LAST week’s big races displayed an extraordinary range of performances. In the Paws of Thunder heats at Wenty, Dyna Villa showed a clean pair of heels in a smart 29.64 win. It tip-toed to the line but had done more than enough before that. The unpredictable Shoulders recorded the same time after an uncharacteristically smart jump (5.40).
Others benefitted from skirmishes while three top liners – Allen Deed, Winsome Prince and Anything Less – all fell on the way to and around the notorious Wenty first turn. Apart from Dyna Villa, the only other favourite to win was Whittaker in a modest 30.17.
Paul Wheeler may not like the track but he had 17 runners there for two wins.
Kiltah Magic proved a trap for young players, who expected it to repeat its modest win at its first long distance start the week before. Its $1.80 starting price was based accordingly. Alas, it led easily but collapsed like a house of cards and ran nowhere. Obviously, it did not have enough recovery time. Starc plodded on to grab the prize in an ordinary 42.47, one length slower than Kiltah Magic ran last week.
Space Star accounted easily for an average lot in the other Summer Plate heat but ran well below its best in 42.20. It has done well at times but I suspect its best distance is a shade short of 700m. Former promising stayer Zipping Maggie (which once ran down Xylia Allen) was sent out a very skinny $4.00 second favourite but failed badly, as it has for all its last 11 races since its previous win. Stale? Too much racing?
In contrast at The Meadows, up and coming stayer Opec Bale overcame the second-up syndrome, improving its winning time to 42.45, albeit against very moderate opposition. It’s by Bekim Bale, which provided half the sixteen runners in the night’s two distance races. That must be some sort of record, too.
While punters got that one right, what were they thinking in backing Oakvale Flyer into $2.00 favouritism ($2.70 in Victoria) in a 600m race? The dog had very ordinary form and ran accordingly. Perhaps they confused it with its better performed sister, Oakvale Destiny?
Just as strange was the $1.70 price about Quarterback ($2.00 in Victoria), first up in town after good form over shorter distances at the provincials. All those runs had been from outside boxes, recording moderate sectionals, but here it moved to the rails box and was lucky to run into 4th spot at the end. It’s not a wide runner but does prefer to race two or three off the fence. A terrible price for an inexperienced, albeit talented dog.
Sandown punters also saw another sparkling run from Sisco Rage at a liberal $4.70. It was no surprise to see it record a lightning 29.26 after coming from last the previous week to win in 29.61. The dog is normally a good beginner, which is why it ran 5.02 to the first marker this time. The previous week’s jump was an aberration but its huge run to get through the field was not to be missed.
The week’s best run was probably Quasi Bale’s 33.89 over the Sandown 595m trip. Quite correctly, it started a $2.50 favourite despite its middle box and won by nine lengths. It may go on to better things.
Overall, in the two Saturday night meetings eight favourites started at $2.00 or shorter. Half won and half lost, which would leave anyone placing an even dollar on each losing 20% of their bank. Doubtless the over-betting is due to mug gamblers following the leader, so what can we do to overcome that problem? Better education perhaps?
All told, an interesting if funny mix.
What it leaves us with is a couple of promising distance dogs, a lot more which appear to need time in the paddock, maybe lots of time, and a track at Wentworth Park which is long overdue for a rebuild. Or even a complete replacement.
Meantime, I can understand people finding it hard to read the Ozchase formguides for Wenty, and therefore getting some of the pricing wrong. As a service to customers these guides are deplorable. But there is no such excuse for Victorian races where the formguides are handy and easy to read.
Activity And Outcomes Are Different Things
Following complaints at the NSW parliamentary Inquiry, GRNSW assured us that it would be taking steps to improve the state’s tracks. We then heard casual comments that someone had visited The Gardens to attend to needed work. No announcement was made before or after the visit and no significant change has been observable. The usual disruptions on the first and home turns continue.
Given past experience with work at Richmond, Dapto, Maitland, Bathurst, Gosford, Bulli and elsewhere, there is no evidence that GRNSW has any particular expertise in designing tracks anyway. More often, it seems to allow clubs such as the GBOTA and the former NCA to control changes or re-builds, also without success. The system completely lacks professionalism.
Readers might recall that the chairman of a previous authority ceded responsibility to the two major clubs for setting up the iniquitous intercode agreement, thereby lumbering the state with a 99 year sentence to a life of poverty.
These are some of the reasons why people should take very seriously the current review of the Greyhound Racing Act and the nature of the organisation. History ignored is history repeated.