Shock horror last Saturday when a long odds-on favourite got rolled in Race 1 at one of the two eastern seaboard capital city races that raced on the day.

“Champion trainer” Gai Waterhouse produced the seemingly talented Ecuador in the opener at Rosehill. The High Chaparral gelding was going for three wins in a row following a four-length demolition job at Canterbury on 4/9/13 and a comprehensive three-length thrashing of a Benchmark 75 field on 14/9/13 at Rosehill.

On course last Saturday Ecuador officially opened up at $1.30 and eased to $1.40. No doubt the bookmaking arm of the Waterhouse family – via husband Robbie and son Tom – adore seeing Ecuador in a field, as he’s surely been a wonderful horse to them? He was only having his eighth start last Saturday but prior to getting rolled that day at $1.40 he’d also been beaten at even money at Canterbury on 21/8/13, found one better at Gosford at $1.35 at a previous start and that was after he’d been beaten at $1.50 at Hawkesbury at his second career start. As at today there’s no question the horse is best described as “a bookies benefit”.

Interestingly in that race the winner Multilateral staged a four-length form turnaround on Ecuador on when they met previously 14 days earlier. Admittedly Multilateral met Ecuador 3kgs better off at the weights last Saturday, but since when does 3kgs equate to four lengths? Seems to me like the old “double whammy” trick of being 1) up in class and 2) up in weight claimed Ecuador. And in any event, I have no idea why anyone would back a short priced Gai Waterhouse runner.

Talking about weights – as I often write here – they are the most misunderstood part of thoroughbred racing. A kilo or two here or there matters little when you are talking about a 500-kilo animal. Take Rosehill Race 7 last Saturday. Centennial Park finished half-a-length behind Your Honour in the Theo Marks at Rosehill on a good 3 track over 1400 metres on 14/9/13. They met again last Saturday at 1) the same track and 2) on the same good 3 surface, but there was one huge difference and that was that Centennial Park jumped a massive 5kgs from 54kgs to 59kgs, whilst Your Honour stayed unchanged on 53kgs. Now given that Clif Cary concluded that 5kgs was equal to 3.66 lengths (based on his “three pounds to a length” rule), wherever they finished last Saturday Centennial Park was absolutely no hope of beating Your Honour in, unless Your Honour fell over, or had contracted Equine Influenza on the morning of the race, etcetera. Granted Your Honour got trapped wide during the race, but that didn’t matter to any major degree, as there was no speed on in the race whilst he was trapped wide, yet on the line Centennial Park beat Your Honour in by nearly two lengths. As much as 30/1 was bet about Centennial Park by on-course bookmakers in the half hour before the race, whilst Your Honour’s top fluctuation on course in the same timeframe was $3.40. Prior to the race and given knowledge of that 5kgs weight difference, no one in their right mind could have possibly backed Centennial Park. So the lesson out of all that is when you hear any of these “experts” telling you that “A now should beat B because he meets her 2kgs better “– and all this allied nonsense that they love prattling on about, is simply in one word – “crap”. Just turn the radio and/or television off racing stations, as they truly have no idea when “they” mutter such rubbish.

I’ve been advising punters for ages that “information overload” is what stuffs punters and fries their brain, leading them to lose most days, even though they are getting all this modern-day information and have never had more information available to them. To that end, I often get emails asking how important is knowledge of the individual 200-metre sectionals in a thoroughbred race? The answer is you only have to concentrate on the last 600-metre individual sectional that each runner in a field runs, as that’s the one individual sectional that it’s imperative to have knowledge about. I hear all this nonsense about “(so and so) ran the fastest last 200 at the meeting”. Who gives a toss? What’s that relevant to? Some horse in any field will have to run the fastest last 200, fastest last 400, fastest last 600, fastest last 800, fastest last 1000 and so on. Who cares what the horse’s name is unless it will make you back more winners? With that silly information about what horse ran the fastest 200-metre split between the 1000 and the 800, 800 to the 600, etcetera, it’s quite possible that you might have to remember the names of five individual horses, as it’s possible that a different horse “owned” each of the splits. It’s simply what I would call “utterly ridiculous information overkill”. The people that preach this rot would be forever telling punters to back a horse like Telesto. Wow, couldn’t he rattle off a sectional that stallion? He’d miss the kick then take a half an hour to get mobile and fly home with a big red flashing light saying “get on me next start”. He even once had the audacity to break the track record for 1000 metres in the last 1000 metres of a 1600-metre race he contested. Sadly the only problem on the day he was retired to stand at stud was that he’d started 42 times and guess how many races he’d won? If you can believe it – just three. So the horse retired with a pathetic win strike rate of just 6.97%, yet he’d have run the fastest last 1000, 800, 600, 400 and 200 in many of his starts. That horse alone showed what an exercise in futility such rot is.

