Randwick Spring Champion Stakes day around the track with Clinton Payne

Clinton Payne - Saturday October 7

Actors Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson starred in a popular 1992 American sports comedy White Man Can't Jump and one of Sydney's trainers attempted to challenge that title this week but it ended in tears.

 

WHITE MEN CAN JUMP – THEY JUST STRUGGLE WITH THE LANDING

Warwick Farm trainer Bjorn Baker entertained his throng of followers on Twitter this week when positing the following video of himself showing off his basketball skills with the family.

"I'm still sore," Baker said after winning the first at Randwick on Saturday.

"My hand, my wrist, my shoulder. It bloody hurt.

"The main thing is I got the dunk and we just got another one. He's a Goodfella."

A day later Baker posted this video to show he's "still got it".

LIFES TOUGH IN HONG KONG BUT CLIPPO'S LOVING IT

A lot of Aussie punters might think the life of a Hong Kong jockey is pretty cruisy having to only ride races two days a week but ex-pat Sam Clipperton says it couldn't be further from the truth.

"I have so much respect for the work ethic of jockeys like Joao Moreira and Zac Purton," Clipperton said at Randwick on Saturday.

"Joao will win the Derby on Sunday and be at trackwork on Monday trotting one around the trotting ring in the pouring down rain.

"I learnt very quickly if it's good enough for Joao or Zac, it has to be good enough for me.

"It is seven days a week. I hadn't worked seven days a week in Australia since I was an apprentice."

Clipperton's work continues to pay dividends with the popular young rider starting the season with a lot more success than he expected.

"I thought it would take me a little while to get going this season but it's been a great start," he said.

"John Moore gave me almost half of my winners last season but with Tommy (Berry) coming to Hong Kong this season I really focused on spreading myself around at trackwork and it's paying off.

"I've ridden a couple of winners for Paul O'Sullivan, Ricky Yiu, Francis Lui, Derek Cruz – trainers I hadn't ridden winners for before.

"It's starting to get really busy now and things are going great."

Last season was Clipperton's first in Hong Kong and he exceeded the expectations of most finishing equal fifth in the premiership with 40 winners, beating the likes of Brett Prebble and Nash Rawiller.

This season he's currently fifth in the premiership with six winners from just 34 rides which is at least 22 opportunities less than the four jockeys that have ridden more winners than him this season – Moreira (19 wins – 89 rides), Purton (13 wins – 69 rides), Karis Teetan (9 wins – 77 rides) and Matthew Poon (7 wins – 56 rides).

I CAN'T BE BEATEN

We were racking out brains in the Randwick press room on Saturday trying to think of an occasion that a trainer had a race won before the race was run like Chris Waller in Saturday's IGA Liquor Benchmark 90 Handicap (2000m).

When scratchings closed on Saturday morning the race was left with only three runners – all trained by Waller, a first as far as we could recall on a Sydney racetrack.

The race was won by Alward ($3.10) from the $1.50 favourite Up 'n' Rolling with the $8.50 outsider Veladero in third.

"I wanted to be behind Kerrin (McEvoy - Up 'n' Rolling) in the run so he couldn't come off my back and outsprint me – I wanted to ride my horse like a stayer," winning jockey Brenton Avdulla said.

"At the half-mile I said 'come on boys lets go. I was the first horse off the bit but he just kept coming."

After racking the brains, we found a race at Townville on January 8, 2015 and where horses trained by Krystal Johnston, representing Stan Johnston's Craiglea Stud, supplied the six runners in an open 2YO handicap.

The race was won by the handy performer Craiglea Wandoo, a horse that's still going around today, beating the stablemates Craiglea Jabiru, Craiglea Zip, Craiglea Altise, Craiglea Rush and Craiglea Gem.

Can you think of any others? Let us know in the comments section.

WHERE DO YOU DRAW THE LINE?

With Canberra-trained horses set to be expelled from future Highway Handicaps from December is it time to reconsider eligibility conditions for future all Highway Handicap races.

Since Highway Handicaps were introduced in October 2015 the most successful trainer has been Murwillumbah's Matthew Dunn, who on Saturday filled the three placings in the Highway Handicap with Bronzed Venom, Cascata Rossa and Dia De Reyes.

Before I go any further let me be clear – Matt Dunn-trained horses should be eligible for Highway Handicaps and if he wins more than everyone else – so be it.

But, what I am saying is that there should be a change in a horse's previous form requirements.

The idea of the Highway Handicaps is to give country-trained horses that race in New South Wales a chance to earn a healthy pay day.

Let's look at the form of the Dunn-trained placegetters leading into Saturday's Highway Handicap.

Bronzed Venom had contested nine of his previous 11 starts in Queensland, Cascata Rossa had run three times in Queensland since joining the Dunn stable five runs ago and Dia De Reyes contested 11 of his 12 starts in Queensland.

I understand Northern Rivers trainers are near the Queensland border and those down Albury way are not far from the Victorian state line but surely to be eligible any horse needs to do most of its racing in NSW.

EARLIER RATHER THAN LATER

The barrier draw for the $10 million The Everest will be conducted at 11.30am on Tuesday but why are we holding it back?

It's hard to be critical of the way Australia's richest race has been marketed or promoted in its inaugural year and like anything we learn as we go.

The field was finalised last week so why are we waiting until Tuesday to do the draw?

May I suggest the barrier draw should be done on Sunday morning next year.

It would give an additional two days to help build the excitement leading up to the race.

The field isn't going to change unless a horse is not fit to take its place in the field and there's less chance of that happening between now and Tuesday morning as there is after the draw up until the race.

Let's just get it out there and let the momentum build.

SO HOW WILL EMERGENCIES WORK IN THE EVEREST

Six emergencies or replacement runners will be declared when the field is published for the $10 million The Everest but they won't be allocated a barrier.

The field of 12 are all that will be involved in the barrier draw with the six substitutes waiting on the reserves bench if needed.

If a horse in the field of 12 is scratched, the slot holder of that horse will then negotiate a deal with the emergency of their choice.

Once a deal is struck, that horse would move into the field and jump from the barrier of the scratched horse.
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