Jenny - Clean


MY great mate, Ginger, the punting desperate who reversed his fortunes courtesy of a decision to lay favorites on Betfair rather than back them to win, reckons gambling these days is 3D (three dimensional) – delight, despair and desperation.

Ginger was celebrating again after collecting big when the Queensland Oaks favorite, Dariana, stayed in the barriers and took no part in the race. He can’t wait for the big Stradbroke meeting at Eagle Farm where the ‘good judges’ are already going the early crow.

Stradbroke Day is traditionally a nightmare for punters and that situation has not changed since it was transformed into a Super Saturday of racing with the two Group Ones – the Brisbane Cup and T J Smith – transferred from what was once the Queen’s Birthday holiday meeting on the Monday of the long weekend.

It’s been a long time since three runners were being declared so hard to beat so early in three of the Group 1 races of the Eagle Farm carnival. But that is the case with Whobegotyou (Stradbroke), Kutchinsky (Queensland Derby) and Ringa Ringa Rosie (T J Smith). The only proviso with two of these is the need for a dry track, which the weather forecast suggests both will get.

History shows that going the early crow in racing can be the kiss of death for everyone from jockeys and trainers to owners and punters. Ginger reckons the more confident they sound heading into Saturday, the more he will be investing on those three runners to get beaten.

That is where we disagree but then again my punting lately hasn’t bought me a high rise unit on the Gold Coast, a new sports car and a flying visit to South Africa for the World Cup (soccer) final – so I guess I have to bow to better judgment of my old mate Ginger, who I can recall many years ago would have been on the bite rather than cashed up in the week leading up to a meeting like the Stradbroke.

Rather than bore you with our 3D lives on the punt – the delight that turned to despair then devastation – we have each put our case forward for the three horses in question as punters prepare to do battle on what promises to be one of the biggest and best days of racing on the Australian carnival calendar.

Let’s first look at Whobegotyou, the $2.60 favorite in early Fixed Odds markets for the $1 million Stradbroke Handicap. His run in the Doomben 10,000 when second to glamour mare Hot Danish was nothing short of sensational.

Whobe had not raced since failing in the Cox Plate in October. He had a suicidal alley and the steadier of 59kg on a rain-affected track that did not suit him but he still sat wide and powered home in an amazing run that had Stradbroke winner written all over it. In my opinion only bad luck can beat him on Saturday.

Ginger argues that Whobegotyou was well wound up for his comeback and has been beaten more times when favorite in big races than most high profile horses. He supports the theory of the punter who e-mailed the suggestion that the horse should be required to wear a warning on his saddlecloth: ‘Betting on me can be a Wealth Hazard.’

“He’s at silly odds and won’t be hard to lay. In fact I don’t know he will get the speed he needs in this. They can argue that Kavanagh has stable-mate Catapulted which will ensure the pace is on. That’s a silly scenario as Catapulted is a genuine hope in his own right given a nice sit just off the speed,” Ginger said.

‘There’s also the theory from some of the so-called experts that speed is always assured in a Stradbroke. I’m not so sure about that this year. They’re asking where is a genuine danger going to come from with a cloud over Ortensia, Latin News not likely to secure a start and most of the others not in his league.

‘I’m not in the business of picking winners any more – it kept me in the poor house – but if I was looking to back one to beat Whobegotyou I can see good value in Melito and Black Piranha. Both raced well enough in the 10,000 to be considered winning changes in the Stradbroke.’

Then we come to the Derby where the early crow is for Kutchinsky after his barn-storming win in the Grand Prix Stakes a fortnight ago when he came from a hopeless position to nail the Kiwi, The Hombre, on the line.

Kutchinsky is a $2.90 quote in early Fixed Odds betting. It’s hard not to like him on the strength of his last two wins in impressive style at Doomben and Flemington. Trainer Tony Noonan admitted he had been a shade easy on the horse leading up to the Grand Prix. He gives the impression that the bigger spaces and extra distance of the Derby at Eagle Farm will suit him even better.

