Scone tops the list of favourite tracks

The Sportsman Weekend            13 Dec 2019        @NeilEvansmail NEIL EVANS

See: https://www.pressreader.com/australia/the-sportsman-weekend/20191213/281496458168438

TWO more Saturdays before Santa weighs in and let’s reflect on the tracks that can make you most money.

Of course punters, big and small, all have their favourites and the wonderful game can never be an exact science but having scrutinised and absorbed every track in NSW, here is where I love to go.

Weighing up the primary factors – patterns, reliability, durability, recovery and most importantly fewer across-the board hard luck stories – here are my top five punting tracks in NSW:

  1. Scone, 2. Wagga, 3. Dubbo, 4. Canterbury, 5. Rosehill.

As you can see, the most common denominator is the long straight with Canterbury the only course with a shorter run home making the list, primarily because of its outstanding ability to play reasonably fair from good to heavy.

Scone’s biggest advantage is that lovely gradual sweeping turn from the 700m which means riders can exercise all important ‘cover’ for longer and horses remain more composed and tractable because the turn is far less abrupt.

The course, in my opinion, brings runners to their peak more often and it’s no surprise today’s special Christmas meeting drew a staggering 122 acceptors for the eight races.

Both Wagga and Dubbo have terrific long runs in but the turn is a little sharper and horses are more likely to lug off track. That said, particularly in Dubbo’s case, it does open up more accessible gaps for those buried away back on the inside.

Pattern reliability is the overwhelming factor. You could argue there are other metro, provincial and country layouts not too dissimilar but on many of those, the pattern can often be different from one meeting to next, even sometimes on the same rating.

Scone seemingly rewards superior horses and riders more often. This year’s outstanding Cup Dark Jewel Classic Carnival was testament to that.

On pure form depth and quality, with so many immediately going on to win blacktype races in Sydney and Brisbane, I still rate those two days in early May as the highest quality country-based racing at any time in Australia’s history.

As for the Big Smoke, yes Canterbury’s size means there are hard luck stories but the surface across the board is almost without peer.

Rosehill to me is superior to Randwick because of all round reliability – it can boast more days when the winners have come from front, middle and back.

Melody Belle (NZ) & Manto

Melody Belle (NZ) & Manto (GB)

Acknowledge: Brian Russell & ‘Australian Thoroughbred 2019’

Featured Image: ‘Trenton’ by ‘Musket’ (See below)

Melody Belle is the winner of 10 Group I Races (9 in NZ) including the 2019 running of the Empire Rose Stakes (1600 metres). She was also runner up in the L K S Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington to Magic Wand one week later.

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White Park: The Memories

White Park: The Memories

Acknowledge: Harley Walden (the author)

Featured Image: White Park as Harley Walden recalled it; and so beloved by him

The racetrack dominates with the Rodeo Ground in the centre. Centre left is the No. I cricket oval which was very highly regarded by aficionados. No. 2 oval is in the far left corner near the Golf Club clubhouse.

Prologue (WPH)

White Park was fundamental in the life of Harley Walden. His principle passion was the Race Club but clearly the whole ambience resonated powerfully throughout his long innings. He considered White Park to be the spiritual home of the Scone Race Club. He called his historical tribute ‘The Spirit Within’. It’s a most apposite title. For his generation and even before ‘The Park’ was the very epicentre of recreational activity for the citizens of Scone. Harley made the most of it; and this little tribute is an ornament to his written memorial.

There is a metal plaque on the right hand brick column (on entry), one of two which suspend the wrought iron gates referred to by Harley below. The people of Scone are eternally and perennially grateful for the munificent benefaction of Mr A G White of ‘Belltrees’. The plaque states:

Presented to the people of Scone as a Recreation Reserve by:

A G White Esq

Belltrees

White Park

And officially opened for this purpose

*9th June 1924*

 

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Scone Cup Ring In 2019

Scone Cup Ring In 2019

Featured Image: Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Critto of the Hawks Nest Caliphate returns to Scone for the Scone Races Darley Cup Presentation in 2019! This is Group I gatecrashing at its very best!

Alan Crittenden (‘Critto’) is featured second from the left on the rostrum wearing cloth cap with a fellow Hawks Nest ‘intruder’. The official party are blissfully unaware that neither ‘Critto’ nor his mate had anything at all to do with the running of the race or were associated in any way with any starter; least of all the winner! The Darley/Godolphin supremo presentation group includes Vin Cox (GM), Alastair Pulford (SRC President) and Ross Cole (Company Secretary). I doubt even media host Gary Harley guessed at the identity and/or legitimacy of the intrepid interlopers? There’s also a fabulous photo of the Hawks Nest duo with the winning owners of ‘Special Missile’ holding the Cup! It was a big day out for the boys from the beach!

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Digests From World Turf Writers (1950)

Digests From World Turf Writers (1950)

The following vignettes are taken directly from ‘Thoroughbreds’: The Stud Breeders’ Magazine Volume 1 Number 1: Souvenir Issue 1950. They are ‘dated’ but might still throw some light on the inexact dilemma of breeding superior thoroughbreds; even today?

