Costa Rolfe



Costa’s Racing Odyssey: in search of fertile ground

Introducing 'Costa's Racing Odyssey'

When conceiving a name for this column, it didn’t take me long to land on the above. Investing oneself in racing is a journey – arduous, rich and experiential – that ultimately allows the traveller to gain knowledge and understanding, both of themselves and others.

And what greater epic journey than Homer’s Odyssey (Veandercross again a narrow second), a nod to which just so happens to neatly align with my own Greek heritage. 

In contemplating my new, unratified association with Australia’s favourite Greek gardening guru, Costa Georgiadis of Costa’s Garden Odyssey fame, it suddenly dawned on me that racing does, in fact, have a lot in common with gardening.

View your garden through the other kind of turf lens and, like me, you’ll soon see that the parallels between the Saturday afternoon pastimes are everywhere.

There’s pruning, be it lopping a sucker off an apple tree or removing the $1.90 favourite from the first leg of the quaddie as the last horse is getting loaded.

Watering and irrigation: knowing the precise millimetres required to keep a January racetrack in the good 4 range, versus balancing your corn crop’s summer moisture intake (over-watered plants WILL NOT produce ears).


Everyone loves a good "Johnny Tapp". (Photo by Wiki Commons)

There’s weeding – removing invasive species from a garden bed is much like trying to extract Waller imports from a 2400m BM78 – and there’s fertilising, ie. shovelling shit uphill when the rail is hot and you’ve stacked your Saturday deck with swoopers. As for pest management: do you know any punters?

And of course, there is the livestock. Show me the difference between looking after a few scraggly chooks, and couch-tweeting colourful instructions to an experienced jockey about how they should be handling a 500kg racehorse. 

But enough about the garden. 

Going forward (stewards notified: change of tactics), the thrust of my Friday offering will be simple: sharing a few tips with readers in the hope of finding some elusive weekend winners –  either in Australia or across the globe – and having a bit of fun doing it (it’s how you get there, after all). 

May this week’s selections nourish us on our quest.

FLEMINGTON R1 No. 6 Double You Tee

Finally starting to show minor signs of life after an encouraging late effort last time behind Milford. Paddy Payne has twice tuned him up over the sticks in preparation for this, well-placed here.

FLEMINGTON R5 No. 15 Mask Up

Price Bloodstock appear to have picked out another good one. The imposing chestnut son of Japanese stallion Real Impact was a nice winner at Morphettville on resumption before running a huge race at this track and trip after missing the start. Can win this on his way to better things, wet ground a question mark.

MORPHETTVILLE R8 No.8 Rushaway Lad

Took advantage of the inside draw to settle closer last time and had absolutely every favour in the run, but still won with a bit in hand. The second horse Calypso Reign has good ability and has since won. This grey has his share of talent and can pick up another win down in the weights.

MORPHETTVILLE R9 No. 17 Cashin’ Chex

A stable change looks to have done wonders for this gelding. Was $81 into $31 at his first run for a new trainer and beat all but Mask Up, who as stated looks well above-average. Followed that up with a soft win over 1200m. Rises in grade and trip but will go well again in the ‘get out’. 



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