Happy Caulfield Cup Day to all,
But it is another sport that has my attention, the “sleeping” giant of Australian sport is stirring. The national coach has been dispensed with after a pair of 6-0 spankings at the hands of Brazil and France, but the A-League kicked off with over 100,000 fans attending the first round of matches. A 3-0 victory over the lowly rated Canucks was a bit of a spur for the Socceroos, but the reaction of the skipper was less than desirable. He suitably described his passion and honour in leading the national team but his position in the team is worthy of debate. His interview describing himself in the third person was utterly cringe worthy! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujZWmEp3N3k Sal Ciardulli does not think Lucas Neill is too old, but Sal Ciardulli does think Lucas is too slow and has a the turning circle of an aircraft carrier. Sal Ciardulli thinks that if he is the best choice Australia has for a central defender (or any defender) then it was a miracle that World Cup qualification was achieved.
The general commentary on the Socceroos is that wholesale changes are required. Sal Ciardulli does not completely agree, the likes of Neill, Kennedy, Schwarzer, Wiltshire, Cahill, Bresciano, Thompson, Kewell… have served us grandly for many years. If they represent the best side we can put on the park then so be it, but Sal Ciardulli thinks that if the game is really progressing there must be younger talent that makes the side better.
On the footy front Sal Ciardulli does not have much about this week apart from the extraordinary shenanigans at St Kilda. Their treatment of Dal Santo has been ordinary, mind you he has not been great back the other way. But the coach would have appeared to have completely misread the tea leaves. Sal Ciardulli suspects that if the Saints had a suitable benefactor then Scott Watters would have more to worry about than a contract extension.
To the track!
But the biggest show in town right now is the racing and Team Darley has produced winners of both Guineas at Caulfield plus the Spring Champion Stakes at Randwick to take 3 of the major juvenile events for the spring. Plus winners coming from everywhere wearing the maroon and white, the placement of their runners is outstanding! Sal Ciardulli put in a reasonable effort last week, only one outright winner but plenty of quinellas and whilst he can’t claim the quaddie that had No.6 in the first leg that was supposed to be a 7 – apologies to those who followed me.
Another huge 10 race program confronts us on Saturday, the opener is now called the Sunrise Cup – not far from the truth! G Boss and other jockeys indicated the track got too hard late in the day with the strong northerly wind and a long program. The hoops are concerned about the horses as we should all be, but it also affected the racing pattern with leader bias developing in later races. Gave any backmarkers in the Guineas no chance, not that I think they could have got to Long John. With similar conditions predicted this Saturday it could be a factor again.
With that we look at the 2013 renewal of the Caulfield Cup (G1, 2400m, HCP) and as usual a very difficult race to find the winner. Looking at some history to assist in the last 20 years 50% of winners have been 4yo, this helps me with the top two selections. Silent Achiever and Royal Descent, there is little between them but Sal Ciardulli is swaying to the NZer. They both have great pilots, are in super form and have good barrier draws. The Weird One had Fawkner primed for the Epsom but switched him to target him here. It is one of the few trophies he doesn’t have on the mantelpiece, but has a great record of picking the right horses for the right race. Whilst Sal Ciardulli is concerned with both the distance and the course (Flemington Specialist), he is well weighted and has ability. The Hayes import Jet Away also has a great chance, well drawn, fantastic 2nd up record and D Oliver going for his 5th Caulfield Cup. The favourite Hawkspur has all the form and stats to indicate he is a huge chance, but he will have to be very good from an outside draw as will Dear Demi who was high in Sal Ciardulli’s calculations till Clarrie drew the 22 marble. Also rate Waldpark and Forgotten Voice as chances, Dandino drawn wide will make it tough. If the leader bias appears then Gai’s Julienas and Glencadam Gold could stack ‘em up and be tough to chase down.
Caulfield Race 10 – 15-16-7-8-12-19-4-2
Group races are littered through the remainder of the program with the first of these being the Norman Robinson Stakes (G3, 2000m, 3yo SWP) where the derby contenders duke it out to see where they are in the pecking order. A pretty even bunch here, but we have a Darley 3yo in San Diego amongst the acceptors. Concerned though about the wide draw – so instead Sal Ciardulli’s top selection is Surging Wave who was the best closer at Flemington in a race where many of these also ran. Rockford should be fitter after that run and Famechon also finished the race well.
Caulfield Race 4 – 8-4-3-9
Happy to go with Snowden in the Moonga Stakes (G3 1400m, 4yo+ SWP), Pinwheel was close first up and great record 2nd up. Strawberry Boy tried to lead all the way in the G1 Rupert Clarke, this lot is below them. Sheer Talent has a perfect record 2nd up and the Epsom winner Boban is in stunning form but deservedly has a big weight. Plenty of others demand consideration with Galah the leader of those.
Caulfield Race 6 – 2-11-5-1
The Caulfield Sprint (G2, 1100m, HCP) sees Platelet pay the penalty for her great record with 59kg on the other hand Shamal Wind gets G Boss on board and 5kg relief and that is enough for Sal Ciardulli to tip her again. On that logic then Chiaramonte must also have a huge chance with a couple of good runs under his belt and weight relief. Pago Rock for David Hayes is undefeated over the journey and Ready to Rip is a first up and track specialist.
Caulfield Race 7 – 9-11-7-4
The David Jones Cup (G3, 2000m, HCP) is strewn with chances and difficult to reduce to four, favouring Bass Strait back up to suitable trip. Spurtonic rates highly and even higher if it is leaderish. Scream Machine and Honorius are both in great form.
Caulfield Race 8 – 6-5-4-1
Perhaps the money was a couple of weeks early on Peron who lines up in the Tristarc (G2, 1400m, Mares SWP), she is Sal Ciardulli’s top rated Aussie, but Xanadu is on a mission from across the ditch with Group 1 winning form. Also reckon Red Tracer and Flying Snitzel have chances and tough to leave out Aerobatics but wide draw of some concern.
Caulfield Race 9 – 2-14-1-5
What a tough one this week? What’s the strategy? A graduated investment might be wise trying to narrow down selections. With that in mind and $40 Sal Ciardulli will suggest the following
$25 – 4,5,7,9,11/1,3,4,5,6/1,2,5,6,14/2,4,7,8,12,15,16,19 – 1000 Combinations 2.5%
$10 – 7,9,11/3,5,6/2,14/7,8,12,15,16 – 90 Combs 11%
$5 – 9,11/5,6/2,14/7,15,16 – 24 Combs 21%
But a very hard one to catch this week!
The Cox Plate Eve event at The Harp on the Friday Night of the Manikato Stakes. BBQ Dinner, Drinks at Bar Prices, Punters Club and Cox Plate, Melbourne Cup Previews. $35 includes a Punters Club ticket. Let me know if you are interested in attending.
The lad is off to Upton Park this weekend to see the Hammers take on Manchester City – hope they put on a great show and that they are forever blowing bubbles. Sal Ciardulli will be there in spirit with him!
Go Hammers, Go Silent Achiever
Cheers, me, myself, I and that bloke over there!