Some time back the Lighthouse was listening to Adam White on RSN Radio in Melbourne, when he mentioned in conversation that he had recently played his 119th golf course. His fellow broadcasters seemed perplexed by this revelation, not because he had found so much time to hit the fairways when he was being paid to be watching preseason training at the Western Bulldogs, but because this poor man’s Bruce MacAvaney actually knew this statistic with an air of certainty.
I contemplated this matter recently over a beer and found myself seeing it Adam’s way on several fronts. Meticulous research is what separates elite analysts from the also rans, it’s a top arrangement to play golf on your employer’s dime, and finally it is essential in life to set and achieve goals.
So I did some personal numbers. Amazingly, in spite of my persistent golfing incompetence, this year’s Government sponsored Houndstooth Jacket Scottish tour, will bring me within sight of Adam’s lofty total, if I’m not pulled from these Group 1 courses immediately the marshals have seen my first tee shot.
More importantly though as a man who lives for the colour and movement of the racetrack, my research has delivered the shock news that I have visited less racetracks than golf courses.
I now have a direction in life, the New Year’s resolution I’ve been seeking for the last 30 years. Starting with Hanging Rock last week I now have an official mission to visit 100 different racetracks. I know Mrs Lighthouse will be as excited as I am when she reads this news.
ALL STAR MILE
Like many, the main interest the Lighthouse has in this race is the remote possibility that I can convert my racing knowledge into a fat cheque. With voting closing in 9 days, the time is right to turn my full mental capacities towards another dip at the $1/2mil public prizemoney.
Last year, discreetly using the accounts of Mrs Lighthouse and Lighthouse Jnr, the Lighthouse voted early and voted often. Promisingly two of my three entries, Mystic Journey and Mr Money Bags, made the final field with MJ snaffling the chocolates.
I’m somewhat hamstrung though by my long standing commitment to support the battler, whether it be the small trainer (Louise Bonella/Kylie Vella) or the unfashionably bred (Yulong January/Gold Fields). But equally when the rubber hits the road, I don’t want to piss my votes up against the wall on something that couldn’t win if it left the barriers now.
Soul Patch trained by Ken Keys at Cranbourne fits my criteria. Not raced since the Derby but looked a serious up and comer in the Spring. Just needs a few more of you to vote for him to get him in the race.
Mrs Lighthouse likely votes for Robbie Griffiths’ mare Fidelia if she runs well first up tomorrow. Not because I think she can win it, but because Robbie is a good bloke who has had a tough year healthwise.
Lighthouse Jnr is likely to go with Matthew Smith’s Fierce Impact who was so good to the Lighthouse in the Spring and who certainly can win it. Not sure if you have to be 18 to win the cash but if her name is drawn, I’m sure Lighthouse Jr has an ID hidden somewhere in her bedroom that says she is!
My reserves if things go haywire on the weekend are the Kiwis Melody Belle and Catalyst.
LIGHTHOUSE HORSE OF THE WEEK – MILDRED
The Lighthouse has a 15yo dog called Mildred. Mildred the 2yo horse has won 3 of her first 4 starts at friendly odds. Mildred the dog’s expensive heart tablets are now paid for well into the future!
RACING THIS SATURDAY
After a dodgy effort last time Zoradamus has gone to get some defective programming repaired on her crystal ball racing module. Something about continuously getting interference from the trots module she tells me.
This week we have Group 1 racing from Caulfield, squillion dollar Inglis Sales races from somewhere in Sydney and on Sunday Gai Waterhouse makes her annual assault on the Hobart Cup with Taikomochi.
Deluges are currently underway in Sydney and Brisbane. While we may not race at all in Sydney, Brisbane racing, regardless of how much rain falls, will go ahead on the newly refurbished Eagle Farm track.
This track drains so spectacularly that climate scientists have recently determined that when global sea levels eventually rise to flood Australia, the last place on the continent where you will be able to stand and have your feet remain dry will be the home straight at Eagle Farm.
R1 King of Leogrance($7) Second Aussie prep, great first up last time in.
R2 Score($13) Strong race, but real improver who was great last time.
R3 Fresh and R4 Rulership – Back both to win fixed odds closer to start time and protect yourself with Sportsbet money back for 2nd or 3rd offer.
R8 Fierce Impact($9.50) Set to take up where he left off in the Spring. Very good horse.
Quaddie – 1st Leg 2,4,5,10; 2nd leg 5,10; 3rd leg 2,3,4,12; 4th leg 5,6,7,8,9
SYDNEY – Big chance they won’t race. If they do could be Warwick Farm or Rosehill. Too tough to tip this far out.
R3 Whykayoh ($5) Beat decent field last time. Just needs cover in the run.
R6 Spectroscope($8) Finally gets the wet track he’s been looking for.
R9 Winter Passage($6) Handles wet; never runs badly.