Best Bets Archive
Horse Racing 14 November 2017
“Well it’s over for Another Year”
Big Jim takes a look at the end of the Cup Carnival…read more
So who was the star of the Spring? For me it has to be Redzel. What an amazing set of runs. The Snitzel stallion consistently came up against the best sprinters in the land and he always got the job done. Winx’s performances were very Winx like and deserves to be in the mix again. She won this Spring when she had excuses to lose. Does she travel, does she try for another Cox Plate next year or does she retire? Time will tell and Waller and connections will do what is best for the horse I am sure.
Aloisia’s run in the Oaks was a letdown but she had to overcome the big crowd, losing a shoe at the barrier and an average jockey in the Oaks. She will come back a threat in the future but her flop when it mattered added salt to the wounds of favorite punters this spring. Cliff’s Edge’s run in the Queen Elizabeth was very impressive, he could be a serious horse this time next year.
The Everest was a huge success, much better than I expected. Sydney now just needs a similar middle distance WFO race in Sydney over the Autumn that attracts the best horses in the world. Re-name the Queen Elizabeth make it a 10 million dollar race and run it over 1600 meters. Also, do something about football Grand Final clashes in the Spring. Having Epson/Metrop Day clash with the AFL Grand Final is STUPID. Run it on Sunday. Then again the AFL Grand Final will hopefully be a twilight event in years to come.
The Caulfield Cup should change to a different style of race but it won’t. I would run the Manikato on Thursday or Friday night, the Geelong Cup on the Saturday and then the Cox Plate on Saturday night or Sunday. Running 19 races in 18 hours at the Valley is stupid and nearly cost Winx her party this year.
The Derby and the Oaks should be combined into the one WFA 3 year old distance classic and it should be run on “Derby” Day. Then you can create another 3 year old weight for age Group 1 race for the Following Saturday over 1600-2000 meters. Then they could make the Thursday a “sprinters day” and put some more money into the Myer Classic to keep the whole “ladies day” theme going. The Melbourne Cup card of racing is a massive improvement and Emirates Day (Family Day) continues to improve.
Now it’s on to Sandown for a couple of good meeting with some excellent racing in Perth as well. Then its the standard kind of summer racing where we hold our breath for the Autumn. We will keep on giving tips for races every day (barring Monday) but we won’t be dedicating as much time to it as we do over the Spring.
Plenty of winners and plenty of losers. It was a tough Spring for the punters but we ended up in reasonable shape here at www.bigjimwins.com.
Horse Racing 11 November 2017
“Remember the name Nolen”
Big Jim takes a look at the Cup Carnival…read more
Make sure you remember the name Luke Nolen. He was that jockey that got gifted the rides on Black Caviar. Some how (even though he tried his best at times) he never lost on her. That should be testament to what an amazing animal she was. After Nolen’s ride on Aloisia in the Oaks I suspect that Nolen will never ride in another group race again. I can’t think of a jockey I wouldn’t choose over Nolen. Apparently he is a nice bloke but as a jockey I just cant have him.
Lets get something else straight. You are not a champion of a sport just because you have enough money to buy half the horses going around in the Melbourne Cup. If you listened to the frenzy involved around Lloyd Williams this week you would think that he sired, bred, rode and trained the Melbourne Cup winner. Lloyd Williams is a very rich man who supports Australian racing. Good luck to him and I don’t begrudge him his success but to herald him as a legend of racing (the sport) is absurd. And while I am on a roll good luck to Shane Warne, best leg spinner ever and one of this countries greatest tool bags. Do you think we care Warnie that you got the trifecta in the cup? How about you post all your losing tickets as well. You can bet with me any time you like! A little bit of self promotion is a great thing but please Warnie…give us a spell.
Been an amazing week already. As always some great stories and some heart-breakers along the way. Frankie Dettori is never going to win a Melbourne Cup that looks certain. He has butchered a host of champions that would make Luke Nolen blush.
Its a great last day of the Carnival with an amazing range of distance, weight for age and sprint races to get excited about. All of my tips are already up on the site just click on the BEST BETS of the day icon on the front page of the website. We give tips there everyday (apart from Monday) for all the hot racing and sports tips for the day.
Hope you backed many winners over the Spring. We are in front here at www.bigjimwins.com but its been a hard slog. That’s racing and you take the good with the bad. We will keep fighting here at Big Jim Wins to give you the very best mail from our bevy of experts.