Ginger doesn’t doubt his quality but is quick to point out that those making comparisons to Shocking should remember that he got beaten in the Derby last year en route to his Melbourne Cup triumph, albeit he didn’t have anywhere near the same lead-up form as Kutchinsky.

Ginger also argues that Kutchinsky is going to be well back in the field and will still need luck whereas his main dangers, like The Hombre, the promising but immature Kiwi Fieldmaster and the improving Bart Cummings-trained colt Landlord, are all expected to settle ahead of him in the run.

‘Then there are the fillies. Who’s to say Dariana won’t come out and blow them away despite missing the Oaks start? That would just drive another nail into the coffin of punters who backed her in the Oaks and jumped off to be on the more highly touted Kutchinsky in the Derby. Even Marhita cannot be ruled out. They said she wouldn’t run out the trip in the Oaks, which she probably would have won had Mark Zahra not decided to let her loose before stumps.’

Then we have the most attractively priced of the ‘early crow’ Group 1 trio for Saturday – Ringa Ringa Rosie in the T J Smith for the two-year-olds. The Bevan Laming-trained filly has actually been deposed from favoritism by the Sydneysider Pressday following his big win in the QTC Sires last Saturday. In latest quotes Pressday is at $3.20 and Ringa Ringa Rosie is out to $3.80.

But that hasn’t stopped the ‘good judges’ from declaring the filly ‘a special’ providing the track is good. They highlight the fact that she was not suited by the wet conditions when third to Run For Levi in the Doomben Slipper. She should peak at her third run back and will be suited perfectly by the mile of the TJ Smith and will have the services of in-form Chris Munce.

Ginger argues Ringa Ringa Rosie will get a long way out of her ground in a race that does not seem to possess a stack of early pace which she relies on. He also points out that Pressday is vastly improved and should race on the pace, providing plenty for the star filly to run down even with an uninterrupted run.

‘Levi’s Choice and Our Smokin’ Joey both ran good races in the Sires, so it’s not as though the race is bereft of chances and the T J Smith has proved a graveyard for the favorites in the past. I might even lay both Ringa and Pressday on Betfair,’ he said.

Ginger doesn’t pretend to be any expert – in fact he still regards himself as a ‘mug punter.’ But his decision about a year ago to continue doing the form but adopting reverse psychology and backing to lose those he would normally have supported to win – has paid handsome dividends.

‘I have my losing days like everybody else but I win more than I lose by backing selected favorites to get beaten. One of the reasons I question these experts going the early crow about Whobegotyou, Kutchinsky and Ringa Ringa Rosie is the fact that each is a back-marker and the statistics show that most races are won by those horses that can take up a position,’ he said.

‘My thoughts at this stage are that Kutchinsky is the biggest risk of the trio. Whobe is the one that I give the best chance of winning out of the three of them. On his day he is outstanding and he has the services of Michael Rodd and a great trainer in Mark Kavanagh. But as I’ve said before whenever I think they’re a good thing, that’s when they get beaten.’

Winning or losing, Ginger still experiences and somewhat masochistically quietly enjoys what he calls the 3D effect of punting – the delight of winning, the despair of the horse he backs to lose saluting and the desperation of still possessing that bad habit of chasing after his losses.

In a footnote to the story Ginger has been quick to confess that if he ends up on the losing end of the ledger after the big three at Eagle Farm on Saturday he will back up at Royal Ascot next week (June 16) and take on the Australian favorite, Nicconi (the prepost favorite) in the King’s Stand.

‘I know the Aussies have a great record in the race but when I used to back him to win Nicconi was an absolute nightmare for me. He owes me plenty, so I’m hoping to do a bit of catching up when he steps out and gets beaten at Royal Ascot next week.’

I hope you enjoyed our different view of the big meeting at Eagle Farm on Stradbroke day when I for one will be hoping that those who have gone the early crow enjoy the delight of winning rather than the despair of defeat and desperation of chasing their losses.

THIS IS GODFREY SMITH WISHING YOU GOOD LUCK, GOOD PUNTING AND GOD BLESS and just this once please spare me having to listen to another tirade of success stories from my old mate GINGER.



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