Australia’s most prestigious thoroughbred race has been decided in the stewards’ room with State Of Rest winning the $5 million WS Cox Plate after surviving a protest.
There are three ways how not to lose on Saturday. You know the first two. A: Don’t have a bet. Something unexpected is bound to win.
B. Back the winner. Lots of experts are telling you who this will be. Some of them might be right.
The third way is to not to treat your bet as an investment but rather as what the economists call ‘discretional expenditure’. If you buy a drink or a meal at the races you don’t expect to get a refund afterwards or double your money.
It’s the same if you buy a ticket to a concert. Money spent, entertainment provided. Some concerts, like some bets, are more rewarding than others.
Think of your bet as a spend. The money is gone before the race begins. It’s out of your pocket, into theirs. Your reward is that you get a horse to barrack for, and a jockey to blame if it doesn’t go so well.
I’m not addressing my comments to those of you who are mad professional punters or gambling addicts. You need to sort yourselves out in your own good time.
In my experience the only punters who honestly and consistently (I mean over a space of years) make any sort of profit from racing are those who devote themselves to it full-time as an occupation. For them it is a job, a treadmill as rewarding to them as banking to bankers, stocks and shares to brokers. Like brokers, they have no guarantees.
Maybe you can tell me differently. But be honest about your losses.
The dreary messages you find on toilet walls at Pub TABs and casinos – the printed messages I mean – send the wrong information to those who have a gambling problem.
They say, ‘Set Yourself a Limit’ or ‘Walk Away’, illustrated by pictures of defeat.
I would prefer a more positive line. Budget ahead for a day. X dollars for clothes. X dollars for transport and admission, or club membership. X dollars for food and drink. X dollars for bets. Call it for what it is, a day at the races.
Also I would remove the word ‘investment’ from the betting lexicon. Ten-to-one isn’t an investment, it’s a gamble. Even-money equates to 100 per cent interest.
Odds-on favourites have never been an investment either, except maybe Black Caviar.
Two more helpful rules. Bet in cash. It’s more fun if ever you get a payout, getting all those colourful notes, and it’s easier to notice when you’ve spent your stash.
Rule two. Bet with your money. Gamble with theirs.
No, I don’t mean embezzle it. Have a big plonk only when you are in front, certainly never when you think you can retrieve a loss.
If ever I have a big win – I can remember it happening once or twice – I put at least half aside to spend on something specific. Hence the At Talaq outdoor furniture setting, which is way past replacement. Some of the other half might go on a splurge on a quaddie.
When that loses, it’s back to the discretionary budget.
So, how to spend wisely my X dollars on the 2014 Caulfield Cup?
First of all can I vent my spleen, whatever that means, on the recent practice of running the – let’s give it its full official name – Crown Golden Ale Caulfield Cup at the witching hour of 5.40pm.
Queenslanders can be grateful for the one advantage of shunning daylight saving. For them will be 4.40pm. In Perth it will be at the civilised hour of 2.40pm.
Presumably the idea is that the crowd at Caulfield will be so well primed by Race 9 that they will throw caution and money to the wind. Who will remember my wise old betting advice by 5.40pm?
At least this year it’s not the last race. They have another at 6.15pm.
Which way will we go? Each method is tried and true. The Japanese way? Eye Popper was beaten only by Railings in the sad 2005 Caulfield Cup when Mummify broke down. Delta Blues announced his quality with a third the following year. So we can expect Admire Rakti and the (Irish bred) Bande to run well. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Bande has been scratched this very morning. Sorry Andrew!)
The Lloyd Williams way? Whichever one you pick, the other will win. Green Moon is a very fine racehorse.
The wall-to-wall Waller way? Once, in 1919, a trainer produced the Caulfield Cup trifecta – before they had trifectas. Richard Bradfield trained the previous year’s winner too, not to mention four Melbourne Cup successes. Why is his name all but forgotten today?
If I had to pick one from the Waller mob I’d go for Hawkspur who had no luck in this race last year, and has Oliver as rider now.
The Gai way? The Offer was a hot early pick for the Melbourne Cup, and he should finish very close.
The imported Botti way? Seismos we have not seen, but he’s good. Renew as fourth emergency is unlikely to run. Dandino won lots of fans, including me, with his unlucky Caulfield Cup run last year. Now he’s unlucky again, by drawing the outside barrier.
Craig Williams will need to replicate his 2012 win on Dunaden to have a chance on Dandino. I’m still not sure whether to credit Williams or Dunaden for that effort but it was a sensational win.
The Hayes way? His English import Stipulate has had a year to acclimatise and showed a liking for Caulfield – very important, in my book – when he won a 1700 metre handicap here in a fast time at the end of August. Unchain My Heart won’t get a run. [Oh yes he will! See comments below.]
Who have I forgotten? Oh yes, the favourite, Lucia Valentina. Last Saturday’s impressive winner Big Memory. Gris Caro who won the Naturalism Stakes here on 20 September. Dear Demi, the gay deceiver: she tricked me into backing her in last year’s Melbourne Cup after finishing third in the Caufield race. Rising Romance, the promising, lightly-raced New Zealand mare to be ridden by the brilliant James McDonald.
Finally there’s the Moody way, and that’s where my vote goes.
On times and weights compared with the Turnbull Stakes, first emergency Brambles should be able to beat Lucia Valentina. Brambles made all the pace in that race.
He also beat Big Memory in a 1700-metre race in fast time at Flemington just two starts ago. He meets Big Memory at much better weights by comparison. I like the fact that Brambles won the three big races for three-year-olds in Brisbane in 2012, just as Hawkspur did in 2013.
Ah, but will Brambles get a run? Is this the tip of a classic fence-sitter? I wouldn’t wish misfortune on any of the runners. So I suppose if Brambles doesn’ start I’ll have to bet on stablemate Lidari who had his early career in France.
But don’t worry, it won’t be an investment, just a bet. Whatever happens, I won’t be losing on Saturday.