Horse Racing 30 October 2017
“Shin sinks punters as Winx wins our hearts”
Big Jim wraps up the weekend and looks forward to Flemington….read more
It was a huge two days of racing at Moonee Valley. Late Saturday afternoon I was raced out; This isn’t something that happens to Big Jim too often I can promise you that. There is nothing more I can add to the whole Winx phenomena. All I will say is that it wasn’t Bowman’s greatest ride but thankfully when it mattered she was just too good.
The debacle of Chautauqua being scratched prior to the Manikato and Vega Magic getting pole-axed in the running was a low light. The three off the fence running lane on Saturday turning into wet concrete was another low light that nearly cost Winx the Cox Plate. On one hand that is just racing (and the Melbourne weather didn’t help) but maybe running 19 races in the space of 18 hours on the one race track has to be evaluated. Anyway, the highlights overshadowed the low lights.
Now it’s on to Australian racing HQ for the biggest four days of racing in the year. Let’s hope the track, weather and the good horses hold up. It has been a miserable Spring for those of us that like backing horses that should win. It ain’t over yet! Let’s do an early review of the feature races coming up in the next two weeks.
Not the strongest field. At least you should get some value if you can jag the winner out of this bunch. I lean towards Main Stage at around $5.00 but there shouldn’t be much between any of the bunch that are around 12/1 or shorter. If you like competitive Group 1 WFA races then this is your go.
Humidor has been the big mover into $7.00. Yes…..it was a big run in the Cox Plate but this quote is WAY too short for me. Still leaning towards the International Raiders like Max Dynamite. Abbey Marie and Big Duke still offer value if you want an Aussie horse. I am still not writing off Hartnell at 33/1 either.
Aloisia is now into $1.70. That is plenty short enough, but she was simply AWESOME at the Valley. As long as Nolen doesn’t do too many stupid things on her back she should canter in.
Redzel is currently at $3.50 and I will be happy to work around the Everest winner. I will also be working around the Manikato winner Hey Doc. The remaining 4 all under 10/1 offer plenty of appeal. It’s nearly two weeks away so I will wait to see which of the 4 I lean towards closer to the day. Sorry for the fence-sitting it doesn’t happen usually but weather, draws, track conditions etc are important in this one.
Horse Racing 24 October 2016
“It’s going to be an Open Cup”
Big Jim has a look at the big races coming up….read more
A boil over the Caulfield Cup at the very least ran to script. It was a very average field and was set up nicely for a roughie to win. Johannes Vermeer was brave in defeat. I can’t have in the Cup, however, as it is very rare to see a horse win the Cup who looked gas over the last furlong in the Caulfield Cup. If I trained him I would start him in the Cox Plate.
I love the Cox Plate. Nice to see Ladbrokes sponsor the race. It’s always a great day of racing. If Winx miss’s the kick, breaks a leg and throws Bowman off she will still win. Enjoy her, she is that good and there is plenty of awesome racing on the day as well from a betting perspective.
The Manikato is on at the Valley the night before the Cox Plate and will also be a great meeting. If Vega Magic runs like he did in the Everest he should be very hard to beat. I think the $2.60 on offer at Ladbrokes is a pretty good price as I think the tight short straight should suit.
The Melbourne Cup is always an awesome spectacle but I don’t think it’s going to be a Cup field of champions. Almandin deserves to be the favourite but is skinny at $6.00. I am going to be looking for value and I will probably look at the overseas raiders. Max Dynamite should have won it two years ago and looks good value $17.00. The other one I like is Tiberian at $19.00.
There will be plenty of tips for the Geelong Cup and the races at Moonee Valley on both Friday and Saturday. Just click on the Best Bets of the Day. Good luck and good punting.
Horse Racing 17 October 2017
“Not a great Caulfield Cup”
Big Jim takes a look at the Caulfield Cup and who is the best chance to win us some dollars…read more
Let’s just pray that we can put the blood bath of last Saturday behind us this week. Last weekend will be a day the bookies tell their grandchildren about. You can’t back 100/1 shots in Group races. If you do you will go broke so you just have to suck it up, move on and remember that there is plenty of good racing left to come this Spring when things can only improve.
