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20/9/2002 edition

Bel Esprit Beaten

Last Saturday boom 3YO colt Bel Esprit finished second to 6YO mare Spinning Hill in the $350,000 Group 1 Weight For Age Manikato Stakes over 1200 metres at Moonee Valley. Prior to the Manikato, the colt had only suffered defeat once in eight races.

After being pressured in the lead by Barkada, who tailed right off to be beaten by over 11 lengths, Bel Esprit ran a very fast sectional from the 800 to 400 in only 22.36 seconds. Scott Seamer then went for home on Bel Esprit and the colt opened up a four lengths lead early in the short Moonee Valley straight.

That should have been good enough to win. The race should have been all over. But Bel Esprit, who had been woking hard into a headwind, appeared to get the wobbles over the last 75 metres. Spinning Hill finished over the top of him and beat him by 3/4 length.

From all reports there are sour grapes and leading jockey Scott Seamer, who rode Bel Esprit for the first time, is being blamed for the loss. Scott Seamer defended his ride and said Bel Esprit "loafed" when he hit the lead after Barkada dropped off and he couldn't get Bel Esprit going again when he felt Spinning Hill coming at them.

It's easy to blame jockeys when a boom horse loses. John Hawkes was none too pleased with Darren Beadman's ride when boom horse Lonhro lost to Defier on August 24. Maybe trainers, owners and punters could understand a little better that no horse is a statistical certainty to win and accept that on the day a better horse won? That another top jockey wouldn't have made any difference. That's racing.

The starting price odds for Bel Esprit was also big unders at $1.40. which became an even worse $1.32 after the 6c in the dollar win deduction for the late scratching at the barriers of Fair Embrace.

The starting price market, leaving out the late scratching Fair Embrace, was over 121%. That is not a reasonable betting market for punters. Based on that market there was no justification whatsoever for any deductions from payouts for the late scratching of Fair Embrace. The rules of racing relating to reducing payouts following a late scratching at the barriers need to be looked at.

This edition of Punt to Win:
Bel Esprit beaten
Carnival racing favourites, value betting odds
Interesting handicapping tips - weight and barriers
Handicapping tips - weight and class
Money talks - Rosehill plunge horses
Money talks - Moonee Valley plunge horses
Future winners - unlucky horses
Punt to Win 13/9/2002
Punt to Win index

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