Everyone familiar with the Lighthouse (except perhaps Mrs Lighthouse) knows that he lives for the triumph of the battler. This column’s winding journey over the past year has passed through stories of picnic trainers, elderly plodders, maiden trotters and unfashionable stallions that are eager but unloved.
It is with this spirit of giving the outsider a crack that I occasionally offer promising off Broadway tipsters the opportunity to reach for the stars and feature in my award winning column.
Recently I gave a young bloke, who many doubted, the chance to shine following a blockbusting performance in the famous Hyxy Saturday tipping comp.
Well, bugger me, didn’t that upset some people. My inbox has since been stuffed full of mail from whingers telling the Lighthouse that Red Hot Richo isn’t a tipper’s toenail and demanding their fifteen seconds of fame.
Take this one from “Apoplectic Alan” of Sydney who claims to be infallible and a Group 1 winning owner, and has recently found himself with extra time on his hands. Would you believe that he has threatened to shove the Lighthouse in a chaff bag and tow him out to sea if he doesn’t get a go this week instead of “that fraudulent clown, Red Faced Richo”. His words, not mine, Richo. I don’t think you’re fraudulent.
I’ve even been getting international pressure. “Helpful Habo” wrote from Amsterdam. “Dear Mr Lighthouse, I like your work very much, but I believe I could tip horses much better than that klootzak Richo. Here in the Netherlands I am famous for my success investing on the ancient Dutch sport of sjoelbak. Your horse racing must be easier than that. Regards, Helpful.”
Whoa there, guys. The Lighthouse will decide who tips in his column and the manner in which they will tip, not all you barnacles.
So this week while I’m not giving up on Red Hot Richo, I am placing him head to head with new guest tipster Frisky Dave. Frisky has provided documented evidence of holding the call in the Punters Club at the Tanti Hotel in Mornington for a record 6 weeks in a row.
Both have stuck to Flemington and stayed a bit conservative, but a winner is a winner.
RICHO”S SATURDAY CERTAINTIES
Flemington R5 King Of Hastings($3.80); R9 Beehunter($4.20)
FRISKY’S FLEMINGTON FLIERS
Flemington R4 Sikorsky($4.40); R9 Broadwayandfourth($5.50)
The Lighthouse has long been drawn to the optimism of those that continue to race seemingly perpetual maidens. Horses like veteran mares Costano Mille and Beau Dazzle that have both recently crept past 100 starts without success. Shit, even St Kilda has won one flag.
But a result in an 8 horse nonTAB Charleville maiden caught my roving eye last week. Whiskey Apple went into the race without a victory in 43 starts and just a handful of placings. Admittedly he was coming off a last start second and his trainer Mark Johnstone exuded confidence about his prospects in the local paper, so his breakthrough was not a huge surprise, but how does a 43 start maiden suddenly win a race by 18.8 lengths. Seriously, that is time for the jockey to dismount, weigh in and drain a stubby before the runner up greets the judge.
The Lighthouse, as he does, decided he needed an explanation. Usually when a trainer is a stranger to me, I head to the Australia Trainers Directory for their details. Well, call me shortsighted perhaps, but Johnno does not appear to be listed.
This has never happened to me before. I’ve found hermits in caves on that list, but couldn’t find someone who had 8 runners and trained a double last Saturday. Research has uncovered that he works during the week for the Shire of Murweh council. That may be my next move!
Last column the Lighthouse put a credit watch out on top stallion Zoustar, stating that while his first crop had been full of gems, his next 2 crops were not delivering at a level anywhere near commensurate with his inflated pricing. Well, who would have thought it but just 24 hours later Zoustar had his fee for the 2020 season lowered by $30,000. Coincidence – well probably yes, but I’m claiming it anyway.
I was surprised 2 weeks ago, having backed Starcaster at Flemington, to hear him win at Beaudesert the following day. Turns out there are two Starcasters. Both of them are 5yo geldings but one was born in the UK and has surprisingly been allowed to retain his UK name. Beware.
BENCHMARK 70 ZORADAMUS TIPS FOR SATURDAY
Some great racing on Saturday highlighted by the Group 1 Goodwood which boasts the best field any club has bought for $400,000 all season. Several of my long time benefactors go round in this and I can’t choose between 3 of them in Gytrash, Santa Ana Lane and Trekking, but probably in that order. The race does have a recent history of upsets though.
Dry tracks all round and feeling positive!
R1 Lankan Star($14) A repeat of last start can win this
R3 Florent($16) Looks well overs
R4 Sikorsky($4.40) With Frisky Dave on this one
R5 Causeway Girl($7.50) loves the straight track
R7 Kentucky Breeze($41), Carzoff($19) both capable of being in the finish
R8 Achernar Star($4.80) Ready to win
R9 Talented($16) I’ll eventually get her on the right day!
R4 Bandersnatch($9) Tough race but loved his work first up
R5 Lashes($3.50) Presuming L’Cosmo goes to later race
R8 Amangiri($5) Overcame difficulties last time
R2 Mongolian Wolf($4.20)
R6 Saffiano($7.50) On the up
R8 Hightail($5.50) no harder than last start
R3 Star Hills($15) Will be close up
R4 I’m A Legend($12) Great dry track record
R5 Bellx($9.50) Back to fillies grade
R6 Lamu($9) Distance ideal
R7 Vinland($14) Value starts with a V too
R9 Mystery Love($7), Street Icon($7.50) One of the two