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Horsing Around: 3/8 - 9/8

A weekly venture into the world of racing to cover all the things you may have missed this week both at home and abroad.

horsing around

Rick Rolled: Harley Left Red-Faced By Early Crow

Gary Harley, presenter and pundit for Sky Racing is a regular at the picnic tracks in New South Wales and was there again for the call at Scone on Tuesday.

“Gaz” was looking at a usual day at the office until Race 2, where he declared Virtuous Miss, a $1.22 favourite home and hosed in the parade ring. 

Harley was so confident in his tip he said: 

"That's her, number 14. If they beat her, I'll walk home," declared Harley.

"I'll have to take a month off to get there."

"We are going to hold you to it," replied Gaz's co-host Gavin Carmody.

"Hope you've got a good pair of footwear, (but) I don't think you'll need it with this girl, Gaz."

Unfortunately for Gary though he hadn’t banked on $34 shot Rockness Angel outgunning Kris Lees trained Virtuous miss in a two-horse battle where they had gapped the field.


Harley is currently expected home around the 4th of September.

Melbourne Cup Watch: Internationals Begin To Declare

Leading owners and trainers are beginning to show their intentions towards with the Melbourne Cup with owner Lloyd Williams and trainers Charlie Appleby and Joey O’Brien making calls.

Unfortunately, the current Covid-19 situation and unfolding second wave in Melbourne looks to be pouring water on the Melbourne Cup flames with the above trio this week all declaring it is unlikely they will be taking runners to Victoria this Spring. 

Particularly Appleby and O’Brien will be disappointed that there isn’t a feasible safe option to travel down under at the moment after winning the race in recent years with Rekindling in 2017 and Cross Counter in 2018 respectively. 

Vow and Declare chopped out a host of European hopefuls last year bucking the trend of 3yo’s with low weights flying late to take out the $7m prize money. 

Lloyd Williams hasn’t fully closed the door yet but has stated if it is not safe to travel his team will not go:

Williams said: "It's too early to say, but travelling now is a greater consideration than it was 72 hours ago. Melbourne [over the] next few weeks will have a bearing on the future.

"If there was any concern for staff travelling, I would not allow my group of horses to come - health is paramount."

If not this 2020 Williams will almost certainly be looking towards next year to get his next win with Rekindling and Almandin winning the race that stops a nation in recent years. 

Looking For Warm Fronts: Ballarat Training Kicks Up A Gear For One Stable

Racing in Australia takes on sorts of weather with the heat of summer scorching the picnics. The lush green straight of Flemington in spring. Or the wet weekend in April where the championships usually see the downpours to create a heavy 20. 

For trainer Henry Dwyer and his stable this week though he had to get his regular gallops done in a more diverse weather format with it snowing on Monday.


Over several posts on the stables Facebook page Dwyer gave a good view of the conditions they have to take on when training in the rural setting of Ballarat. 

About an hour outside Victoria the stable saw heavy snowfall over a few hour period leaving them no choice but to gallop in the white stuff.

Definitely one extreme to the other with summers so hot it carries a fire warning and winters so cold you have to train in the snow. 

French Flare Up: Leading Jockey Banned After Brawl

Bring back the biff was a famous campaign in NRL when Matty Johns spoof character Reg Reagan championed the phrase on the channel 9 footy show. 

A leading french jockey, Kevin Nabet has now been banned for 6 months from racing after bringing the biff to a weighing room at La Teste in France. 

Nabet and fellow jockey Baptiste Dubourg had just completed a 2m 2f hurdle race where Dubourg had forced his way up the rail past Nabet to finish second in the race while Nabet was forced to pull up ride Theyss By Theyss as a result of the manoeuvre.

Clearly unhappy with what had unfolded Nabet confronted Dubourg in the weigh-in room and was said to have punched him several times in the face fracturing his jaw. On initial investigation, both riders were banned for 15 days but after discovering Dubourgs injuries and declaring him unfit to ride Nabet was subsequently banned for a further 6 months.

Barrier Rogue: McEvoy Trained Runner Withdrawn as $1.30 Favourite

Tony McEvoy trained runner Zerene managed to snare a hat trick on the weekend but it was for all the wrong reasons. 

