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Ballarat great race track – but that’s all

Ballarat has an excellent racing surface that can cater for maximum field sizes, however, sadly facilities are very antiqued and are badly in need for some immediate attention.

Coming in from Kennedy’s Road, the sign, members car park, was openly displayed, except was there no one to direct you.

It soon developed into a bun fight, the most disorganised affair, one parking attendant said, “This way”, his mate said the opposite, it soon became an issue of rafferty’s rules of very man for himself.

The car parking was atrocious and the foot traffic was no better, with patrons having to walk over gravel paving laid when Jim Scobie set up training at Ballarat, more than a hundred years ago, nothing has changed and possibly never will.


Starting Times of races too Late

Surely it is time that common sense has to prevail when it comes to the late starting times, particularly at advertised twilight fixtures, exceeding 200 kilometres from the G P O.

All race meetings in the country should be able to run their last race at a sensible hour of 4.30 p m, it gives everyone a chance of getting home at a reasonable hour, instead of midnight.

There are two country twilight fixtures coming up soon, one at Warrnambool and the other at Benalla, if you draw the short straw that is the last race, you will be home about supper time.

It doesn’t seem to bother the committee persons of the race club; they will be curled up in bed before the last winner hits the hay.


Busy Seasons In Ireland

Coolmore’ dominance in the National Hunt stallion market is illustrated in the recently published journal by Weatherbys Return of Mares, their roster accounted for the six busiest sires, in Britian and Ireland, in the past covering season.

The jumps squad, belonging to the lads, spread between the Grange and Castle Hyde studs, in County Cork and Beaches Stud in County Waterford, had almost accounted for five of the six most active sires in 2016, and remarkable nine of the top ten in 2015.

In the strongest demand all of this year, as was the case 12 months earlier when he returned to his native Ireland, having commenced his stud career In France, was the Irish Derby hero, Soldier Of Fortune.

He actually increased and managed his already prodigious book size at Beeches Stud in the space of a year, from 304 to 352 in 2017.

For the second year in succession Grange Stud’s resident sire, Getaway had to bow his head    to Soldier Of Fortune in terms of popularity.

The son of Monsun, whose young crops yielded five point to pointers (steeplechasers), fetched six figure prices at a boutique sale in the 2016-17 jumps season, received 284 mares.

Beeches Stud’s resident sire, Mahler, another son Galileo, is in third position on the table of busiest sires, with his son, Sutton Place, a three time graded winner over hurdles, doing most to encourage the breeders who sent him 262 mares.

Westener and Champs Elysees, sons of Danehill, who stands at Castle Hyde, covered books 250 and 248 mares in 2017, with Walk In The Park, the Grange Stud source of the exceptional Douvan, rounding out the top six for Coolmore, with 228 appointments in the breeding shed.

Breeders evidently could not get enough of Frankel, after his first crop of two year olds ran breeders sent him 195 mares, the greatest patronage of any British based sire this season.

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Merson Cooper had a Proud History

For what has been a highly successful spring carnival racing goes to Sandown on Saturday, to wind up proceedings of the 2017 Spring Carnival.

Sandown is among the best race tracks in Australia, a big spacious course it affords every horse a chance with its long run in, it is no place for squibs.

Among the feature races for the juveniles is the Merson Cooper Stakes, formerly run at Caulfield, among the leading two year old races in Victoria at one stage, until 1970 when the brilliant filly, Dual Choice, proved a popular winner.

Once the Blue Diamond Stakes appeared on the scene the Merson Cooper was scraped, it was not included in the programming for three years, from 1971 until 1974.  

The racing bible, (Millers Guide), records the first running of the Merson Cooper Stakes in 1946, won by Chaperone.


Gai Succeeds In Oaks

Gai Waterhouse has finally the Oaks, one of the few races that have escaped her in- a brilliant career.

The Oaks has often fallen away, but that was not the case this year, with three last start winners, in a field of twelve, made for a very competitive race.

Pinot had to win it the hard way, taking the field up to the tear away leader, Rimraam, mid race, and fought off all challengers up the long Flemington straight, to win so impressively.

She has now put three wins together from six starts and would be a logical favourite for the Oaks at Royal Randwick in the Autumn.

Of course no mention of her sire, Pierro, the only Golden Slipper winner ever to sire a classic winner out of his first crop of foals to race.

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Gai wins her first Oaks


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