The Valley

By Ben Caluzzi Immediately after Curly Burgin saluted at The Valley on November 19 at odds of $31, many form analysts were left scrambling for the form guide as to how they had left him out of their quaddie. And to be fair, they weren’t really to blame. ‘Curly’ was coming off a 19 length defeat where he had just run stone motherless last at Kilmore, some 12 lengths off the second last horse. “And Curly Burgin last all of the way,” racecaller Terry Bailey said in a sombre tone as the son of Melbourne Cup placegetter Lucas Cranach walked over the line, several frames after the rest of the field had crossed the finish line. He had appeared completely disinterested at the back of the field, took no part in the finish and even his rider Billy Egan questioned trainer David Bourne post-race as to why he was “mucking around with this thing for?” So, if it wasn’t a diamond in a rather rough looking form guide that the punters had missed, what was it? Well, it was the gear report of course. Start 14, blinkers first time. A masterstroke from Bourne, and boy did it work. The five-year-old gelding improved the length of The Valley straight to claim the TOTE Bar & Dining Handicap, giving the Seymour based trainer his first metropolitan winner of 2021. Not only was it a terrific result for the stable, but it was also a rich result for his owners who had taken the luxurious price and backed him, thanks to the recommendation from Bourne. CURLS GETS THE PEARLS AGAIN AT THE VALLEY