I work on only the last 600-metre individual sectional and I’ve written educational articles on the topic in years gone by. I was the first person in this country – and by many years – to issue Sectional Times reports to clients and I must be able to read them reasonably accurately, as so it’s not ancient history, here’s my preview of the last Group 1 race run in the country – the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes from Caulfield last Sunday. Group 1 races only get previewed for Saturday Morning Mail clients nowadays and I don’t need any knowledge whatsoever of anything other than last 600-metre splits and watching a video replay to come up with this subsequently proven accurate report on the Group 1 feature. Anyone taking notice of last 200, 400, 600, 800 or 1000-metre individual sectionals of Rebel Dane’s shocker up the Flemington straight wouldn’t have been with the horse last Sunday, yet from that entire Flemington meeting on 7/9/13, I gave my Melbourne Sectional Times clients just one horse to follow and his name was Rebel Dane. If I could improve on this report for clients from stressing out over what horse ran the fastest last 1000, 800, 600, 400 and 200, without being arrogant, I’d be bordering on “a genius” – which I’m clearly not. In racing as in anything else in life, it’s astute to use the “KISS” theory of “keep it simple stupid”. There are so many variables in thoroughbred racing that sectional times are simply one small part of the overall equation, but a knowledge of what horses can sprint home from the 600 far outweighs worrying about some pretender like Telesto that will constantly look like Bernborough charging home – and yet very rarely win a race.

This was what my Saturday Morning Mail clients got advised on the Sir Rupert Clarke:




Last start Stradbroke winner in Brisbane but has only won one of seven first up and as he’s resuming from six weeks off here I couldn’t have him.


Hasn’t won a race anywhere for the last 23 months but I didn’t mind his run resuming behind Foreteller on 7/9/13 at his first run for 44 weeks as his action looked good which is always the worry after so long off. Throw him in all exotics here, as 1) he’s not a bad horse when he’s right, 2) he adores dead going as he’s won or run second at five of six starts on dead – and 3) he races well at Caulfield.


Has only won one race in the last 50 weeks and generally manages to find one better – like he did again last start when resuming at Rosehill on 14/9/13 – so place chance best. (THIRD)


A grossly disappointing gelding that’s won just two races in the last 15 months and they were both in Perth, so no.


Ran second to Atlantic Jewel in the Memsie Stakes 29 days ago and he’s won four of seven overall, so he should have an each way chance. His CV says he prefers dead rather than slow going, which is totally understandable, given he’s out of a Marscay mare.


Two runs back from 19 weeks off have been shockers, so no.


Hasn’t won a race anywhere for the last 17 months and hasn’t won beyond 1200 metres, so whilst he’s finished first or second at seven of eight slow track starts I can’t have him on top.


A worldbeater sprinter that’s won five of nine (next comment withheld, as it’s considered confidential to clients). If the right version of him turns up – he can win. (FIRST)


Won resuming at $20 when favourably mentioned here on 7/9/13 and he’s won second up before and puts his best foot forward on dead or slow going, which he’ll get here. Should be hard to beat. (FOURTH)


A talented gelding whose best form to date has been on good and dead going. He’s always a must include in exotics as he can pull a run out of left field when least expected like his fifth beaten 1.5 lengths at 150/1 at WFA in the Group 1 George Ryder at Rosehill to Pierro five starts back. (SECOND)


Two runs back from 15 weeks off have been terrific but the wide alley here is his problem, so I’m looking elsewhere.