This is not the greatest Caulfield Cup I have ever seen. To be truthful I have questions regarding the relevance of the Caulfield Cup in its current conditions. That, however, isn’t going to change anytime soon so there is no point even making suggestions to the Melbourne Racing Club. The powers that be have an “if it ain’t don’t screw with it” approach to racing in the Spring which is a little sad from where I sit.
Considering the two favourites for the Cup ran around last weekend and both didn’t win it underpins just how weak this race actually is. The good thing for connections is that its still worth plenty of dough.
I have spent a day trying to find something to beat the Aiden O’Brian trained Johannes Vermeer and I simply can’t. Its performance last week was dominant and the extra 400 metres is perfect. You can make cases for Bonneval, Humidor, Amelie’s Star and Harlem but I just think they are all too short in comparison to Johannes Vermeer. Ladbrokes has him fixed at $5.00 which will do me on an each way basis.
I like Ravi in the Tristarc. I have also landed on him through a process of elimination as well not because I love him in a pretty even field. I think he will go better after his last time the Melbourne way around and I think Foxplay is getting to the end of a pretty long campaign.
The sprint is a very open affair and I am still tossing up between Property ($4.40) and Keen Array ($6.00). You will have to come back and check the Big Jim Best Bets of the Day for Saturday for my decision there.
Good luck and good punting and I must say that I am really looking forward to Cox Plate Day in a little over a week.
Horse Racing 9 October 2017
“Tina Turner would love Winx”
“Big Jim takes a look at whose hot and whose not as we rocket into Spring
I just can’t help myself. Winx is the best horse I have ever seen. Period. Black Caviar, Makybe Diva, Frankel, Kingston Town etc etc are all a couple a lengths behind her. I never saw Pharlap but I can’t see how he could be better than her. I said last week that $1.50 looked pretty good about her to win the Cox Plate. That looks like dead set robbery now. The big question is what does she do after that? Would love to see her strut her stuff at Flemington again. Hong Kong maybe. I don’t think the POMS deserve to see her but Royal Ascot seems to be a magnet for horse owners and trainers.
Forget Almandin’s run on the weekend. It was just a training drill. Out to $7.50 at Ladbrokes for the Melbourne Cup which is slowly starting to get to realistic price. To be truthful more of a 10/1 prop for me.
In regards to the Everest I still like She Will Reign at $4.60. She isnt a moral but but she is clearly the one to beat and you can only see Randwick suiting her style of racing. As long as there is reasonable pace expect her and possibly Chautauqua to come charging down the outside.
Guineas Day at Caulfield on Saturday which is always fun. Alizee is plenty short enough at $2.50 in the Thousand Guineas but should be pretty hard to beat. In Regards to the Caulfield Guineas I am still with Royal Symphony at $4.00 She was dead set horrible last time out, but horses are animals and sometimes they have bad days out. I just think that out of the serious chances in this race she is the one that should be cherry ripe at this distance. I suspect Catchy to race in a forward position and if she gets a cushy run she will be in it for a long way but the last furlong is really going to test her.
Good luck and buckle up for four HUGE weekends of the best Group 1 racing in the world. Check out Big Jim Best Bets of the Day everyday for a full list of racing tips.
Horse Racing 1 October 2017
“The Grand Final is over…so its GIDDY UP Time”
Big Jim has a look at some of the awesome Spring racing coming up over the next month…..read more
Let me start by telling you that you can get expert race tips from the Big Jim Team EVERY DAY (apart from the odd Monday) by clicking on Big Jim’s Tips of the Day. Its the really cool image at the top of the home page with Big Jim smoking on a cigar. Just wanted to make sure you knew where to go!!!
Sunday at Caulfield was a blood bath. Its tough going when 4 short priced favourites get rolled when you are on them all. I thought I was betting at Sha Tin there for awhile. Thankfully things can only get better and racing has big swings. There was a track bias that favoured the front runners at Caulfield on Sunday which is unusual as the Caulfield track usually races fairly. They have a couple of weeks to to get it right. So you can make excuses for Catchy and Royal Symphony but there was no excuse for Hardham. Hartnell is obviously now looking for longer than 1800 metres so I wouldn’t be writing off the Godolphin Champion Stallion just yet.
Here are my early takes on some of the big races coming up for those of you who like to take pre post odds. All prices from Ladbrokes.
