Wise guys figure the smart money for Waller horses comes late in betting, which was the situation at Rosehill Gardens last Saturday.
Long ago, the world record was claimed on his behalf for outsiders beating a shorter-priced stablemate, a trend in modern day racing where major outfits have mass representation, all at full throttle.
Once, long before prizemoney really mattered, trainers had to get their Christmas bonus from a coup against bookmakers.
Maybe the Villiers being at group two level has lost prominence. Still when consideration is given to it losing status, a Happy Clapper (2015) scores. Happy Clapper was no Bernborough, which was triumphant in 1945, but the event has been littered with top performances including Dear John (1978) taking Villiers and then the Summer Cup (2400m) two days later.
Ron Quinton, now a trainer, notched the Dear John double as a jockey and has Royal Celebration engaged today in what hardly looks a vintage Villiers.
Through The Cracks and Criaderas have potential but queries regarding the 1600m distance and getting back in the field, thus susceptible to tempo problems.
Having had only 12 starts, Waller’s Reloaded, with only one win to his credit, is on an upward spiral and best fancied in the market of the three, particularly with boom jockey James McDonald in the saddle.
Still Sambro, which was $19 in some outlets yesterday, has credentials, being a strong sixth beaten 2.2 lengths, in the Festival Stakes at Rosehill recently after McDonald declared a kilo overweight – a half-length penalty – a situation that would never have been tolerated in the Dear John era.
Surely Glen Schofield can ride Sambro at 54.5kg and from the two gate give him a smooth passage over a suitable course and distance considering he has been fourth and third in the last two Villiers.
Savacool, which is like Sambro a six-year-old, will have no trouble with the journey, but up-and-comers with their best to come are hurdles.
Those studying fluctuations, especially on the betting exchange Betfair, will be paying plenty of attention to a late Waller mover, possibly Reloaded.
Regarding last Saturday at Rosehill, punters came for Waller’s Oscar Zulu ($11 to $7) and got the money, with the same result for stablemate Vitesse ($7.50 to $4.80).
While the support was not as spectacular for their stablemate Bigboyroy ($4.10 to $3.70), the minor placegetter should have won, confirming the surge for him was right.
With a measure of insider trading, educated pelf has always been significant on the turf. Now it could hinge on well-fancied rivals that are deemed can’t win on appearance, stable mail plus big moves by plungers playing the overs market: horses at longer odds than their assessments indicate.
Back when price was so important in the events like the Villiers, jockeys gave signals. Should a trainer instruct the navigator “not today” when giving riding instructions in the enclosure, the jockey would relay the negativity by carrying his whip in a certain designated hand, undo a button on his silks after he mounted, triggering a betting ring reaction from supporters.
So why would these antics be necessary even in the festive season? Perhaps the cheek could be turned if a wife was stolen but not the betting odds about a horse “cuddled for Christmas”.