Widely drawn and I don’t know where he gets in from the alley, so I’ll pass.


A talented mare on a given day but she doesn’t have a given day very often, however she’s another that is always a must include in exotics as she can pull a rabbit out of the hat run when least expected.


Totally outclassed and better suited in a mares race.


Would be better off racing against her own gender.


Had his chance last start in the Shoreham race from Flemington on 7/9/13, so not for me.


Put in a Herculian effort last start when backed from 40/1 into 20/1 and being beaten only 1.75 lengths in the Shoreham race of 7/9/13, however he stays at 1400, which I don’t like – and he hasn’t won anywhere for the last 26 months.


Hasn’t missed a place in his last seven starts. Was weak to the line when resuming from 14 weeks off here on 31/8/13 but he’s fitter now and he should run a race in this event.


In the big league now and I fancy she’s better suited racing against her own gender.

Additional comments: A wonderful open Group 1 race. I’d back Rebel Dane each way.


As per the above photo, on a best of three totes basis, the First 4 paid $7,215 – the Trifecta paid $1,045 – the Exacta paid $105 and so on. Getting one or more of those exotics would have been a piece of cake off the supplied information above. And even if a client had limited funds there’s flexi betting available on exotics nowadays, which has opened up a whole new avenue for punters.

Saturday Morning Mail clients had other good results last Saturday in the seven other previewed races they got. This is my preview of the Reginald Allen Quality last Saturday which gave clients a $9 top fluctuation winner in Champagne Cath. If I was working on this fastest last 200 and fastest last 400 rot, she’d have been about the first one to put a line through as she’s been as weak as the skin on a custard to the line lately. Even her trainer Chris Waller in a pre-race RadioTAB interview sounded so negative about her chances that I nearly felt guilty tipping her, but as trainers are historically such poor tipsters, I just went with my gut instinct.

The Reginald Allen preview read:




A Maiden after seven starts but her run last week behind two very smart fillies – Guelph and Arabian Gold – was good and this is her third run back from a spell, so she gets her chance to break through today.


Improved at her last start 21 days ago to run third to Aussies Love Sport and Open Book and this race has got her name written all over it, if she can overcome the wide alley.


Resumed from a 6-week let up 21 days ago in the Bound For Earth race at Randwick and as she ran out of nick late at 1200 in that event I think she needs another run.


Was first up for 23 weeks when she never got sighted in the Bound For Earth race of 7/9/13, so place chance best here. Barrier blanket goes on for the first time today.


Last start Newcastle Class 1 winner that has been thrown in the deep end here and I think she’ll drown.


Resumed from 14 weeks off to run a close third in a Benchmark 70 here 17 days ago but I couldn’t have her at this level.


Has won two of her three starts but is another filly that has been thrown in the deep end here and I couldn’t have her on top.


Has only won one of seven and whilst she’s from the astute Snowden camp I couldn’t have her today.


Last start Kembla Grange Maiden winner that’s totally out of her depth here.


Sargent takes over the training from Pride, so (comment withheld as it’s confidential to clients) however her overall CV says that she is no hope here. Winkers come off today.


Beaten in a Kembla Grange Maiden last start, so hardly.

Additional comments: I’d back Champagne Cath each way.


I have concluded a long time ago that punters will be able to back more winners each race day if their brain isn’t fried from “information overload”.

Today on www.brisbaneracing.com.au there’s the second big montage of photos from Parklands harness racing closure last Friday night and Eagle Farm thoroughbreds Saturday. On www.sydneyracing.com.au Bernard Kenny writes about Pierro’s retirement to Coolmore, whilst on www.melbourneracing.com.au Matt Nicholls edits a look at Victorian racing.

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