The Everest: She Will Reign at $4.60 looks pretty tasty. Hard to argue her credentials after handing it to some good older horses at Moonee Valley in the Moir Stakes last Friday night. Chautauqua remains the wild card at $6.00 but he would need A LOT of pace on up front.
Caulfield Cup: Hartnell at $10.00 is over the odds but does he go straight to the Melbourne Cup or the Cox Plate then onto the Melbourne Cup. Gingernuts at $17.00 seems pretty tasty each way value.
Cox Plate: $1.50 still seems pretty good about Winx. History has proved that you will go broke backing against her.
Victorian Derby: I’m not writing off Royal Symphony just yet. I think he is suited by Flemington better and $11.00 is a juicy price. I think he is looking at longer but this is a LOT longer.
Melbourne Cup: Almandin deserves to be the current favourite but he is too short for me at $6.50. Francis of Assisi, Gingernuts, Hartnell, Marmelo, Tiberian and Crocodile Rock all have very nice Each Way appeal.
VRC Oaks: This is very tough at this stage. I trust the market and would work around the joint favourites Aloisia and Pinot who are both at $7.00. Catchy is on the next line of betting and I just think this is going to be too long a trip. I would be looking to take her to the Mckinnon stakes.
I am not going to speculate on the other two big sprint races until we see what happens in the Everest. Good luck and good punting. More updates will follow.
Racing 30 June 2017
“Nice for the Protected!”
Big Jim takes a look at the farce that is modern day drug testing…read more
Michelle Payne is a drug cheat just as Shane Warne was a drug cheat. Chinese swimmers and Lance Armstrong were also drug cheats but for some reason we nailed them to the cross. Apparently though some of our Australian pin up sporting heroes appear to be above public scrutiny.
Australian drug cheats who are media sweet hearts are given a free pass from the media but heaven help you if you come from another country with a surname that Aussies struggle to pronounce. Matt Stewart from the Herald Sun wrote a pathetic article about Payne on Friday that under-pinned the pathetic double standards we have created in this country.
According to Stewart, our Aussie battler and all round great gal, Michelle simply took a weight loss pill after her struggles and injuries. Her Doctor provided this to her apparently. Last time I checked, weight loss pills would be the VERY THING that jockeys would be using to battle their number one concern WEIGHT. Don’t for one second think that she didn’t know what she was doing. ANY athlete that puts anything into their bodies, even is prescribed by a doctor, is a cheat or at the very least a fool. Australian sports people have access to 24 hour advice that they can use anywhere in the world. This is not the case of the young kids that were hoodwinked at Essendon. They did have an excuse as they were part of a large scale operations run by the club that made it nearly impossible for the kids to question the legitimacy of the procedure being offered.
Don’t get me wrong….there is plenty of problems with the drug laws in sport but that’s not the issue here. The rules are the rules and sportsmen and women have to be judged to that standard. So why then….if one of our beloved Aussie sports hereos breaks the rules they are dubbed as unlucky victims and not called out as what they really are….cheats? When it suits us we are the first country to stand on the soap box and vehemently condemn until we all are sick of hearing about it. Our sporting press (on the whole) are hypocrites who simply churn out popular opinion. NOT GOOD ENOUGH!!!
Racing 15 May 2017
“Don’t starve the little fellas!!!”
Big Jim looks at the weight scale in thoroughbred racing
Poor old Dylan Dunn has hung up the whip at the tender age of 22. The son of champion hoop Dwayne, Dylan had to starve himself half to death to maintain a weight of 56kg. He has finally succumb to starvation and has called it a day to save his sanity and ultimately his life. Its a very sad day as the kid had a ton of talent and will be a loss to the sport.
Big Jim was never going to be a jockey and that is OK. Jockeys are never going to play in the NBA and that is ok as well. The problem is that plenty of talented “little people” are being driven out of the sport of racing due to the state of “the natural progression of the human race”. This is a big problem!
Humans are getting bigger. They have been constantly getting bigger for thousands of years but with modern day health and diet they are getting bigger FASTER. The current weight that jockeys are expected to maintain is too low and has been now for a couple of decades.
