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10/10/2003 edition

Carnival Betting Tips

Shamekha - best of good things beaten

Last Saturday at Randwick the Gai Waterhouse trained Shamekha was backed from $1.90 to $1.75 in the 3YO Fillies Group 1 Flight Stakes run over 1600 metres.

Entering the home straight Jim Cassidy had Shamekha one off the rails, behind the $51.00 bolter Zaloot, which was sharing the lead. With Aim For Gold coming round Cassidy there was no room for error. Zaloot started to get the staggers, and with nowhere to go, Shamekha was shuffled right back through the field. Punters who took the $1.75 would have been cursing and accusing Cassidy of a shocking ride and goodness knows what else.

But there was more to the story. Jim Cassidy told the stewards that Shamekha was galloped on 200 metres after the start and was never travelling strongly on the bit. In Cassidy's view Shamekha would have been able to push Aim For Gold out if Shamekha had been travelling well. Cassidy further added that when Shamekha obtained clear running at the 200 she only ran home fairly.

After the race Shamekha was found to have sustained a laceration and was lame in her near-hind leg as well as displaying a poor recovery rate and having an elevated heartbeat.

In many races at Carnival times there are large field sizes and increased depth. This is a recipe for tough betting. You need to be prepared to factor in bad luck in running in the price you are prepared to take about that "good thing". At $1.75 in a field of 14, Shamekha's price left no margin for bad luck in running. It just assumed Shamekha was too good. It did not allow for getting injured in the race, or for a horse with minimal winning chances like Zaloot, who finished last, beaten 15 lengths, to fall back on Shamekha in the straight. In other words, $1.75 was a poor value bet.

That was not the only bad luck story.

At Flemington in the Group 2 Turnbull Stakes run over 2000 metres, the Lee Freedman trained Mummify, current favourite for the Caulfield Cup, started as equal $6.00 favourite. Mummify, ridden by Danny Nikolic, finished thirteenth of the 16 runners after never getting a run rounding the home turn and in the straight.

In the next race Danny Nikolic looked like having another disaster, when Vocabulary, backed from $2.30 to $2.15, was badly held up in the straight. Back to mares' class at set weights after some top runs against Weight for Age company, Vocabulary should have had lengths on this field. As it turned out she won, but not without giving her backers one big fright. The size of the field - 16 runners, increased the chances of bad luck. In addition the rail at Flemington was out nine metres, which does not make for the fairest of racing and adds to the hard luck tales. If Vocabulary had been sent out at $1.75 like Shamekha, then Vocabulary would have also been a very poor value bet despite looking far too good for the other runners.

This edition of Punt to Win:
Carnival betting tips
Trainer/jockey strike rates
Spring Carnival horses - good runs, good betting odds
Betting favourites in small fields
Money talks - Randwick betting tips from the track
Money talks - Flemington betting tips from the track
Handicapping tips - weight and class
Future winners - unlucky horses
Punt to Win 3/10/2003
Punt to Win index


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