheel at the Sydney Easter Show, so much so that before he stepped out last Saturday onto the hallowed turf at Eagle Farm, that’s thankfully not too far off getting ripped up, he’d won just one of his previous 17 starts. His only win in the last 22 months prior to last Saturday was when he won at Doomben on 1/2/14. But to be fair, he did whoop some of Queensland’s top sprinters last Saturday – horses of the ilk of his former stablemate Gundy Son (one win in the last 34 months), Gold Coast flying machine Celtic Dancer (hasn’t won anywhere for 22 months) and the Brissy based champ - Easy Running (one win in the last 24 months was in a photo) - just to name three.
That all leads me to the third quiz question for today - which is this one. “Jockey D for Damian Browne rode Excellantes to win last Saturday and Damian Browne also rode him when he won at this previous start on 1/2/14. What jockey rode Excellantes 22 months ago when he won previously?” Was it a) James McDonald, b) Chad Schofield, c) Tiny Tim, d) Ryan Wiggins, e) James Winks, d) J for Hugh Bowman, e) Jimbo Byrne, f) Glen Colless, or g) R for Shane Dye?
Here’s the fourth question in today’s quiz. “Which of the following statements is true? A) Both Angel of Mercy and Excellantes have bled in the past and been stood down for three months. The next time they bleed, they are barred for life, b) When Angel of Mercy won the Northam Cup, amazingly the sponsor was Fourex, a Queensland based company, c) Excellantes is by Falvelon, so somewhat understandably he was consigned to the 2009 Magic Millions sales by the stud that stands Falvelon – Glenlogan Park, d) Best Yet To Come maybe should be unbeaten in his four-start career thus far, as the two times she’s been beaten in her life she finished a close second to the still unbeaten River Delta.”
So as you can see for yourself judging by both Angel of Mercy and Excellantes, the key to winning black type races in Brisbane in the Winter Carnival is to have won only one race in a very long time before the anticipated victory, as they’d both won just the one race in the previous 23 months and 22 months respectively prior to last Saturday.
So if you own or train a horse that’s won just one race – anywhere – in the last 22 months or 23 months, or whatever, we want the horse in Brisbane to become possibly a star. Look at other past champions of the Brisbane Winter Carnival with similar records – like the aptly named Sniper’s Bullet and fellow champion galloper Black Piranha which just couldn’t for the life of him win any other race except Queensland signature annual race - the Stradbroke. So after last Saturday’s results all I can say is “the Brisbane Winter Carnival of 2014 is looking right on cue”.
And furthermore, the moral that can be learnt in the aforesaid is that if you have a 2YO or 3YO that is eligible for a Class 1 at any of Kakadu, Dingo, Moree, Lark Hill, Northam, or Uzbekistan, we want that horse in Brisbane as soon as possible please - as he or she is probably Saturday city class right here in Brisbane for sure and certain.
The answer to the four quiz questions above are Question 1: d) as Northam is in “Western Australia”, Question 2: e) “I haven’t got a clue and I don’t care” how the Princess Stakes got its name, Question 3: a) “James McDonald” rode Excellantes when he won at Doomben on 26/5/12 and Question 4: b) “Fourex” do indeed sponsor the Northam Cup. As an adjunct to that final question, interestingly Excellantes has bled once before and been banned for 3 months effective 8/6/13, but Angel of Mercy has never bled before. Also from the final question, it’s true that Best Yet To Come prior to last Saturday had been beaten twice into second place by the still unbeaten River Delta, but the question stated “close second” and that’s not right, as when River Delta won at Yarra Valley on 16/3/14, Best Yet To Come did run second, but she was four lengths astern of River Delta.
Today on www.brisbaneracing.com.au there’s the story on why horses are born a certain colour. It’s one of the most common articles from the past that website visitors email me to find. It’s fascinating stuff and was penned by the father of a current South-East Queensland apprentice jockey. On www.sydneyracing.com.au there’s the story on how two stallions with their first runner as a broodmare sire scored black type success, whilst on www.melbourneracing.com.au there’s the story on Craig Williams fleeing Australia to Japan.