MICK SHARKIE wraps up Australasian Oaks Day and looks toward the Warrnambool Carnival in the Saturday Hangover.


He flies horses around Australia for a day job, but Chris Calthorpe hit new heights at Morphettville on Saturday winning his first Group 1 race when filly Media Award snared the Australasian Oaks.

In one of the best post-race interviews in a long time, Calthorpe let it all hang out declaring the win had surpassed one of humankind’s loftiest achievements.

“This is bigger than Niel Armstrong walking on the moon! This is unbelievable!” the trainer said.

Earlier that day Calthorpe told Melbourne radio that he feared the wheels on his grand plan to set Media Award for the Group 1 had started to get a little shaky. Borderline to make the field early in the week, Damien Oliver confirmed he’d be riding Personal – the eventual runner-up – which was assured of a start. He turned to Damian Thornton but with a full book of rides at Sandown he couldn’t risk the filly not getting a start.

“Trumby (Luke Nolen) is a great mate, I lose nothing with him, maybe it’s meant to be,” he said.

And so it was with Nolen hiking round the field out of trouble to make his run, Media Award – who cost just $5000 at the sales – did the rest.

“I’m not usually outwardly emotional but I did give her a bit of a cheer (on the line)”, he said.

“What a great result for Chris.”


For proof that even those closest to the horses can misread form, trainer Phillip Stokes was relieved that Instant Celebrity showed she’s going better than her track work as she steamed to win the Group 1 TAB Classic.

Stokes had told media during the week that the three-year old filly was not in the same form as she had been during the spring when she looked like one of the sharpest horses of her generation, and an even first-up run did little to change his mind.

Not that it mattered to Instant Celebrity who stonked home and produced her trademark turn of foot under Craig Williams.

“Craig Williams what a ride! He never went around a horse,” said Stokes.

“She’s going better than I thought.”

“Everyone was a bit nervous after her first-up run but she needed that run. We always knew she had the ability.”


The long-awaited Warrnambool May Carnival kicks off on Tuesday with punters foaming at the mouth in anticipation of a return to the track, but that excitement could quickly turn to disaster for those not ready for the rigours of the Bool.

As a veteran and survivor of 19 campaigns, I thought it my duty to offer some words of wisdom for those embarking on the trek west.

1. It will rain. Your mate will tell you “it’ll be right, Jane Bunn said only a chance of a light shower”, and you will look at him huddling under the lip of the dim sim van, soaked, jacketless and shirty after getting knocked out of the quaddie in the first leg from the comfort and warmth of your weatherproof parka. And at that moment you will thank me.

2. There will be beers. Many, many beers. I can’t actually prepare you for the number of beers that you are likely to consume.

3. If you’re going to eat something, go early. Come race six or seven, the pie van won’t be able to keep up with demand for “stomach liners” and the chances of copping a cold meat mystery increase ten-fold. Get one into you before the first or, call past Kermonds for a morning burger – you know you want to.

4. COVID 19 has actually given us a gift this year. Instead of wasting your annual leave, tell your boss you will be working remotely this week. Get up early and send out all your important emails, check them from the track and reply as required by Race 4 before the beer consumption escalates and remember to remove the “Sent from iPhone” tag as it’s a dead giveaway.

If anyone calls quickly send the “On another call, will call back soon” text so you appear to be busy. Around 4.45pm, send a pre-written email to a colleague CC’ing the boss, asking if they have the contract/quote/paperwork/report ready for you. We have established work from home patterns now, make it work for you while you work on the quaddie.

5. Go and have a Wunta Special at Bojangles at some point of the week. Ask for extra prawns and chilli oil. Thank me later.


Call it an omen, call it a teaser for the week ahead, but ROHLON DRUNK (Naracoorte R6 No. 1) will be getting my $10 today.