THE PUNTING MONOLOGUE - THE STRADBROKE LISTEN

THE FORECAST: By Mick Sharkie.

Just as Australians of the 50’s and 60’s came to accept European immigration, so too have punters learned to love the European racehorse. And it’s a good thing too, given our middle-distance races are absolutely choc-full of them.

It wasn’t that long ago that a UK, IRE or GER suffix in a form guide would cause much angst for the casual Saturday punter who had more chance of finding Peru than Haydock or Newmarket on a map.

We didn’t know the form, we didn’t know the breeding, and quite frankly we were too lazy to do any homework to find out. It got worse when they had the temerity to win races.

“They’re only here to steal our prizemoney!” Cue suburban pub TAB riots.

Call it ingenuity, call it if you can’t beat them recruit them, but Aussies quickly embraced the European racehorse when we realised how good they were. Today we buy the buggers in by the planeload. If one wins a Bendigo maiden it’s touted as a “Cups contender”. Any punter who spent two weeks in a Shepard’s Bush backpackers in their 20s is now a European form expert. Mention a horse is “Cups qualified” and watch normally savvy businessmen foam at the mouth and pay whatever it takes to get a piece of the action. The hype consumes all.

But for every Zaaki or Without A Fight there are 50 Michelangelo’s. Anyone remember him? Wowza, he was the absolute definition of disappointment.

So, when a horse like HUETOR  quietly goes about his business without hype or headline, accumulating $1.8million in prizemoney and Group 1 races, it’s worth celebrating.

HUETOR   goes quietly about business.

The now eight-year-old came to Australia from Europe as a modest tradesman. He set up shop in the Snowden yard, found a happy place when taken on the road to Queensland and on Saturday he shoots for his third straight Group 1 Doomben Cup. Huetor is Mr Reliable, a punter’s favourite, the sort of horse you’d buy your fish and chips from every Friday night – and he’d throw in a couple of free dimmies to boot.

Across the road at Annabel Neasham’s yard, NUMERIAN  is plying a similar trade. A good honest racehorse that keeps a smile on the faces of his fans; he runs that local joint with the kick arse pad thai that you’d give your left nut for.

HUETOR  and  NUMERIAN  remind us that not every import will win the Melbourne Cup, heck most won’t even run in it, but that doesn’t mean they can’t give us many seasons of happy punting.

BEST: Sandown R7 No. 7 HIGHLIGHTS

BEST EACH-WAY: Sandown R6 No. 14 GREAT TASTE

BEST ROUGHIE: Sandown R2 No. 1 DUAL PRESSURE

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