COX PLATE DAY IN DECLINE
If ever a Racing Club needs to be held accountable for its decision making, surely the Moonee Valley Race Club is the standout candidate – unanimously.
In its search for relevance in Melbourne’s successful spring carnival landscape and roadmap, the Moonee Valley Race Club appears to have lost the plot through a series of decisions which appear to be a combination of desperation, appalling planning and a downright knee jerk reaction not be left behind their envied premier race club, the VRC.
The back to back so-called two day Cox Plate carnival is complete overkill. It is Moonee Valley being trampled in the rush to be part of the “carnival” phenomenon which appears to have taken control of Victorian racing administrators like a contagious virus.
The whole concept is completely flawed as we pointed out when it was first mooted early last year. The naysayers who were conspicuous by their absence and internal fortitude to take a stand against this ill-conceived concept are now slowly crawling out of the woodwork to “bag” it.
The cheer squad led by some radio commentators on that gawdawful Melbourne racing radio station Radio Sport National with those horribly cornball fucking promo spots, appear now to be having second thoughts. Don’t be bloody fools, indeed.
They now seem to be putting a Black Caviar-like distance from their meaningless “lets try something new to energize racing” mentality that led them to enthusiastically support the “put the best race on last” concept which is almost drowning in the chorus of disapproval from anyone who knows a grain of salt about racing. Giddyup, Australia, indeed.
The back to back “carnival” has clearly diluted the Cox Plate program from a quality race day with strong field sizes attracting close to the best of the best. Not so in 2012 and in 2013 with the Cox Plate race day suffering from the Group One Manikato Stakes, a Group 2 and Listed race migrating to the Friday night and three nondescript races replacing them on Cox Plate day.
To make matters even worse the Group One Manikato Stakes which featured arguably the world’s best sprinter, Hong Kong’s Lucky Nine, was run at the ridiculous time of 10pm, just 10 hours before gates opened for the ten race Cox Plate program the next day. Think we’re all fucking insomniacs, Sherlock?
If racing wants to showcase its best horses and win over both the sea of sceptics and disinterested, common sense would suggest that the best races with the best horses be run when they can actually capture the attention of racing and non-racing folk alike. Ten o’clock on a Friday night is hardly the right timeslot. It sends the wrong message and devalues a Group One race.
Over to Saturday, and from personal experience, this year’s Cox Plate atmosphere lacked the intensity and expectation that the race traditionally creates among punters and non-punters alike.
The Cox Plate has always been a highlight in the spring, but talking to some our fellow travellers and our Melbourne mates, the winds of change are gathering momentum and we’re not certain whether they are for the better.
Running the Cox Plate as the last race on the program and including some very nondescript races earlier on the day of a dubious quality is not the blueprint for the very special day that befits the staging of Australasia’s greatest weight for age classic.
It is almost anti-climactic, the victory walk down the straight a complete non-event as were the presentations and victory speeches.
It also totally ruined jockey Chad Schofield’s greatest day yet- and wasn’t fair on the kid who looks like being a solid role model to other apprentices. He didn’t deserve that. He deserved far more.
No sooner had the race been run and there was an insane Usain Bolt-like race to the exits to get away from the Valley. Things to do, places to go to, people to dance with.
Our mates could not wait to get away from the course and escape the long taxi queues and the familiar congregation of intoxicated losers around the gates and on their way to smash themselves into total oblivion at the nearest watering hole at Dame Edna’s favourite suburb.
The Club’s review of the Cox Plate will no doubt talk up “wagering and public interest” and the usual suspects will pat themselves on their colloquial backs and continue to seek solace trotting out the tired old clichés of having to do something different to “energize” racing.
No problem with change or trying new ideas, but Race Clubs appear to have it in their DNA to avoid doing the hard yards to research concepts and then plan and strategize to maximize opportunities for success.
To Race Clubs, thought bubbles become “good ideas” and appropriate marketing and commercial strategies, like their thought bubbles, are concocted on the run.
It is stating the obvious that wagering on thoroughbred racing is on a steady and consistent downward spiral. But it is not as irretrievable many may believe.
Saturating a product or brand on a weary customer base won’t stop the bleeding. Neither will tinkering with one of the iconic days of Australian racing.
YOU ARE A FLOG, DANNY O’BRIEN!
Just couldn’t resist a cheap shot at your ex-bestie could you, Danny?
You must be one unhappy chappy judging by your post-race comments after your biggest win as a racehorse trainer last Saturday when Shamus Award got you some headlines which have eluded you over the past six months or more. And from what your trainer colleagues in Melbourne and in Sydney tell us you, lap up the attention and limelight. You are Mr Self Promotion.
Danny, one of the earliest lessons taught to us in life is to accept both victory and defeat with grace.
It is the hallmark of a good upbringing, and a good primary school education. And if you still miss out, there’s always secondary and tertiary education to teach you life and personal skills. You must be one of the rare unlucky ones to have missed every step and opportunity.
Even the poor unfortunate soul with the lowest IQ knows exactly who was in your sights for the cheap shot you delivered through the comments attributed to you by Matt “village idiot” Stewart in last Monday’s Herald Sun newspaper.
“The best thing Racing Victoria has ever done was to step up its drug testing and wider integrity. It’s a very level playing field out there and using all the tools like what we’ve started to experiment with is essential in getting an edge. There are no longer one or two super dominant stables. There are probably 10 and it’s competitive. If you are quiet for too long, you lose clients to mother stables”.
And The Village Idiot, like Quasimodo, keeps clanging whatever bells are handed to him like some fawning twit. Giddyup, mate, and wake up.
No prize for correctly guessing who were referring to, Danny.
Here you are basking in the glory of your greatest win, and you just could not fucking help your miserable self, could you?
You’ve become the Scrooge of Australian racing with more than a few Bah Humbugs in your gunny sack.
You have waged this vendetta for so long, it is quite pathetic. And completely baseless, and you damn well know it.
Oh Danny Boy, don’t be so delusional as to believe you are operating in a level playing field. And again, you damn well know it, and as Carly Simon asked in You’re So Vain, don’t you? Don’t you? Don’t you? Do you think this song is about you, too?
You talk about a level playing field and then tell the world that you have established high altitude oxygen chambers in your stables at Flemington to give you an edge over your competitors.
A level playing field? Only if you can afford to install such high tech aids – right, Danny?
As we wrote in a very recent blog, level playing fields translated mean one thing and one thing only – getting an advantage over a competitor.
So please stop your worthless and meaningless crusade, Danny. It’s Don Quixote gone barking mad and having a mad tilt at imaginary windmills while on a bad acid trip.
For someone, with a tertiary education, you are certainly no advertisement for the benefits of a university education.
Your comments sent social media into overdrive and even elicited a tweet from Sarah Moody, Peter’s better half, which was reported in the Daily Telegraph on Tuesday: “Credit where credit’s due, but no I’m sorry Danny O……. What a wanker and the press just lap it up. Shamus on him Award”.
Need we say anymore?