Australian punters are being duped into betting on “Saturday city races” that in reality aren’t Saturday city races.

Tomorrow at Doomben in Brisbane and Ballarat in Victoria are two examples of what I’m saying. At Doomben they have a nine-race card. It’s nine races simply to create product, hoping that mug punters will excitedly bet with TABs at the venue, but on closer inspection two of the nine races aren’t even worthy of being on the program. Races 3 and 4 are pathetic “0MW” (no metropolitan win) races filled with horses that are at best “bush horses for provincial meetings”. If you think that’s a bit harsh, well check out the topweight in Race 4 – Daph ‘N’ Alf. He’s a nice gelding – he’s won nine races and run 13 minor placings. We’d all love to own him. But in 39 starts he’s earned just $118,115 including QTIS bonuses. However he’s a provincial horse at best, as proven by the fact that he’s started 10 times in “Saturday city races” to this point in life – and he’s run just one placing, a second of 11 on 1/1/13. His unplaced runs in “Saturday city races” from the earliest to the most recent are 4 of 13, 16 of 16, 4 of 16, 11 of 17, 9 of 16, 5 of 15, 7 of 12, 9 of 12 and 15 of 15. The Chief Handicapper has given Daph ‘N’ Alf 1.5kgs more than any other runner, so he’s the “class runner” of the field. Surely that doesn’t say much for the rest?

So Racing Queensland is wasting prizemoney by putting non-Saturday races on as Saturday city races. They would have been better off allocating the $130,000 that is being provided cumulatively for those two 0MW races tomorrow at Doomben towards buying a couple of second-hand water trucks to irrigate some of these country tracks that Denis Schultz is talking about in articles earlier this week on this website.

Down at Ballarat tomorrow, things are even more nonsensical than they are at Doomben. At least at Doomben all the races carry “correct Saturday city prizemoney”. Down at Ballarat they have got what I’d call “big fields of crap” in some races, to give the distinct impression they have a 10-race Saturday city card. Yet nothing could be further from the truth, as Races 1, 3 and 10 are $50,000 total prizemoney races. The Roma Cup in “poverty-pack Queensland” is even worth more than that tomorrow ($55,000) so why are mug punters being enticed to bet on “provincial” or “mid-week” races on a Saturday race card? “Simply to stimulate TAB betting turnover” – would be the only possible answer.

It’s all so silly it defies belief.

Racing Queensland Chief Handicapper Lester Grimmett has advised the website that the scaled weights for Doomben tomorrow are: Race 3 + 1kg, Race 4 + 1kg, Race 7 + 3.5kgs, Race 8 – 2kgs and Race 9 + 1kg.

Brisbane Racing Club Track Manager Jim Roberts has advised the website late today that the Doomben track is currently a “dead 5”. Jim added “we got 85mm of rain on Wednesday night in a hit-and-run storm, but it ran off pretty quickly. Nevertheless it did a good job and filled all our dams. The track has responded well since the rain and we’ve had a hot and windy day today and if we don’t get any further rain, at some point tomorrow, which I wouldn’t like to predict right now, I’m confident the track will get back to a dead 4. The track has a lovely coverage of grass”.

The apprentice jockey weights for Doomben tomorrow should be:



Cassandra Schmidt

54 claims 3kgs

Geoffrey Goold

54 claims 2kgs

Luke Tarrant

50 claims 1.5kgs

Beau Appo

49 claims 3kgs

Rikki Jamieson

50 claims 3kgs

Travis Wolfgram

54 claims 2kgs

Priscilla Schmidt

51 claims 2kgs

James Orman

52 claims 3kgs

Bridget Grylls

49 claims 3kgs

Sam Payne

53.5 claims 3kgs


Today on www.brisbaneracing.com.au I preview the Roma Cup. On www.sydneyracing.com.au there’s a couple of harness stories, whilst on www.melbourneracing.com.au Matt Nicholls looks at Perth.

The Postman has kindly sent in his thoughts for tomorrow and they read:

As the focus well & truly shifts to Perth with the Winterbottom & the Railway Stakes this Saturday, the Ballarat Cup is the showpiece event for the club’s stand alone meeting in Victoria tomorrow. I’m confident the Robert Smerdon trained Spinderbella can take out this year’s renewal. This mare has come back very well since an injury enforced layoff last year, with four excellent runs this time in. After closing well first up over the mile @ Mornington, she then came to town & won well over 1800m, beating a handy field in the process. Next start over 2000m @ Cranbourne, Spinderbella was posted three wide for the first 800m, before eventually working up outside the leader. After briefly taking the lead in the straight, she was quickly collared by firstly Quayside, then late by No Excuses Bec, to go under less than a length. She really did fight back well when headed, but the early work took its toll. Last start Spinderbella was much more patiently ridden & sat last over 2040m @ Moonee Valley. Bossy let it all unfold in front of him & revved her up from the 600m. Spinderbella circled the field & went on for a fairly soft win on the line. It was a very good performance.

Tomorrow’s Ballarat Cup shapes as a perfect target for Spinderbella in my opinion and I think she’s certainly got enough upside to be very competitive. Firstly, she finds herself down on the minimum of 54kg, secondly she’s drawn perfectly and thirdly she has the services of young gun Chad Schofield. She’s undefeated @ Ballarat in two starts, including winning @ this distance last year, albeit in lower grade. Spinderbella should be able to position midfield in running & get a fairly cosy run in transit. If she can manoeuvre past some tired horses coming into the straight, I expect her to find a margin on them & go on for victory.

The balance of the field looks more like a hurdler’s flat for mine, with some very tired & costly conveyances amongst them. I concede Tuscan Fire has a chance, but he hasn’t won for 15 months & has to lump 60kg. It’s just very difficult to mount a case for the rest, as they mix their form too much and/or their better days are long behind them.

Spinderbella opened $5.50 with Luxbet, which is overs for mine. I have her priced around the 3-1 or $4 mark.

Ballarat 8-14 Spinderbella

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