Could it be a sign, a symbol, or simply a fleeting change of fortune? Who cares? Yesterday was your tipster’s most triumphant Spring carnival day, thanks to the wins of $10.70 chance Queen of Queens and $4.30 pick Miss Marielle.

Those following my tips over recent weeks will have been startled to discover for the first time the slightest of bulges in the pockets, and will possibly be reassured to learn that it was cash.

My spring record now looks something like this:

  • Week 1: Turnbull States day. Bet $50, return $29.30
  • Week 2: Caulfield Guineas day. Bet $29, return $10
  • Week 3: Caulfield Cup Day. Bet $56, return $19 (consisting of $13 from Spectacular Saint and money back for the Cup trifecta after the scratching of Maldivian)
  • Week 4: Cox Plate Day. Bet $61, return $18
  • Week 5: Derby Day. Bet $61, return $26
  • Meeting 6: Cup Day. Bet $56, return $35.50
  • Meeting 7: Oaks Day. Bet $51, return $75

Despite the likely appearance of a pair of sure things in Miss Andretti and Weekend Hussler, Emirates Stakes day can be challenging: some of the horses have well and truly peaked (or should that be piqued?) while others, who haven’t been through the rigours of an ambitious spring campaign can be fresh enough to cause real upsets. Me, I’m going out for a spell, but hope to return from the paddock in time for the Sydney autumn.

In the meantime, invest $5 on each of these to win, and try a $6 box trifecta on Weekend Hussler, Sonic Quest and Orange County in the Emirates.

TIPS:

RACE 1: (5) Immortality

RACE 2: (11) Costa de Bima

RACE 3: (7) Extend

RACE 4: (1) El Mandon

RACE 5: (4) Miss Andretti

RACE 6: (11) Weekend Hussler to beat (5) Sonic Quest and (7) Orange County

RACE 7: (7) Translate

RACE 8: (13) Completion

RACE 9: (12) Harvard

Meanwhile, Jeff Wall writes:

The four-day Melbourne Cup Carnival will end on a high note at Flemington with a couple of the genuine stars of the Australian racing contesting the two main races.

There have been complaints about the “quality” of the field in the major events during the Spring Carnival, but that was unavoidable given the impact of equine flu… the absence of Sydney horses has had as big an impact as had been feared. It could have been worse – two months ago the whole carnival was hanging together by one of Paul Keating’s “gossamer threads”.

Tomorrow a proven champion, Miss Andretti will be a very short priced favourite in the Age Classic, while the rising champion of Australian racing, Weekend Hussler, will be a deserved short price favourite in the main event, the Emirates Stakes, worth just over $1 million. Miss Andretti is our international champion – having won at Royal Ascot in the UK mid year. After a four month break she returned to racing with an outstanding win on Cox Plate Day. She is a speed machine who will roll the very well credentialed Gold Edition again tomorrow.

Weekend Hussler comes into the Emirates with a feather weight (51.5kg) and while the carnival three year old form might not stand up in the future, you cannot argue with his record – six starts, five wins. He won the Caulfield Guineas and then the Ascot Vale Stakes at Flemington on Derby Day.

Racegoers tomorrow will surely see two of the great thoroughbreds of our time – but they will both be at very short odds.

The best bet on the final day of the Cup Carnival looks likes being Extend in Race Three and in the time honoured Queen Elizabeth Stakes Reggie is a good each way chance. The Cup Carnival will end in some controversy with Racing Victoria stewards planning an “inquiry” into who really trains the Lloyd Williams stable, including the Melbourne Cup winner, Efficient.

This issue has been pursued before – with stewards suspicious that Williams himself really trains the stable’s high quality team, not his nominated trainer, Graeme Rogerson. But given that Lloyd Williams picks up the multi million bill for his very large team of horses, does it really matter if he has more say than most in their preparation?

But for me the highlight of the Carnival has been the accuracy of the on course, and Channel Seven, race caller, Greg Miles. His Cup call – nominating Efficient as the likely winner well before the finish – was up there with the very best.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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