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Barrier draws should be random, not chosen

 Nov 2 2012

That widely reported verbal fracas involving Gai Waterhouse and John Singleton as a result of the former choosing barrier 11 for More Joyous in the Cox Plate should have happened.
Allowing a representative to select a barrier of their choice is a flawed process and flies in defiance of the long-established barrier draw system.
It's my understanding that a barrier "draw" is what is says – drawing lots. The barrier positions usually are decided by drawing marbles from a special barrel or a more sophisticated system may be by computer.

The novel process adopted at Moonee Valley is part of the pre-race hype but, as evidenced by the upheaval last week, it is fraught with frailties.
Clearly the owners, or at least Singo, didn't agree with the trainer's bold choice.

It would seem that lesser human intervention in such an important facet of racing, would be a far better process from a perception point of view. Always remember that pointed and pithy adage – not only must justice be done; it must be seen to be done.

Moonee Valley officials may have been pleased with the double-header of the Manikato Stakes meeting on Friday night and the Cox Plate on Saturday afternoon, but not everyone is happy. It is suggested strongly that some time in the future that the Cox Plate meeting may be under lights.
Old fashioned I may be but a Saturday afternoon meeting still has the most appeal. And, quite frankly, incorporating the Manikato Stakes into the Cox Plate card on a Saturday afternoon only would enhance the public interest. Additionally it wasn't a good sight to see the Cox Plate meeting run on a track with the rail out three metres.
Surely the premier meeting of the year for Moonee Valley should have been run on the fair dinkum course proper unmarked by a previous night of racing.

Oh how the times change.This Saturday, The Lexus Stakes (in its previous life as the Hotham Handicap, Crown Quality, Ten News Stakes, Lean Cuisine Stakes and Saab Quality) used to be the final event on Derby Day and the last gasp for a horse to claim a start in the Melbourne Cup.
Now it is race two at high noon – hardly considered a headline time – but the end result is the same, a horse may squeeze into the Cup field.
The Geelong Cup winner, Gatewood, is trying desperately to claw his way into the field as he is currently 33rd on the order of entry but he has an undeniable chance despite the quick back-up. However, I am tempted to try the Luca Cumani-trained Ibicenco.
A lightly raced five-year-old he is sure to have benefitted from his unplaced run in the Moonee Valley Cup last Saturday.

The feature this Saturday, of course, is the Victoria Derby which really is ill-placed in the spring when the contenders are barely three-years-old.
It's A Dundeel is the firm favourite and deservedly so on his unbeaten record until finishing second in the Mitchelton wines Vase when he never really looked happy on the tight-turning circuit. Still, in the pursuit of better odds, I fancy the Gai Waterhouse-trained Our Desert Warrior. A fighting fourth in the Geelong Classic, despite a few checks, he is lightly raced but very promising. The experience over 2200 metres at Geelong should benefit him in his bid over the 2500 metre distance of the Derby.

As for the other Cup qualifier, the Mackinnon Stakes, a non-Cup contender, Ocean Park looks unbeatable going on his impressive win last Saturday in the Cox Plate.
If, like me, you don't fancy the cramped odds about Ocean Park why not give December Draw another chance? He just failed to run the 2400 metres of the Caulfield Cup but his previous form was encouraging and five of his eight career wins have been at 2000 metres.

By Rod Gallegos

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