The Big One

Friday’s Melbourne Cup favourite Keybow is priced at $2.00 to $2.40 depending on where you look, mostly due to its box draw on the rails. On the night, the shorter of those is more likely due to the weight of visitors’ money.

Well, I suppose it can win the race but it would need to jump at least with them, and probably hold its position going around the corner. That is quite possible but there is no guarantee that will happen.

Luca Neveelk, Chica Destacada and Star Recall are more likely to be in front of Keybow in the run to the first turn, not certain, but likely. Had Keybow drawn the 8, as in its heat, it would be a better bet as it would then be free to motor up and try to run around them, as it did in its heat.

The most likely outcome is that Chica Destacada will work up inside Luca Neveelk and lead around the turn. The latter will be no help to Star Recall, boxed just inside it. Chica then offers terrific each way value at $7.00/$2.00 on Fixed Odds.

Remember only Chica and Dyna Villa have been able to get down to the 29.20 area, the others are all 29.30-plus dogs, including Keybow, and Chica tends to hang on to any lead it gets. Anyway, Dyna Villa faces a big task in trying to get around the several dogs in front of it.

It’s true that Chica has run a bit quicker from middle boxes but it still won the National Sprint Championship after leading from box 2.

But how will the Bold Trease final be run? That’s harder to know as they are backing up only seven days after their heat runs. Zipping Maggie and Space Star have proved risky in those circumstances, while Sweet It Is and Blinkers On (carrying an incorrect apostrophe) will be coming through the field. The other four are in a class below. The only sure thing I can find is that Sweet It Is will run 1st, 2nd or 3rd so at even money it is hardly a great bet.

Some Meadows History 

A reader’s comments on times for The Meadows 725m trip prompted us to have a closer look at what has been happening there. We mentioned that the average time run in the last 200 races was 42.94, as compared with Nellie Noodles’ record of 42.03. Of course, that average would have been influenced by some low-grade races won in slow times.

However, the time in question was a 42.58 run by Dyna Willow, which I somewhat harshly described as “ordinary”, partly because it occurred in the middle of a pretty poor part of its career and partly because it had been capable of a bit better. The point was that it was generally off its game during that period, perhaps due to injuries, perhaps due to extensive long distance racing.

Anyway, there is more.

Since 2005, we have uncovered 92 wins which bettered that 42.58 mark. These comprised 24% of the 511 races run. They involved 66 different dogs, so many were multi-winners, the most recent Amity Flame.  Here is a summary.

Year Number Better Best Run Greyhound

2005

5

42.34

Malfoy

2006

22

42.28

Sergeant Major

2007

10

42.09

Sky Hazzard

2008

8

42.28

Mantra Lad

2009

11

42.23

Oodles Rocks

2010

7

42.03

Nellie Noodles

2011

10

42.29

Bobby Boucheau

2012

6

42.34

Thrilling Brat

2013

10

42.31

Major League

2014

2

42.46

Zipping Rory (10 months only)

Miata’s best at the track was 42.37 in February 2012. Xylia Allen’s best occurred in July 2014 when it ran 42.47.

In passing, note that, on average, dogs will get around Sandown 715m 0.74 sec quicker than The Meadows 725m. Wentworth Park 720m is 0.45 sec quicker. Sandown is therefore the fastest tack at 17.1 m/sec, followed by Wentworth Park at 16.9 m/sec and The Meadows 16.8 m/sec. That’s all fairly logical as The Meadows has more sweeping turns, which tend to reduce speeds.

Note

Much care is needed in checking times at this track due to the significant number of handicap races being run. GRV formguides routinely show incorrected times, not just on formlines but also in the “Best” box. These are designated “H” but no actual handicaps are included.  A check of GRV individual dogs’ records will show these details but, once again, the times printed are not corrected for those handicaps, nor are the actual handicaps transferred to the formguide file.  Similarly, sectional times are misleading. The same problem occurs for many Horsham 570m races.

This deserves an editorial comment. That sort of failure to advise customers correctly about fundamental information is an illustration of a far too common attitude of racing authorities in punching out material which they personally think is fine, rather than first finding out what customers need. Fortunately, that practice is uncommon in Victoria but it is par for the course in NSW where the new Ozchase system covering three quarters of the nation is, in practical terms, unusable. For example, meeting results cannot be downloaded or even printed out. All you can do is look at them on screen, one race at a time.

We were better off 30 years ago when you could photocopy pages in a daily newspaper on the following morning.

Sadly, economic limitations have beaten us there, too, as deadlines and delivery barriers have stopped that happening as well. (There was a time when I subscribed to four daily newspapers for this purpose. I also had to spend two full mornings each week travelling to town and back just to obtain NSW and Victorian hard copy formguides. Today all that could be done in two or three minutes each day, providing someone made the stuff available. Such is progress!).