Tradition is a wonderful part of racing.
While the three-day Warrnambool Carnival is party time for many the ‘Bool is a prime example of how our horse racing industry has developed and become ingrained into Australian culture.
Take a minute to think about it.
It‘s 1848, horses, horse and carts, donkeys and walking are the main means of transport. Local farmers, obviously horsemen with our competitive Aussie spirit, get together and organise a race meeting.
No plastic running rails, four-wheel drives or corporate marquees. They race on a makeshift track, formed on a couple 100 acre paddocks at Jetty Flat and from that first clash of thoroughbreds racing at Warrnambool was born.
Now, 170 years later, a total of around 30,000 are expected to attend the three days of racing at Warrnambool. The carnival has become a major highlight on the Australian racing calendar.
The feature race today is the Wangoom Handicap (1200m), widely known as the Newmarket of the Bush. Donkeys are pretty scarce in the area, so with history lesson over let’s get into finding a thoroughbred winner or four and have a crack at the Quaddie.
Trainer Darren Weir must surely have some ancestors in Warrnambool because he practically owns the joint every year. Weir saddles Sarkozy (3) and Allspice (6) with the latter his best chance in the first leg (Race 7). Honey Esprit (14) is a winner here and not disgraced in tougher company last start. Woulda Thought So (8) down in grade and nice third at Sandown last start.
Weir won last year’s Wangoom Handicap with Ulmann (1), but the gelding may struggle this time. Stablemates Handsome Thief (14) and Stellar Collision (2) deserve a spot in the top four. However, the Ciaron Maher trained Bons Away (5) looks the pea, good alley solid lead-up form and Ben Melham aboard. Working From Home (3) is a solid chance at odds.
It took Weir four races to win on opening day and he finished with four, so he now needs nine more winners to equal last year’s record breaking haul of 14.
"And those who back Weir can finally drink beer!"@DKWeirRacing gets off the mark with Night Falls.
— Racing.com (@Racing) May 1, 2018
In the third leg the top two in market order appear as the main chances, one there also for value. Weir’s stablemates Lucky For All (3) and Heavenly Thought (6) should fight it out. Timor Gold (7) a roughie, won here and then failed on heavy, but a soft 7 should not be a concern.
Not surprisingly the Weir trained Think Babe (7), a winner this track, heads betting for the final leg. Makatiti (14) ran a nice race last start and will be prominent from the rails draw. The Mood I’m In (6) won here two stars back. Fast Plan (9) has been consistent this prep’ and rounds out the quadi.