Australian Turf Club's ad campaign needs stars, not just froth and bubble

Fiorente, with Gai Waterhouse and Damien Oliver in supporting roles, should be the focus of the promotional strategy for this year's autumn racing carnival, which entails more than The Championships at Randwick.

As it stands, the public is being fed dross with an advertising campaign produced in Uruguay, on budgetary grounds, centred on flimsy racecourse characters better placed in Alice In Wonderland.

In Fiorente, the Melbourne Cup winner, Sydney racing gets a genuine star, backed by the bubbly Waterhouse and the saddle skill of Oliver. Yet we get the impression the Australian Turf Club is more interested in the social aspects of racegoing than horses and those that make them great. Yes, the club gets more out of a $50 bottle of bubbly than a $50 bet.

However it is now on the dawn of a brilliant autumn after a shabby Warwick Farm start on Saturday, not because of the turf action but the ramshackle venue and lack of vitality given to the meeting by the club. The corresponding Flemington program was brilliant, living up to the title of "Super Saturday". I've gone at my own expense in recent years and it never fails to be memorable. Again the double bill, the Newmarket-Australian Cup, lived up to expectations before a crowd of 26,875 with highly impressive Lankan Rupee in the sprint and Fiorente producing the goods. To say Fiorente is a champion is premature but he is building a great public following due to his courage and style. Future engagements aren't going to be Black Caviar walks in the park either. He is still only a contender for the best of his distance category as It's A Dundeel, Boban and others indicate they have much more to give.

It promises to be a superb Sydney autumn - but at Rosehill as well as Randwick. Hopefully those in ATC marketing can cash in.

Boban bounces back

Don't tell me Nash Rawiller was riding the same Boban previously as Glyn Schofield in the Chipping Norton at Warwick Farm on Saturday. Boban was back to his spring best, but was this because of the Schofield involvement or the two beneficial races the gelding had as lead-ups? Punters who backed Boban at the failures have every reason to moan but trainer Chris Waller was operating within the rules. They were unsuitable events … I still thought It's A Dundeel would be too good. The entire wasn't fit enough but jockey James McDonald gave him his chance. Schofield showed just how exceptional he can be but hardly overshadowed his son, Chad, who again impressed on Lankan Rupee in the Newmarket, down the straight six, no doubt one of the most difficult assignments for a jockey. It gave young Chad a rare double as another of the most testing races is the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley, which he won on Shamus Award.

Dreams and nightmares

Melbourne baker Ken Ferguson is "living the dream" with Fiorente. Ferguson is a part-owner who completed the Melbourne Cup-Australian Cup double at Flemington on Saturday, his 72nd birthday. Fiorente is the first horse he has owned and, he maintains, the last. Alas, the "Living The Dream" club, the brain child of broadcaster Bryan Martin with no links to Fiorente, has folded. Martin was seeking a top-of-the-range involvement for members, with their horses to be trained by Gai Waterhouse. He was seeking big numbers - a membership group of about 1000 was mentioned - but with only ''in the vicinity of 100 joining'', Martin decided to call it quits at a considerable personal financial loss.

Read it and weep

Mark Read, the mouth from the south, is back in bookmaking action shouting the joys of punting in Hong Kong. One of the great students of the turf and vocal in Sydney and Melbourne betting rings, Read opened the floodgates of corporate bookmaking before taking a break. He says Hong Kong punters are spoiled for information, with access to "all veterinary records, horse body weights, all track work and barrier trials on film, even swimming records". The More Joyous case may have been put to rest but surely horse players have the right to know about any treatment or problems, however minor. In Hong Kong, it would come under "all veterinary records".

Horse to Follow

Hawkspur, under Jim Cassidy, did enough when third in the Chipping Norton at Warwick Farm on Saturday to indicate he is going to be a force in the autumn majors.


Guelph, the $2.60 favourite in the Surround Stakes at Warwick Farm on Saturday, failed to show any of her spring zip with an eighth.

The story Australian Turf Club's ad campaign needs stars, not just froth and bubble first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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