The counter argument is one of tradition, but this is a tradition that needs to change through common sense. Yes the times and records of former champion Horses may never be beaten but does that really matter? In most motor sports we put limitations on the speed, weight and safety of the cars to protect the drivers. If all weights were raised by as little as 2kg it would make a MASSIVE difference across the board. You might not think 2kg sounds that much but go into any jockey sauna around the country and ask the little guys and girls in there (that are dehydrating themselves until they can barely stand up) what they think! They will ALL tell you that a 2kg relief would change their lives.
Some changes need to be made and its time that we took a little bit better care of some of the bravest men and women in the world of sport!
Horse Racing 1 May 2017
“Jockey Jockey on the Wall who is the Fairest of them all?”
Big Jim has a look at his favourite jockeys in Australia…read more
Maybe my title for this article is a little bit tongue in cheek as jockeys (per say) couldn’t lie straight in bed at night. That’s just the game and when it comes to big races that matter they are all trying their best and put themselves in danger of dying every time they ride. Lets have a look at my favourite hoops around the country. My criteria includes everything that I think is important. Nothing more or nothing less.
A few years ago I thought the Sydney Jockeys had the depth over the Melbourne ones. Its sort of a swings and round about scenario but right at the moment its neck and neck. Maybe Sydney at the very top has the finer cream but Melbourne certainly has the better depth when it comes to their middle tier of say the 8-20 range. It really is tough at the top in the Harbour City and I didn’t even have room to put in Berry and Clark who are also top contenders.
The thing that Melbourne has at the moment is an absolute gun line up of apprentices. There are so many good ones its going to be hard to see how they all end up with rides in the future. The best will keep getting the rides and the others will have to go out and scratch a living in the bush. Its a hard cut throat industry. The crop is so good at the moment I have to throw 3 of them in my top 5!
2: M Payne
3: B Rawiller
There is a great selection of jockeys in SA at the moment. Probably the best they have had in a long long time. They are also starting to get more Victorian and Tassie Jockeys following horses over which is making the racing in SA even stronger.
This is pretty easy as the cream really rises to the top North of the border. The top few up in QLD are really top shelf but I feel that their depth is probably the weakest out of all the major centres.
My 5 favourites from the rest of the country.
1: W Pike (WA)
2: Carr (TAS)
3: Clark (TAS)
4: Ward (ACT)
5: Tan (WA)
Horse Racing 26 April 2017
Where’s the Forward Thinking
Big Jim takes a look at idea of making the Caulfield Cup a Weight For Age race instead of a handicap…read more
If i commented on every stupid thing the numerous racing bodies in Australia did i would have to employ a team of 20 writers working around the clock. Somewhere buried in the back of the Herald Sun the other day i learnt that the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) was toying with the idea of making the Caulfield Cup a weight for age event (WFA). Apparently that idea was quickly knocked on the head by the board. That comes as absolutely no surprise as why would the board do something that makes PERFECT sense.
The problem with sporting administers is that they get caught up on tradition. They are also loathed to change something that is successful in favour of making it better because change carries a small risk of failure. The Australian Cricket Board, Australian Rugby Union, Australian Basketball are all excellent examples of organizations (like the ruling racing bodies) that couldn’t run a chook raffle in an RSL.
If the Caulfield Cup was a WFA event then it would be a perfect lead up race for both the Cox Plate AND the Melbourne Cup. The race could then also have set weight penalties for the Melbourne Cup instead of having conjecture about “the size” of the weight increase for winners of the Caulfield Cup who go onto contest the Melbourne Cup. Moonee Valley might argue that making the Caulfield Cup WFA would diminish from the Cox Plate; I beg to differ. If there were two middle distance races at WFA conditions it would encourage the very best of the best from around the world to make the pilgrimage to Australia.
The only other creditable argument would be that a WFA Caulfield Cup might deter some visitors making the trip across for the Melbourne Cup. That is also narrow-minded as many horses come over only on the “slight chance” of sneaking into the Melbourne Cup even though they don’t have a start in the Caulfield Cup. This way the very best stayers in the world would have even more incentive to bring over their best horses as they get to compete on even terms for a big prize before rolling the dice in the worlds richest distance handicap. If we get a super star horse that comes over from Asia, Europe or America and they start at 1/2 on in the Caulfield Cup isn’t that a good thing? They are still going to be running against a big field, first up in new conditions.
