Punt Drunk: Farewell, 2023 – you’ve been a blast!

As the racing slows down over the Christmas period, the team at Punt Drunk are also off to the paddock for a couple of weeks to enjoy a few brown lemonades.

However, before we go, we thought we would take a look back at some of the more eye-catching moments of 2023.

Keep an eye on HorseBetting during next week for our best racing moments, but this one is a bit of a tongue-in-cheek way of farewelling 2023, you know, the Punt Drunk way!

A Raging Pole is always a winner

Let’s go all the way back to January, when race-caller Mitch Manners produced one of the more rib-tickling moments this year.

We declared that the call should go into the race-calling Hall of Fame, where he would be joined by several of Australia’s best.

But how many are in there for a Raging Pole on the Gold Coast? We suggest not many…

Mitch Manners calls home Raging Pole

Here’s to one last thrust, Mitch!

Barrier draw stuff-up

Perth has been the scene for some of the best racing moments in recent weeks, especially with how Damien Oliver finished his career.

However, the inaugural running of The Quokka (1200m) earlier in the year began with an A-grade stuff-up at the barrier draw.

How hard is it to do a manual barrier draw?

It started with the sixth horse selected, which was supposed to be runner number five, Massimo, but instead MC Brittany Taylor made an honest mistake and announced Uncommon James, who was number four.

So the barrier draw continues on until marble four is picked out of the barrel. Brittany realises the number four horse is Uncommon James, who has already been identified as horse five and allocated barrier 10.

The result meant the entire barrier draw had to be redone.

It’s not like the race is worth $4 million or anything…

Let’s hope they have their proverbial together before the 2024 edition.

Remember when Racing Victoria wanted to ‘mic up’ jockeys?

We are all for innovation to enhance racing, Racing Victoria’s idea to ‘mic up’ jockeys and have an ear piece back to the trainer during the race takes the cake as the worst notion of 2023.

In an interview on Racing.com, Racing Victoria CEO Andrew Jones compared jockeys speaking to trainers mid-race to what Formula 1 drivers experience when driving at 300km/h talking to their pit crew.

Now, at a stretch we can see the comparison, but there is one big difference: they are driving a vehicle, jockeys are on top of an animal.

Thankfully, the idea was canned and we can all move on now.

Craig Williams getting booted from Giga Kick

Now, we are not for taking pot shots, but in hindsight we believe Craig Williams did nothing wrong in the Giga Kick saga and the connections of the Clayton Douglas-trained sprinter got it all wrong.

‘Willow’ was given the flick after Giga Kick’s failure in the McEwen Stakes (1000m) first-up at Moonee Valley, when superstar sprinter Imperatriz embarrassed him at a course and trip that was never going to suit the 2022 Everest champion.

Giga Kick’s connections saw red and blamed it all entirely on Williams, sacking him for James McDonald.

Giga Kick would not be seen again during the spring, as he picked up an injury during his McEwen run.

Imperatriz, on the other hand, would go on to win three straight Group 1 races, which would appear to suggest Giga Kick was just beaten by a better horse.

What made the decision 10 times better was that Williams would go on to win the Giga Kick Stakes (1300m) aboard Bella Nipotina to perhaps get the last laugh.

Punt Drunk

About Punt Drunk

Welcome to Punt Drunk – our weekly column covering all the latest horse racing and punting controversies, dramas and headline news. Have a story or gripe or issue that just grinds your gears? Just hit us up in the comments or contact us page and our jaded, punt hardened Punt Drunk staff will give it the Punt Drunk treatment it deserves. Don’t expect pleasantries or typical racing media fanboy gloss from Punt Drunk – we’re on the punt and we don’t have time to bullshit; the next is about to jump…

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