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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Racing Down Under: My Newest Obsession

After a long nerve-wracking week at work, I came home last night, took a nap and then got up ready to bet some races. Unfortunately, on a Friday night your choices are pretty limited: Delta Downs, Charles Town, and a bunch of harness tracks where the snows were a blowin’. My local cable company airs HRTV on Friday and Saturday nights (and sometimes on Tuesdays) and Australian racing is often on. All turf, sometimes running clockwise, sometimes counter-clockwise, with conditions rated “good”, “dead”, “slow”, “heavy”…what’s the difference? Completely a fish out of water, I logged on to my Twinspires account and waded right in. Thankfully they provide free past performances, but they look nothing like our Brisnet or DRF so it takes me awhile to get used to how to read it. There are no workout times or dates, just “barrier trials”? No Beyers or Bris numbers, but something called OzeSpeed figures. And their numbers almost never match their post positions. Well, let me tell you, completely winging it I had the most enjoying wagering experience ever!

They were running at Caulfield (“good”) and Rosehill (“heavy”), and I hit a winner on my very first try, Vision and Power in race 4 at Rosehill. Feeling pretty good about that, I tried an ambitious WPS bet on a longshot, Wave the Dollar, in race 5 at Rosehill…and he came in a winner! I also had some money at Caulfield on Lucky Diva who won race 6, Rubiscent who showed in the 7th, and El Mandon who finished third in race 8. Hey, this is pretty addictive! The on-air personalities were extremely knowledgeable, and their insights on the horses based on the track conditions were right on, which made my choices a little easier.

I had so much fun that I took a second shot at racing Down Under again tonight, this time at Gosford (“heavy”) and Bathurst (“dead”). Boom bada boom! At Bathurst, I had Istimaid for the win in race 2. At Gosford, I hit The Squawker to show in race 3, and Cassie’s Dream to place in race 4; in race 5, I won a modest show bet when Walking or Dancing slid into the third spot, but on my little yellow pad (I swear to God) I had listed Crown Willie, High Papa, Walking or Dancing, and Gairloch (6-10-2-13)…and they finished exactly that way for a $1 superfecta payout of $3,456.45 (would’ve, could’ve, should’ve, I know).

I still have virtually no idea how to interpret those Aussie pp’s, and have yet to discover if the tracks I bet on were the equivalent of Saratoga or Mountaineer, but my interest is definitely peaked. For a night owl like me, Australia racing is brilliant!


Teresa said...

Oh,Valerie, you violated one of the top ten betting rules: if you write it down, you MUST use it!

Sounds like fun, and congrats on the winnings....

Valerie said...

So true! But I was being conservative since it was such unknown territory.

You know, though, it was refreshing to simplify handicapping to some basic information: how they did last out, how they traditionally perform on a particular surface and how they looked in the warmup. I think the experience truly sharpened my visual handicapping skills most of all, which is cool. I knew almost nothing about their breeding lines, but it certainly got me curious. Nice big fields, for the most part, which led to nice payouts, and even those that weren't the short-odds favorites didn't often win so there was definitely money to be made. Very enjoyable!

AussieScott said...

Hi Valerie,
Gosford and Bathurst are country meetings in NSW, Australia. Pretty must in the class of Mountaineer or Turfway. But they do have top Grade races from time to time at Gosford. Rosehill and Caulfield are top city class racing, just like Saratoga, Belmont, Santa Anita etc...
Track readings go in the order of...
Good...Dead( slightly affected), Slow(getting worse), Heavy (very rain affected).
Regard Scott.
P.S I live in Western Australia :)

Valerie said...

Hi Scott!

Thank you so much for commenting. I was hoping to draw someone out :) I must tell you, I'm hooked! It seems rare to find one horse totally overpower the entire field in an Aussie race, although I'm sure there must be such occasions. Still, your racing is so competitive, with (usually) nice big fields. Can you tell me why, though, their numbers don’t usually match their post positions? Does it have something to due with their weight assignments? Also, would you recommend any online resources regarding top Aussie/New Zealand sires, and how their offspring handle different surfaces? Additionally, is there an online site that nicely breaks down all the Aussie tracks? I know that’s probably impossible since, now that I think about it, we don’t have anything similar about US tracks…I’m just so curious about the ins-and-outs of it all!

Thanks again for your imput, and please jump in any time!