John Harms on Guineas Day

No doubt this piece is being read in the far-flung corners of the continent. TattsBet with its delightful Queensland, South Australian, Territorian and Tasmanian heritages reaches across the continent, so you may well be sitting in Cairns or Alice or Wynyard or way out there at Port Lincoln.

Well, let me tell you what it’s like here in Melbourne as we get ready for the Spring Carnival. It’s cold. It’s just hailed. It snowed in the Adelaide Hills yesterday, and that weather is coming our way.

It was Spring for a couple of days, but that’s gone. It’s about 25/1 to return in the next 72 hours. Yet, we’re still in Spring mode.

Walk around the suburban high streets and nail shops are doing a huge trade, over-worked hairdressers look knackered, there are hats in the shops, and big signs everywhere, “SPRAY TANS HERE” and “ARE YOU CARNIVAL-READY”.

There will be a lot of chicken-skin tomorrow at The Heath for the famous Caulfield Guineas Day meeting. And, no, I am not ready.

I do have my shirt ironed and my tie selected (Uni of Queensland CC circa 1980), but I will be very rusty on the punt, cleaning out the pipes that have been filled with footy punting all winter. But at least we have some funds. Not as much as the bookies have after Hawthorn did the right thing by them I might add. I’m told that would have been a bad result for them.

But that’s why we got the good price on Sydney, as the price-makers worked hard to balance a very lop-sided book.

Guineas Day is always a ripper with fine racing on the day, and much to gather and digest in preparation for the coming weeks.

A lot of short-priced favourites run around in small fields, as some of the stars have scared off their rivals. It could be a day for the multis.

Pierro is the shortest of them in the Guineas. He’s a star. Enough said.

In the Caulfield Stakes the Kiwi visitor Ocean Park is also short. He was very, very good in the Underwood. He won impressively, with a brilliant turn of foot, and all that despite having to zig-zag up the Caulfield straight like Billy Slater. He’s only had one go on the slow without success so that may be a knock. But Glen Boss thinks he is Cox Plate material which says something.

In the Schillaci the favourite Buffering should have every chance from the front, but don’t discount the hopes of one of my old favourites, the Queenslander Temple of Boom. I can see him being tucked away awkwardly in the running, which is a concern. But he won’t have spent a penny, and if things go his way: Boom Boom. He just needs the split. Great first-up record. Good on wet tracks. Each-way special.

In the Toorak More Joyous is favourite. She is both outstanding and reliable. She never runs a bad race. She’s won six in a row again, but this will test her. She has to lump 60kg around and there are few around the 52-keg mark who might make a race of it. She is one to add to the multi, but it you can spot a sneaky with burst at the end you could find some value. I’m going to have a nibble at Steps In Time at good odds, each way.

So to the Herbert Power which can have an impact on the Cups, and certainly on Cups betting. Who will forget Shocking labouring behind Alcopop in this event a few years ago! (Cost me the quaddie) I’m being urged into one here. I have a number of mad mates who stay up to ridiculous hours following the nags in Germany and France and the great tracks of the Old Dart. They are spruiking this Gatewood. Indeed, the expression is, “They’re all over it.”

Being of feeble disposition on most things, especially the five-foot putt, I am going to fall into their mail and back this nag. I think that’s called “on trust”.

Anyway, we’ll have plenty of the folding by the last which means we can load up on Cabernet just so we have an excuse to purchase a few bottles from the winnings.
Good punting folks, wherever you are. If you’re in the far north, good luck to you. If you’re going to the track I have one tip for Caulfield, wear your mittens.