Featured Image: ‘Nasrullah’ (See the article ‘Right’ below) at ‘Spendthrift’ KY

See: http://sconevetdynasty.com.au/thoroughbreds-magazine-1950/

Prologue

Many notable breeders of yesteryear postulated their own pet theories of ‘inheritance of ability’ in thoroughbred horses. F K ‘Darby’ Mackay posited that there was what he called an ‘Electric Spark’ factor which came through in some individuals. He was an ardent student of both Mendelian Genetics and Charles Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species’. He was the person who once challenged me with the enigmatic conundrum of ‘What Makes a Good Horse’; and conversely ‘What Makes a Horse Good’! I’ll report back later (if I ever solve the riddle).

Both Colin McAlpine (Eureka Stud) and Colin Hayes (Lyndsay Park Stud) debated the concept of the ‘Energy Gene’ which I think might have been directly analogous with Darby Mackay’s ‘Electric Spark’ factor? There is no single simple answer but the following might help?

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Vow And Declare 2019

Vow And Declare 2019

It can still be done! Hearty congratulations to Kitchwin Hill Stud and connections.

See: https://www.sconeadvocate.com.au/story/6476695/its-so-exciting-for-everyone-malone/?fbclid=IwAR32RnKix4M67VlTzn5AzSPXB3fjx32lLADNuZMkWDLRd1rPvA5NcKZ0xtM

Featured Image: Stud staff at Kitchwin Hills celebrating a ‘win for the ages’ by locally bred Vow And Declare in the 2019 Melbourne Cup

Acknowledge ‘The Scone Advocate’ Facebook

I think this is the first since Subzero in 1992? Perhaps I should leave it there?

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Stanley Wootton @ Bondi

Stanley Wootton @ Bondi

Just when you think it’s all been written and said about Stanley Wootton something seminal happens to remind you of his enduring influence. The inaugural Bondi Stakes run at Royal Randwick on Saturday 26th October 2019 was the most recent shining example. No-one tells the tale quite like Brian Russell can. The following is taken from his latest ‘Australian Thoroughbred Review’ distributed to over 5000 online subscribers.

Featured Image: Stanley Wootton at ‘Baramul’ in 1964 fully resplendent in ‘Bombay Bloomers’ which would not have been out of place at Bondi Beach (Acknowledge ‘The Star Kingdom Story’ by Peter Pring; The Thoroughbred Press, Sydney)

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At Home with the Queen’s Cup

At Home with the Queen’s Cup

Filed in Just In, Sports Just In by Elizabeth Flaherty October 24, 2019

Featured Image: Dr John Paradice, David Paradice and Bobbie Paradice, with the Queen’s Cup

See: https://www.scone.com.au/at-home-with-the-queens-cup/

You should read this; it’s a fabulous Scone story! I’ll leave it there. Thank you Liz Flaherty!

David Paradice was the ‘gap year jackaroo’ at Widden in the late 1970s. Owner Bim Thompson was Principal with George Asimus in charge of Stud Cattle (Santa Gertrudis). Steve Fairhall and ‘pommy jackaroo’ the Hon Henry Plumptre were the other stud staff. Stallions included Vain (1), Bletchingly (3) and Lunchtime; not a bad trifecta! The first two were both Champion Sires. I was the visiting veterinarian. They were enlightening times! David and Henry have both ‘scaled the heights’ in their own elevated stratospheres

Star Kingdom Last Link

Star Kingdom Last Link

Featured Image: Star Kingdom taking his daily exercise at ‘Baramul’

Acknowledge ‘The Star Kingdom Story’ (Thoroughbred Press) by Peter Pring

Not long after her 100th birthday in August 2019 Mrs Connie Phillips passed away ‘unheralded’ at the Strathearn Village Nursing Home (‘HammondCare’) in Scone. Mrs Phillips would have regularly witnessed the great stallion ‘strutting his stuff’ in the pristine surrounds at ‘Baramul’.

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Professor David Robert Hutchins (“Prof”) OAM BVSc, Hon DVSc, FANZCVS

Professor David Robert Hutchins (“Prof”) OAM BVSc, Hon DVSc, FANZCVS

Featured Image: Frontispiece of the Memorial Service Brochure @ Kingston Town Room (Level 4), Queen Elizabeth II Stand, Royal Randwick Racecourse, Friday 27th September 2019

“A Celebration of an Exceptional Life”: “Prof” Dave Hutchins

It was an epic on a herculean scale. The setting was perfect and the hospitality exquisite. Who would have expected any less? Dr Treve Williams was the erudite ever-sartorial eloquent Master of Ceremonies; perfectly cast for the role. Treve was very much on home turf only marginally handicapped by recent bilateral knee replacement surgery. It didn’t stop him performing his duties as perfect gentleman. Treve paid colossal tribute to the enormous contribution made by “Prof” to the Randwick Equine Centre (REC) following forced age-related retirement from his academic position(s). It set the scene. Daughter Mrs Hellen House and grandson Mr Lachlan House followed with passionately emotive encomiums to their respectively much beloved father and grandfather. Treve had to apply the ‘rearing bit’ to both Dr Meg Brownlow and Dr Eileen Rogan who waxed eloquently on their association with “Prof” as his ‘special girl interns’ at the Rural Veterinary Centre, Camden. His exceptional professional qualities and finely honed skills made an enormous impression on both and by default almost everyone else in the room. Current EVA President Dr Sam Nugent delivered a succinct account of “Prof’s” mammoth contribution to the Equine Veterinary Profession in Australia and elsewhere. I counted many Past Presidents of the AEVA/EVA. My main problem was putting names to faces in so many cases! It was both an honour and privilege to be there.

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