Almanac Horse Racing: Sal’s Preview – An Elleegant Way to Close


Greetings All,


This will be the final preview for 2021 and a fine way to finish with a classic Melbourne Cup, we might have lamented the lack of depth but the cream rose to the top.  From a recalcitrant but clearly talented 3yo filly she has become the most reliable of conveyances.  This win was her tenth group one victory in ten separate events.  The ride from JMac and his other efforts through the carnival show why he is without peer in this country.  Good to see the best jockeys in the land on show at Flemington.  It has been a tough few days finding winners, but we plough on into the home straight!




With 28 races down over the week we can expect some deterioration of the track, with the rail pushed out to 8 metres and as the day progresses we expect to them getting to the outside to get the best ground.  The big unknown is when the rain will come in, the later the better!


We open up with a shorty in Hosier (R1, #5) who looks pretty good.  Finding a reason not to back him – all wins on soft ground.   Silent Sovereign (R1, #7) handles any going or the JMac factor might be worth following on Equation (R1, #9).  


Race 2 – Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G2, 2600m, HCP)


Usually a bigger field contests the Lizzie, usually the cup aspirants that did not get a run.  They all got a run this year and we are left with six contestants in a competitive race.  Tough to separate the top three but going with Lunar Flare (4) who beat the 4th placegetter in the Melbourne Cup at her last start.  It come with a Warning (1) who has been successfully aimed at these second tier staying races after not quite being at the top level.  While Dr Drill (3) was terrific in the Geelong Cup allaying worries about running the trip out.  Nothing wrong with the form of the Bendigo Cup winner either in Wentwood (5).


Selections – 4-1-3-5


Like Alcyone (R3, #6) but don’t like the price, tough to find the one to beat it though – maybe Royal Order (R3, #17) now that he is in the field.  The name a race after the previous chairman or is just for John Elliott’s widow?  Jimmy the Bear (R4, #9) is undefeated and looks promising enough to take out The Mandy.


Race 5 – Matriarch Stakes (G2, 2000m, Mares SWP)


Probably apt that the Matriarch is run on the same day as the Lizzie!  When in trouble go with the strength and JMac gets on board Our Intrigue (7) for CJW.  Didn’t handle the Valley but still ran 3rd and might be able to turn the tables onOnly Words (2) who rates highly.  Nimalee (1) coming fourth in the group one last week is good form for this and looking down the bottom to Mahahshakti (15) who has good form but also struggled around the Valley.


Selections – 7-2-1-15


Race 6 – VRC Sprint (G1, 1200m, WFA)


Nature Strip (1) strangles the market here and justifiably so, if the rain comes he is even shorter!  It took a super 3yo to beat him in this last year and giving one the best chance to here.  Ranch Hand (9) was very good in the Coolmore and handy down the straight.  Bella Nipotina (6) has been consistent since the move to Maher-Eustace and Splintex (3) was a good winner down the straight early in spring.


Selections – 1-9-6-3


Race 7 – Chatham Stakes (G3, 1400m, HCP)


Flemington, 1400, is the formula for Chaillot (11) who closed well in the Cantala but could not make up all the ground.   Scared to leave out Justacanta (5) racing in great style and won well on Saturday.  Back to 1400 suits Dice Roll (4) and including Rainer (1) for GSOB providing the rain has not arrived.  Plenty of other chances though.


Selections – 11-5-4-1


Race 8 – McKinnon Stakes (G1, 2000m, WFA)


Will this be the consolation prize for Zaaki (4) after not getting to run in the Cox Plate?  Firmly believe it will be.  Putting the mares Collette (9) and Hungry Heart (10) as the main threats plus Mo’unga (7) off his good Cox Plate run.


Selections – 4-9-10-7


The carnival will shut down with a shorty in Duchess of Dorset (14) who looks good but yet to come to town, reckon the freshen up might give Destination (4) the opportunity for JMac to close out in style.


Quaddie Time


Hot pots in the 1st and 3rd leg make it intriguing, if you like them then nothing wrong with going one out and field in the other two legs and hope for a couple of roughies in those.  Strategy here is similar – one out in the first leg and hope we can nail the rest.


Leg 1 – 1

Leg 2 – 1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 11, 14

Leg 3 – 4, 9, 7, 10

Leg 4 – 4, 11, 14


We’ll take $30 on this one with 84 Combinations and a return of 35.7%


Hope everyone has enjoyed the carnival and the year – especially the Demons.  Enjoy the holiday festivities before we are back for the Blues and Tigers on March 17!


Go Blues,


Cheers Sal



We’ll do our best to publish two books in the lead-up to Christmas 2021. The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020  and the 2021 edition to celebrate the Dees’ magnificent premiership season(title is up for discussion at the moment!). These books will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers and Demons season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from these two Covid winters. Enquiries HERE


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  1. Sal, I don’t follow the nags and I’m primarily a rugby league supporter who also has a sympathetic bent for the Bombers. So our lines don’t cross too much. But as both an Almanac reader and one of the daily editors, I’m grateful for your regular columns during the season, the insights you bring and the humour that is always there, especially in your sobriquets for the AFL teams each week. A big ‘thanks’ to you, and every best wish to you and yours for the Christmas and New Year season. I’ll look forward to you resuming duties in the New Year. Cheers!

  2. Colin Ritchie says

    Well done Sal! Thank you for the time and effort you give to our community with your weekly footy and racing previews on the Footy Almanac, it has truly been a tremendous cause over and above the call of duty. As one of the FA editors I looked forward to your weekly posts with interest, wondering whether I agreed with your tips or not, I certainly appreciated the thought and consideration your made with your choices. Enjoy the break until next year Sal!

  3. Sal Ciardulli says

    A correction on the quaddie

    Leg 1 – 1
    Leg 2 – 1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 11, 14
    Leg 3 – 4, 9, 7, 10
    Leg 4 – 4, 11, 14

  4. Echoing Ian and Col, thanks for your efforts week in week out, Sal. Looking forward to more in 2022.

  5. Thanks for 2021 Sal. Always look forward to your analysis and tips on both footy and the nags. See you in 2022.

  6. Daryl Schramm says

    Ditto Sal. Don’t know how you went Sat but the pick 4 on Tuesday wasn’t a bad get.

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