Time for a little Romance on Caulfield Cup day.

October 17, 2015

The first thing they teach you in Punting School is .. Stick.

If you like something, don’t drop off.

Stay with whatever caught your eye all those weeks ago.

If you happen to be the Dunce of that school, (hand goes up), chances are you forget this golden rule on a monthly basis.

You may remember my Flying Spur tale of woe. The day I not only broke the rule, I smashed it into a thousand tiny pieces.

Before Flying Spur was a mighty sire, he was a flying youngster.

I’d watched from up north, as Lee Freedman plotted a course all the way to the Golden Slipper.

There was something about this flashy bloke that caught my eye. The horse, not Lee.

Days out from the two year old classic, he was doing nothing in the market. The smarties didn’t want a bar of him. That didn’t worry me. Another Golden Rule is not to be scared off by big odds. We’ll discuss that another time.

Anyway, I was confident. We would fill our boots on the back of Flying Spur.

That was, until race morning.

I woke to the news that our champion jockey Jim Cassidy had been given a stretch by stewards. It was the infamous Jockey Tapes Scandal. Pumper had been innocently giving tips. And was now banished. On the morning of the bloody Slipper!

I staggered as if shot. This could not be happening. I strained my ear to the radio, to hear that one of racing’s greatest, had been replaced by some kid I’d never heard of. A young bloke called Boss. I think they said his first name was Glen.

Just like that, I was off. The bet I’d been drooling over was cancelled. No way could this no-name handle the frenzy of the world’s most intense dash for juveniles.

There would be no Sticking. Instead, I backed something else. It may have been called Donkey. And watched, as Bossy sent Flying Spur to the line for an easy win. It paid over 20 bucks. I contemplated becoming a nun.

Anyway, if nothing else, we learn from our mistakes. Even costly, gut-wrenching ones like that.

And so, to the Caulfield Cup. And the point of this rambling. I have been taken by Rising Romance since she ran second last year.

Something about the run has stayed with me. The way she hit the line. It was like someone had scribbled ‘follow me’ across her sizeable rump.

I’ve followed her this campaign. Ignoring results. Knowing the Cup was the aim.

Today is pay day. I reckon she’ll rocket home and line our pockets. D.Lane is a patient rider. It’s what we need in the rough and tumble at Caulfield.

Stick to what you like. I can’t make it any clearer. Although I do have one question. What’s Bossy riding?

A refresher course on the Golden Rules of Punting. If only I could remember them.

August 30, 2014

Here I am again. Appealing to those remaining brain cells to get their act together.

The Spring Carnival is all but upon us. And I have no idea what to do.

The most successful punters have rules, that they stick to solidly. The rest of us muddle through, trying to recall what didn’t work last year.

Time and again, I get it wrong. Because I remember nothing. None of the clever practices that may have picked up a dollar. And none of the crazy decisions that left me with no bus fare.

It means I make the same mistakes, time and again. And it drives me nuts.

What do I do with a heavy track? We only get one a year in sunny Queensland. And when it arrives, I’m at a loss.

Lightweights? Mud-loving sires? Greys? Or is it greys carrying a postage stamp with an Irish dad?

Can a champion win first up? Do I back the best regardless? Does class always beat arse? Do I ignore trainers saying their meal ticket is only at 70%?

What about apprentices? What did I decide all those years ago? (Actually, this one I remember. Take 3 kilos off, put 4 kilos on).

Someone told me something about favourites in big races at the start of the Carnival. It was either they always win, or they always get dusted. We may have been sharing refreshments at the time. If it was you, please, put me out of my misery.

I came up with an incredibly clever theory about the Cups, foreign horses and lead-up races. It made so much sense, I jotted it down on a coaster. It’s never been seen again.

When do Sydney horses win in Melbourne? First week, or last week? It’s one or the other. Someone must know.

You will have your own punting theories. Take a tip. If they work, tattoo them on your forehead.

As punters, we live and die by rules. It’s time I got serious, and started making a record of them. Financial success depends on it. Pass me that coaster.

The secret guide to finding winners. Does anyone know where I put it?

August 27, 2011

Over three decades, I’ve developed rules and regulations to find winners.

Stop giggling. This is serious.

The idea is to stick with them religiously. Forget the tipsters and coat-tuggers. It’s all about maximising returns.

There’s a slight problem. Sometimes I forget.

This can be blamed on excitement. And yes, refreshing cool drinks may be involved. Then there’s the old age thing. Or all of the above.

To help us all, I thought I should write them down. Grab your pen now. You never know when you’ll be in need of another laugh.

Ok, here goes. Back the best jockeys. Thank you Captain Obvious, I hear you call. But it’s true. If only I could remember it.

I try to be wary of apprentices. I like small children as much as the next bloke. But I don’t generally give them my cash.

That is, until some generous trainer sits the kid on something I like. I then convince myself that the youngster is a Beadman in the making. Wham. Rule #1 out the window.

I’ve had plenty of wet track theories. They work for a while, and then they don’t.

I’ve tried lightweights, and leaders, and greys. And grey lightweight leaders. No luck.

The best I’ve done on the heavy is the brief period I followed leading wet track sires. Until I forgot who I had to follow. Feel free to help out at any time.

Something I’ve always done is back wet track duffers once they get back on top of the ground. Especially after a stretch of ordinary weather.

It’s amazing how many bob up at odds. If you see duck eggs in the wet track columns, and the sun is shining, get on for plenty.

My other favourite punting habit, this week anyway, is finding the Second Up specialist. Solid second up form becomes a pattern. And if they keep missing out second up, no matter how good, don’t back them. One of the few things that works for me.

Here’s another one to take to the bank. Like us, horses have their favourite tracks. Lets call it the Chief De Beers theory. 20 wins at Doomben; zero wins anywhere else.

If they haven’t won at a specific venue after a handful of attempts, take it as read that they won’t. Ever. If it’s Mooney Valley or Warwick Farm, double the knock.

Take a good barrier every time. You’ll hear experts say they can win from the carpark. They can’t. Not if I’m on them anyway.

There are plenty of form lines I have no idea about. Zilch. First starters heading into Spring get me time and again. Especially good horses resuming.

If I back them, they tail off. Being prepared for the Cups apparently. If I ignore them, they fly home at double figure odds. Always gave him a chance, says the trainer with a sly grin.

I’m constantly confused by overseas horses. A bit like Chinese opera.

I study an event over 8 miles in the fog in Northern England, and try to line up the 3rd placegetter with the field at Flemington. The exercise usually ends with strong drink.

They come here and win, of course. And I’m never on them. If you have the secret, let me know. Then leave quietly.

So there’s a list of all the things I do know, and a few of the hundred I don’t.

If you are reading this wrapped in a tight white coat, and actually plan to follow these ramblings, it’s time to take your medication.

If that doesn’t change your mind, and you have so much spare cash you don’t mind throwing it into the breeze, try this one today.

Melbourne Race 4, number 4 – Satin Shoes.

Top jockey, solid second up record, and winning form at the track. Three ticks. Except the barrier is rubbish. We’ll go with it anyway. See, I’m forgetting the rules again. I can still hear that laughing.

Finally, if it’s raining where you are, you know what you have to do.

Find that grey lightweight leader from England with a famous sire and a top jockey who loves the track and will improve from run number one. Now pass me my medication.