Well, here in Melbourne, we’re back in lockdown with Vics now seemingly as welcome in the rest of the country as a fart in a space suit. Not only are our people unwanted, but heavens to Murgatroyd, even our horses are now banned interstate.
All is not lost though. Even us lepers can still have a punt and whether it be Rosehill or Home Hill this Saturday there are puzzles to unpick and winners to be found.
Last week Channel 9 news interviewed 104 year old Betty Kerr working out in a Melbourne gym. What keeps her so fit and mentally active I thought? Well it’s good news for all of us. Turns out Betty’s secret ingredient is a daily punt on the ponies.
Tipping experience like that is nearly impossible to find these days, so with Zoradamus facing retrenchment, I contacted Betty offering her the prestigious position of Lighthouse tipster.
Betty said that while she appreciated the offer, having read my columns she’d prefer a position which gave her greater long term job security. Disappointing response.
The Lighthouse is always hunting for the battler that beats the odds, or at least has given it a red hot crack, and this week I’ve been noticing the good work of Maschino.
With just 3 tiny crops on the track, this fellow somehow sits in the top 20 sires for most stakes races won in Australia this season, and all off an early service fee of under 3k. How is it possible I ruminated?
Only way to find out was to call an unsuspecting John Andrew, proprietor of Alwyn Park Stud at Serpentine, south of Perth and home of Maschino.
John and his wife Sandra have owned Alwyn Park since 1980. For many years they successfully bred, raised, and broke in horses for themselves and others at the property, but resisted standing a stallion.
Caulfield Guineas winner Palace Reign, a horse that John raised and broke in before he headed east to his highly successful racing career with David Hayes, was to break that resistance, when owner Mike Scaffidi eventually twisted John’s arm.
While Palace Reign did OK, unfortunately breeder enthusiasm for Palace Reign declined long before Palace Reign’s enthusiasm for breeding did. Although retired from commercial service nearly 15 years ago, the frisky old rascal, now rising 31, still has an appetite for love and remains happily at Alwyn Park working as the resident teaser.
Maschino arrived at Alwyn Park without any real expectation of commercial success. He ticked plenty of boxes of course – quality pedigree on both sides, outstanding physical type, placid temperament and talented racehorse. John’s main concerns were the jury still being out on Encosta De Lago as a sire of sires, and that Maschino had only raced in WA, something frequently undervalued by local breeders.
You need a good one early and his tiny first crop produced flying mare Fabergino, who recently made an exciting hit run visit to Flemington. But she has been no fluke as 4 blacktype winners and 2 placegetters from 1000m to 2400m from just 29 runners this season shows.
And others are starting to take notice. At the Perth Magic Milions sale this year John sold a full brother to good mare Snowchino for $140,000, the highest price he has achieved in over 40 years at the Perth sales.
John told me that Maschino is a gentleman and that anyone can handle him. In fact, he says he is almost too sensitive with the ladies and can easily be distracted from his work by any movement or resistance from his partner.
At $6600 Maschino is still cheap by east coast standards. With his patronage now reaching commercial levels and leading local trainers now buying into his stock, his best is almost certainly yet to come.
For all the science applied to breeding, its outcomes like Maschino that give all us low budget breeders hope. In recent years sires like I Am Invincible and Written Tycoon have defied modest expectations to achieve greatness. Maybe, and who knows why, Maschino has that kind of talent.
LIGHTHOUSE TRAINER OF THE YEAR UPDATES
Exciting work from Lighthouse trainer of the year noms in the past fortnight.
Donna Scott brought the rejuvenated Lord Von Costa down from Albury to Flemington to claim black type over his favourite straight 1200. While she won’t be able to do that again for the foreseeable future, that may not matter, as he’s now aimed for the Kosciuszko at Randwick in October.
Lindsay Gough earnt black type with come back galloper Right Or Wrong at Doomben and back to the soft and his favourite Sunshine Coast track this Saturday, he’s a real chance to finally grab that long awaited black type win. Amazingly at this very meeting 5 years ago he ran 4th to Winx in the race where the legendary mare began her winning streak.
And some big Bryce watch news. Some doubters, not the Lighthouse of course, have been heard saying that Bryce is gone and may never train another winner. Well Bryce stuck it right up the doubters when the well supported Faltonius took his maiden at Geelong. Bryce promptly thought Faltonius was now Phar Lap and took him to Sandown where he finished out the back at 100/1. Last fortnight – 14 runners (again!), one winner, one second and 12 starting at 80/1 plus and finishing after dark.
Cult hero Frisky Dave remains on board. Last time out his exclusive long shot selection Territory Titan was scratched to take on an easier assignment at Bordertown the following day. He won that by the length of the straight and has since towelled them up at Naracoorte. Bloody shame he was withdrawn on the Saturday – I think Frisky was on to something.
Caulfield R7 Jungle Edge($4.40)
Sunshine Coast R4 Fabulonh($5)
Caulfield R2 Miss Iano($10)
After a disappointing month, I’ve decided to let Zoradamus go. Even with the Jobkeeper subsidy she was becoming a liability. And she is also difficult to work with.
So this week I’ll do it myself.
R3 Strategic Phil($9.50)/Kaplumpich($8); R4 Travimyfriend($11); R5 Leale($21)
R6 Carnamah($12); R8 Knowles($15)
R4 Café Royal($10); R7 Trumbull($3.90); R8 Kordia($3)