The daughter of Zoustar was registered to run in Race 1 at Murray Bridge on the weekend but the serial barrier offender refused to load as a $1.30 favourite for the race. 

This was subsequently the third time Zerene had refused to load in the past 12 months having refused at Morphettville in September and October last year. 

Owners and connections will be left exasperated by this latest refusal after Zerene has previously shown talent to compete as a Group level horse after competing in the Group One Sistema Stakes (1200m) in New Zealand, finishing 2.1L off the winner Yourdeel and placing early in 2020 in the Listed Lightening Stakes at Morphettville. 

The latest play up meant the race itself was subsequently won by Promoter, a $5.10 shot after deductions which also left only 4 runners to complete the 1200m sprint.


Win For The Punters: Channel 7 To Cover 21 Victorian Meetings in 20-21

Channel 7 confirmed on Friday that they will once again be covering Victorian racing in 20-21 which will cover in-depth coverage of the key races across Spring and Autumn. 

For some the announcement doesn’t change much with Free to Air coverage of Victorian Racing already available through channel 78/68, however, the new Channel 7 deal is likely to include coverage of the big Sydney races as well however this is yet to be confirmed.

The coverage which is usually led by HQ stalwart Bruce McAveny is likely to kick in on Memsies Stakes day the 29th August and run all the way through to the Zipping Classic at Sandown in Mid November. 

"Racing's resilience has already been fully tested this year and its ability to connect with the Australian public has been reinforced," McAvaney said.

"The Seven Network's relationship with the sport in Victoria is enduring. It's a legacy built up by broadcasting legends Bill Collins and Ron Casey and their standards have set the platform for our current on and off-air racing team.

"Personally, to be a part of that continuing tradition is a career highlight."

McAveny will no doubt be looking forward to seeing more moments like the Winx blitz on the Cox plate in 2016 when he returns to screens in 20 and 21. 

Awesome American: Tiz The Law Following In The Footsteps Of Greats

There was a lot of excitement coming out of the US overnight as Barclay Tagg-trained Tiz The Law began his run at becoming only the 14th horse in history to take out the prestigious Triple Crown. 

Due to the current pandemic, US racing has had the calendar turned on its head with Tiz the Law actually winning what is usually regarded as the jewel in the crown and the second boxed ticked on the way to completing the sequence. 

However, given the change in circumstances Tiz The Law will now move on to a delayed Kentucky Derby in September and Pimlico to make history on October 3rd. 

Tiz The Law went of 1/2 Favourite on the day and it was easy to see why when absolutely destroying a 6 strong field under hands and heels in the last 200. 

The Tagg trained runner will now go off again odds on favourite at Churchill Downs in the coming weeks looking to take out the second leg of a maiden Triple Crown win.

No Holiday: Jockey Struggling With All-Inclusive Quarantine

Victorian jockey Ben Thompson probably thought of many hurdles he’d need to overcome in the coming weeks when moving from Victoria to Queensland to take up a new riding challenge but probably hadn’t thought about food too much. 

Thompson had made the decision to move north to be reunited with partner and fellow jockey Stephanie Thompson after gaining the various Covid-19 permits to travel to QLD. 

As part of the modern-day protocol Ben has had to self-quarantine in surfers paradise hotel at his own expense which Thompson has had no issue with however when lifting the lid on life in quarantine he did highlight one issue. Too much food. 

“I’m surrounded by the same four walls 24-7 but breakfast, lunch and dinner is all included, to be honest, I probably should make them aware that I’m a jockey because I get given that much food I can’t eat it, it’s ridiculous,” Thompson laughed.

“The food has been very good but there’s just too much of it.

“It’s all been a bit of a whirlwind - I crossed the border on Thursday afternoon and got directed straight to hotel quarantine in Surfers Paradise.

“I don’t have much exercise gear, I’ve got my own skipping rope but that’s about it.

“(Fellow jockey) Patrick Moloney had to hotel quarantine when he returned from Singapore and he gave me some tips - he got me onto doing some workout videos.”

We look forward to seeing Thompson back in the saddle soon. 


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