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National Book Council Awards: Form guide and market

February–March 1985, no. 68

National Book Council Awards: Form guide and market

February–March 1985, no. 68

The judges for this prestigious award are Bernard Smith, Mary Lord, Graham Rowlands and Rick Hosking. Some proven stayers, good mud gallopers, smart on top of the ground, they are judges amply qualified to assess a varied field.

We offer a form guide provided by well-known Sydney racing identity, Don Scott.

  1. Vincent Buckley – Memory Island

An Irish-bred stayer who has been specially set for this prestigious local classic. Has plenty of stamina and is certain to see out the distance. Will have his supporters cheering near the finish as he can produce a rare burst of acceleration in the home straight.


  1. Peter Carey – Iillywhacker

This year’s hot favourite with a huge public following. Just failed in a controversial decision to take out the 1985 Booker Prize in England against top class international op­position and obviously has to be a major contender in a field restricted to locals. The question remains: is he value at the short odds on offer?


  1. Beverly Farmer – Home Time

Although she won the NSW Premier’s Award in 1984 with Alone, this is her first attempt in open company. Regarded more as a sprinter than a stayer, she nevertheless has the benefit of a light weight and will be up with the lead for most of the way. The final 200 metres may find her out.


  1. Helen Garner – Postcards from Surfers

Winner of this race in 1978 with Monkey Grip and has performed strongly ever since. She is proven in this company and over this distance and is noted for her consistency. She also has the ability to surprise her opponents with a brilliant burst of speed in the home straight. Good each way value.


  1. S. Harry – A Dandelion for Van Gough

One of the outsiders in this field, although back in the early 1970s she scored a major win in provincial class at Newcastle. Seen as one of the originals in recent poetry, she has a quiet but dedicated following among smaller punters who are certain to be attracted by the long odds on offer.


  1. D. Hope – The Age of Reason

The old maestro himself. In the past punters have acclaimed his out­standing successes in classic and weight for age events. If names are gold, this one is up there with the legendary greats, Phar Lap, Bern­borough and Chris Brennan. But could he be past his best? And is he carrying too much weight? These are the questions some shrewd ratings experts are asking. 8/1

  1. Morris Lurie – The Night We Ate the Sparrow

A much-travelled galloper at the peak of form and fitness and with a fine record in England and the United States as well as Australia. Punters from all over the globe have backed this fellow who has the magical ability to come from nowhere and snatch victory in the very shadow of the post. Is this the Lurie year?


  1. Geoff Page – Benton’s Conviction

A young writer who has recently changed from sprints as a poet to distance races as a novelist. This is his first attempt at a narrative classic. At this stage he may not be seasoned enough to run the distance against such tough rivals. However, with the benefit of this experience he will undoubtedly pose a threat in future years.


  1. Phillip Pepper in collaboration with Tess de Araugo – The Kurnai of Gippsland

Here’s one for those who like longshots. Specialty interest in a class of its own. If the track is fast on raceday, the odds will lengthen even further: But if there is rain about, punters should remember that this galloper excels in heavy going. So if it’s wet, have a small each way bet.


10 – Gerard Windsor – Memories of the Assassination Attempt

Has earned the praise of keen track watchers since he began his narrative career in 1982. In recent months he has been working solidly in private and according to the clockers is improving with every gallop. Although regarded as something of an outsider, this fellow has performed well over both sprint and staying courses and will be running on strongly when others are feeling the pinch.


So, place your bets and wait in properly literate anxiety until the judges put up numbers in the frame.

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