Matters of the heart – helping us find the winner of the Doomben Cup.

May 20, 2011

Repeat after me. Bet with the head, not the heart.

It should be our number one guide to punting. Should be. Anything else is a sure way to the poorhouse.

There are other great rules that I’m constantly ignoring. Believe what you see. Winners are grinners. If they salute with a leg in the air, they’re usually worth following. And don’t be frightened by big odds.

It should be so simple. Don’t forget, there’ll be a winner every time they run around. And while we’re talking clichés, let’s not forget that we’re taking it one game at a time. Full credit to the boys. And believe me, we’re not getting ahead of ourselves.

I try hard not to be sentimental. Really I do. I see the pros prowling the betting ring, with cold eyes and bulging wallets. Are they really having fun, crunching the odds and winning big?

Of course they are. Winning is great. It allows you to order Chinese on a Saturday night. And come back to play next week.

Mind you, I wonder about some of the serious types I see around the traps these days. Not sure how they’d go in the middle of a good ‘ol fashioned plonk from years gone by. They always seem to be punching info into laptops, and other tiny devices. Exciting stuff.

Sure, it LOOK impressive. But what are they really doing? For all we know they could be typing out the shopping list. “Tulloch at evens, Bernborough at twos, and a litre bottle of washing liquid.”

Anyway, back to my punting. The Doomben Cup is upon us, and my heart and head are involved in a decent stoush. You see, one of my favourites is running around. And I can’t let him start without me.

Shoot Out is one of those horses that divides those in the punting ranks. Some reckon he’s over-rated. Was wrapped way too early, after winning a few decent races against questionable opposition.

Others love him. His win in the AJC Derby was a ripper. He should have gone on to Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup glory. He didn’t, but we overlook that. Bloody heart again. Yes, I’m in the loving camp.

His trainer John Wallace is another bloke I’d like to have a beer with. I know, that list is growing. So down to earth. Old school. He’s had top sprinters, and a Melbourne Cup placegetter. He sounds tired every time I hear him interviewed. That’s what happens when you get up at 3.30 every morning forever.

In one of those interviews, he let something slip. He told 4TAB listeners that he thought Shoot Out would be his best ever horse. Let me tell you, that’s a fair wrap. This from a bloke who sounds like he wouldn’t give the cabbie directions, for fear of being too chatty.

When I started backing Shoot Out, Stathi Katsidis was riding him. It seemed like it was meant to be. Both shooting stars. They were in action at Randwick and won. But then we lost Stathi. And it was like his number one horse read the papers the next day.

Those next few races weren’t the same. The spark was gone. Like the rest of us. It didn’t seem fair. The team that was set to conquer, was split.

For a bloke who could find trouble off the racecourse, Stathi was amazing for how he could avoid it on the track. The mark of a gifted horseman. Time and again, he’d be in the right place. That’s all you can ask as a punter. The little bloke on top giving them every chance. And Stathi did.

Last start, Shoot Out found a heap of trouble. Corey Brown was in more strife than Flash Gordon. But amid all the obstacles, it looked like Johnny Wallace’s star performer was back to some old form. Maybe he’s not reading the headlines anymore.

The head says he’s a risk, against the likes of Scenic Shot, and My Kingdom of Fife, the horse that used to run around in the Queen’s colours. I’m not talking Freddie Mercury here. The official, horse-owning Queen.

Something tells me that the wily old Gold Coast trainer would love to beat that Royal Connection. I’m pretty sure Stathi would have. And I reckon it just might happen.

I know, the heart is taking control. Take a hike head, we’re not listening. Sometimes, matters of the heart are more important. I’m sure her Majesty would understand.