|What price is the Wonder from Down Under?|
|What! Price is the wonder from down under.|
The racing world eagerly awaits Black Caviar racing in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 23.
The Melbourne mare will fly the Australian flag against an international field in one of Europe’s best sprint races.
My favourite is Takeover Target in 2006. You'll see why soon.
No Australian racehorse has generated such excitement and expectation for an international race since the legendary Phar Lap travelled to Mexico in 1932 and won the Agua Caliente Handicap.
|Phar Lap with regular hoop Jim Pike in the saddle|
After a sudden and mysterious illness, Phar Lap died in 1932. At the time, he was the third highest stakes-winner in the world.
His mounted hide is displayed at the Melbourne Museum, his skeleton at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and his heart at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.
Phar Lap's heart was remarkable for its size, weighing 6.2 kg (13.6 lbs) compared with a normal horse's heart at 3.2 kg.
|Phar Lap's heart weighed 6.2 kg compared |
with a normal horse's heart at 3.2 kg.
And then there is Andrew Price whose form is peaking for a second-up win after spelling in the south of France. His close second, by a bee's dick, when first-up at Melbourne looks excellent form for a lower class race under more favourable conditions at Northampton.
My spies tell me he was a tad "underdone" for Melbourne's rough race tactics but has improved since. Stewards have refused to release the race video.
He's apparently settled in well at private stables in Oxford awaiting the big day. Track watchers say he's been working well, but usually under cover of darkness. Strapper Mary Jacob says Price always travels well and is a good doer despite the Pommy tucker. Stable punter Lucky Laurence is already well set for a big pay day.
Andrew Price appears to have gotten under the handicapper's guard in the PaperlinX Progressive, a lowly handicap scheduled for decision soon. The PaperlinX Progressive was originally scheduled to be run at the glamorous Milton Keynes track, however its recent unexpected closure has caused minor programming delays in the racing calendar.
Old timers lament seeing the former PaperlinX Classic now reduced to "progressive" status but dwindling prize money inevitably takes its toll.
Promoters of the Milton Keynes track now acknowledge that while its amenities were excellent it lacked the support of owners and trainers. Apparently the cost of stables at Milton Keynes was exorbitant compared with comparable quality facilities at nearby Northampton.
Professional punters also queried the handicapping, barrier draws and stewards' supervision at Milton Keynes . Leading bookmaker, I. Lovett, was heard to complain that horses associated with a colourful local identity always had the inside running despite poor form.
Punters became increasing reluctant to bet on events at Milton Keynes due to form reversals on what is a near perfect track. Purported quality gallopers would never "run-on", registering numerous minor placings where wins were expected.
On-course attendances were also poor despite its excellent amenities. Local punter, I. Blewett, said he thought there were better opportunities for everyone at Northampton.
This was hotly denied by Milton Keynes' president, Mr Joe King, who blamed adverse press instigated by a few strident critics of his glamorous club. He again confirmed that Milton Keynes still pays well over the odds and bonuses on losing bets.
"There comes a point when enough is enough" said Mr King, not about his strident critics, but as he prepares to step down before completion of his contract. It's understood he intends to pursue "other interests" and will forgo his reciprocal visits to Melbourne during its spring racing carnival in October.
On paper, that makes good sense for all concerned.
There are unsubstantiated rumours of converting the Milton Keynes property into a bordello. A leading local Madam refuted this saying that as a bordello, Milton Keynes was doomed to failure as even she couldn't make money with so much f'..n overhead.
QUIZ: For dyed-in-the-wool gamblers, like people who invest in PaperlinX, what are the connections or associations between the mighty Takeover Target and Andrew Price? Think about it.
Some clues here:
All about Takeover Target - cost $1,250 & won $6 million
For those who restrict their gambling to the turf, two film clips of the Wonder from Down Under follow.
Black Caviar's 21st consecutive win - The Goodwood
A taste of Black Caviar 4:40