Home » ‘She’s just about the bet of the year’

‘She’s just about the bet of the year’

News Corp Australia’s national racing editor Matt Williams and senior racing writer Ben Dorries chat all things horse racing.

Matty (left) and Benny (right) love chewing the fat about racing and punting.

MW: Benny, what’s going on with all these postponed or abandoned meetings around Australia due to track safety? There seems to be a heap of race day inspections leading to meetings being called off because jockeys are deeming the tracks unsafe. It’s happening a lot in Victoria and South Australia. Surely, there are protocols in place for officials to undertake proper track inspections the day prior so it doesn’t waste everyone’s time and money? Track safety has never been more paramount, and you can’t blame the jockeys for erring on the side of caution. Clearly, there are systems breaking down.

BD: Racing is an outdoor sport. They can’t put covers over a racetrack. Having said that, it’s not good enough that participants aren’t being given enough advance warning that tracks are potentially too waterlogged or just not up to scratch. In Queensland, there have been instances of jockeys and trainers travelling hundreds of kilometres, only to get there and for it to be called off when Stevie Wonder could’ve seen they were never going to race. I’ll tell you what else I’m sick of — change of tactics notifications that are shouted from the rooftops by stewards every second race. Why do trainers have to advise changes of tactics to stewards? It doesn’t happen in any other sport. Can you imagine Collingwood having to tell Essendon their tactics before a game, or South Sydney advising the Brisbane Broncos how they were going to play? And before you say it’s about protecting the punter, you can bet on those sports too. It’s the most stupid rule in racing, marginally ahead of jockeys being fined for celebrating before they cross the line.

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Autumn Angel beats Zardozi (right) and Orchestral (left) in the Australian Oaks. She will run in the Rough Habit Plate on Saturday.

MW: I hate to be the bearer of bad news for multi and same game multi lovers, but it’s no wonder some bookies are making a killing. Some of the ridiculous bets I stumble across on social media pages make me shake my head. Given that all market percentages are set at over 100 per cent, every leg you’re taking is under the true odds. You multiply a few legs together, and your chances of winning become smaller and smaller. Even if you do jag one, you’ve taken gross unders. It’s no wonder multis are so heavily promoted. It’s a license to print money for the bookies. Plus, who can be bothered sitting through multiple races or games of footy to get a result? Give me a 297m race at Dapto anytime. My motto is: If you’re going to lose … lose it fast!

BD: A smart bookie (G’day Gerard Daffy) told me years ago that your chances of losing are multiplied many times if you take a multi with more than two legs. It’s amazing how many bite the dust. I’m just about done with quaddies too. They lure you in with the potential of a small investment for a big return. Then you’re counting your cash after getting two $30 pops up in the first two legs, only to be done by a $4 chance you’ve left out of the third leg. The liquidity/strength of quaddie pools also worries me given the amount of punters betting into them through the corporates rather than the TAB.

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Jamie Kah wins The Goodwood on Benedetta. Picture: Makoto Kankeko

MW: How good is Jamie Kah going? She’s already landed five Group 1s in 2024. None of them were favourites. It’s remarkable given she was fighting for her life only 14 months ago. She took three months to get going, but she’s now riding as good as anyone in the world. It shouldn’t be lost on people that she, and all other female jockeys, compete on a level playing field with the boys. She’s an incredible athlete with a unique gift. Racing is simply better when J.Kah is flying.

BD: We should be cheering loudly for Kah’s mount, Autumn Angel, in Saturday’s Rough Habit Plate at Doomben, given our big boss Peter Blunden is a part-owner. She’s $4 to win the Queensland Derby against the boys a fortnight later, and that’s where she’s heading as it’s 2400m, opposed to the 2200m Oaks. She’s clear favourite to win the Rough Habit but may need it longer, and she’ll surely be better at the wide open expanses of Eagle Farm? Port Lockroy for the Neasham stable and my man Sir Owen Glenn (I’m heading to the moon with him – read about it here – has a big chance).

* Tips, runner-by runner analysis: Group 1 Doomben 10,000

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Private Eye (left) runs second to Imperatriz in the Lightning.

MW: Autumn Angel simply wins. Don’t worry about barrier 14 (comes into 11 if the emergencies come out), she’s just about the bet of the year. She’s got panels on this lot, plus she gets 2kg off the boys. The Doomben 10,000 has got more interesting with I Wish I Win drawing barrier 1. J-Mac has two options. Stick to the fence and try and get a run in the straight, or try and get him off the rails at some stage before the home turn, which is unlikely around Doomben. It looks tricky. He’s the best horse in the race, but he’s only won once in his last six runs. Odds-on is silly. He’s more a $2.60-$2.70 chance in my book. Private Eye and Bella Nipotina can beat him. Private Eye will stalk and get clear running from gate 6, while Bella gets the perfect run from barrier 3. She probably needs it a bit wetter, but as we’ve seen at The Valley, a tight turning track will suit her racing style.

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BD: The bet is Private Eye each-way, with more the place. I’ll dress up as Santa Claus and deliver some early Christmas goodies if PE doesn’t run top three. In the Spirit Of Boom Classic, Clinton McDonald’s Angel Capital looks the real deal. But first time around Doomben can bring a lot of raw colts undone. I’m keen to follow Kelly Schweida’s two-year-old filly El Morzillo throughout the carnival. She was unlucky in the Inglis Millennium earlier this year. And then, wowee, watch her most recent run in the Percy Sykes. She was surging home and a stride or two more and she would’ve beaten Eneeza, and Golden Slipper winner Lady Of Camelot. She’ll do me.