I was on debut at Sale, reluctantly after the original disappointment and anger that the powers that be, decided to put a Wednesday meeting 3 hours out of Melbourne. I sparked up when looked through the card and found two auto-bets, including one that I thought should be $3 and they went up $7. Think’n’Fly came from a good maiden at Pakenham where it sp’d $5 vs Parmie, Igniting & Noble Flight, who had all fought out the finish the Saturday just gone at Caulfield. I bet, I sent and I watched closely as the market didn’t seem to agree.
The trip to Sale was an experience. A very early departure from Melbourne and 30 mins in a deep fog which covered the entire highway and the majority of my journey. The deep fog caused me a few issues. The Toyota needed a drink and I needed a feed. I missed multiple petrol stations and the dreaded light turned on. When you bet for a living, anxiety is a permanent passenger. He was showing his face earlier than what was ideal on a race day. The Gods looked after me though and we found a bowser just in time. 1st winner. The fog continued to cause havoc though as I cruised straight past 2 Maccy D’s forcing me to arrive on course a bit like a jockey; hungry and punching B&H Smooths instead.
Halfway to Sale I saw something I knew existed but had never seen and was blown away. These enormous chimneys which power the plasmas were pumping out enormous amounts of God knows what. Now was this the cause of the heavy fog? I don’t know, if you do please get in touch. Fascinating.
The oncourse food at Sale was top notch, the chicken wrap was as good as I’ve had. Fresh and succulent, and after a quick visit to the coffee truck, I was set. Well fed, caffeinated and Paul Kelly’s Songs from the South shuffling through my ears.
Something wasn’t sweet at Sale, there was something in the air. R1 we saw a horse almost get loose in the yard, which was scary. Race 2 a horse ($250 chance) once mounted by jockey, attempts to climb the clerks horse. The Jock bails, the poor old clerk is dragged for a metre, then her and the horses fall. They just miss her on landing, it was fucking scary and she was tough as nails, straight up and back into it. She wanted to go out and work but was smartly stopped.
Race 3 was awful, we had backed one at $6.5, started $2.5 and was 10 wide the trip and ran 4th. The race looked like something out of an old movie, basically two lines of horses charging and we were widest. Nothing in lanes 5+ figured in the finish. No good. Race 4 saw the 2nd fav do a strong 1000m gallop the wrong way pre-race and was then allowed to race, such a wrong decision to let it run.
My day, my adventure, this huge trip to Sale hinged on Think’n’Fly and Olly. God bless Olly. He was peak Damien in r5. Despite the weird day which was unfolding, the horse jumped favourite, $2.9 ish. I held the lot, I thought about trading some back on the ‘fair, but Let It Ride Dreyfuss style. Olly bounced out the young athletic thing and let it find a smooth rhythm 3 wide. The 9am fav was on our tail, scary in run. He cut the corner perfectly on the corner and pushed the big boy out to the line, a huge result for me and mine.
The race and the day was soured though, the fall in the race was sickening and extremely scary. I feared some really bad news was coming but thankfully it wasn’t the case. The care jockeys show for each other and racing people show for each other is outstanding. I could never do what they do. I sat next to a local who said to me when seeing M.Walker walk back after his fall, “Geesus, he’s really hurt his back, he’s not right”. I said, “no mate, he’s sweet, that how he always parades”. What jocks go through shouldn’t be taking for granted.
It was back to The Valley Saturday, how good! Race 1 saw a huge go for a horse with no form in Condo’s Express. I found it in the yard and bet, and we were in front! But it would be, and I think unluckily, our only winner from the yard. We backed: Pacodali 2nd (now with Lindsey after thriving under Maher, & beaten by a bit of a nonnie in New Universe & more so LINDA); The Statesman and Bling Dynasty in r6, 2nd & 3rd (Bling looked the winner @$28 at the top of straight and The Statesman went huge after surviving the worst strapper in Vic and being cast early). Race 7 we backed Masculino and sleepy Mark let Linda do Linda things to Inverloch and again we ran 2nd. Race 8 with Sleepy Mark in my mind I found Usain on top from the yard but left it alone for fears of the map vs its SP, and instead backed Beautiful Flyer and Columbia who both paraded outstanding. They were big odds, they ran 2nd and 4th FFS and Mark produced an elite ride to win on Usain. Perhaps the holiday is over and the big Dawg is back.
I BOOGI in r5 was my only “Movers” bet for the day. I half found it on TheMailBag preview show and when Nick Noonan sent his trial report and wrapped its jump-out between runs, we bet. We took $31 and some $34 and boy oh boy didn’t it hemorrhage late! Started 10s and was given an absolute peach by D.Lane. It made the day a big winning day for me.
What I found fascinating was that the trainer of I Boogi, S.Cameron was questioned by stewards regarding the “improved performance”. I Boogi improved 2 lengths off its last start with a gear change, a jump-out and an elite rider going on, and yet in race 1 there is no mention of them questioning the trainer for the 9 length improvement of Condo’s Express, who did get Linda on but not much else. I don’t understand why they question one and not the other.
The Valley meeting will provide a stack of upcoming winners with plenty of horses strong despite inferior ground and some strong races throughout the card. I’ve dived deep in my review of the meeting and you should too.
I could go on. Sandown was fun, I was harassed on my way in by the anti-jumps which was something different. But I’m a dad now and my writing time’s up. Was a big week and the racing will only get better. Looking forward to a Cranny midweek into Headquarters on Sat.
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Yours in Racing,