For me the Caulfield Cup and the Melbourne Cup are just too similar. A 2400m WFA event a week prior to the Cox Plate and 17 days prior to the Melbourne Cup makes perfect sense. If worst comes to worst then you could switch the Cox Plate and the Caulfield dates around. Old fuddy duddies would say that would screw with tradition and would be impossible but really??? That’s just an excuse that would reek of being in the too hard basket for lazy people happy to be enjoying the benefits of so called tradition. Make the Caulfield Cup a stand alone race of champions and not just the poor younger brother to the Melbourne Cup. Screw tradition you stuffy old morons and get with the program. Why settle for mediocrity when you could strive to make something bigger, better and most importantly more relevant.
6 March 2017
Horse Racing The Everest: A long way from the top of the world
Big Jim takes a look Australia’s new richest horse race.
NSW Racing has made a vain attempt to dampen the start of of the Victorian Spring Carnival by scheduling a 10 Million dollar “buy-in” race at Randwick on the same day as the Caulfield Guineas. There must be a few “fat cats” set to make a few quid out of the plan as this poorly thought out idea has more holes in it than the Bismark.
The idea that Sydney should have a 10 million dollar world class race is a great one but a great idea has now turned into a farce. The time of the year is a horrible choice and don’t be surprised if one of the Victorian Clubs looks to sabotage the Autumn Carnival in years to come. The perfect time for a race such as this was the Autumn at Randwick during their “The Championships” which is supposed to be Sydney’s show-piece carnival but is a concept that is still gaining traction itself.
Secondly why is it a sprint race? Australian race lovers are not obsessed by sprint racing no matter how much sprint racing is shoved down our throats. This should have been a 1600, 2000 or 2400 metre race for starters. A few years back the Queen Elizabeth Stakes was catapulted into the feature race of the Sydney Autumn Carnival. This is the race that should be “The Everest” and if need be the Queen Elizabeth should be retained as the race for the A- brigade not good enough to race against the worlds best for an eight figure purse. Its a stupid notion that Sydney’s best race be named after the UK Monarchy but that is a discussion for another time.
Lastly I am not opposed to a “buy in” race on principle? It does, however, risk the chance that some of our best horses would be excluded from the race. Alternatively some of the best horses with syndicate owners that aren’t multi millionaires might have to lease (at a big price and a percentage of winnings) to rich owners and trainers who have pre purchased their spot in the race. Again good for the rich, bad for the industry.
Who makes these decisions? Just because you wear the suit doesn’t mean you have the intellect to make the right decision. Racing needs innovation and it needs to attract fresh blood. Its just sad that with so many individuals bodies making decisions purely based on self interest the sport as a whole suffers.
1 March 2017
Horse Racing – She Just Winx’ed at me! Big Jim weighs into the Winx v Black Caviar debate. Read more….
The Winx, Waller and Bowman show rolled on at Randwick on Monday when Winx emphatically jogged home in the Apollo Stakes. Hartnell ran a brave second first up at a distance that is totally out of his comfort zone but he was in a different race to the champion mare Winx.
It is hard to put in perspective just how good Winx is. Lets just say very very very. The obvious comparison to Black Caviar is the topic on everyone’s lips at the moment. I hate to bag Black Caviar as she couldn’t have done anything more than she did. She was, however, a one trick pony who raced against average opposition. Hay List (Black Caviars bridesmaid) was a very good horse and was horribly unlucky to run into Black Cavier on so many occasions. Even though Hay List would have been a multiple Group 1 winner in a different era he wasn’t even worth putting in the same sentence as the likes of Hartnell. Weight for age and handicap middle distance Group racing in Australia over the last two years has had substantially more depth to anything Black Caviar ran into over sprint distances during her unbeaten run.
Winx should win the Queen Elizabeth Stakes this Autumn and then go on to record her 3rd consecutive Cox Plate in October. Then we will have to wait and see if she travels over seas or even steps up in distance for a crack at something like the Melbourne Cup (currently quoted as a 30/1 unlikely starting prospect). It will be fascinating viewing but she will need to add more accolades to convince the Australian racing public that she deserves to be recognized in the same class as Black Caviar and Pharlap.
The other horse that shouldn’t be forgotten is Makybe Diva. Her three Melbourne Cups and Cox Plate at the very least should book her a spot in the discussion. The only thing we can safely say is that to see three such dominant Mares in such a short space of time is truly remarkable.