Almanac Racing – Its Derby Day! – Winx in the Pink!

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Happy Derby Day to all,


In what should be a quiet week for the winter code, they have played media masters again with the buildup and release of the 2016 fixture and the release of the “upgraded” illegal drug code. They have slightly dried out the “wet lettuce” but it still falls way short of expectations, clearly the AFLPA have too much influence here. Their exoneration of the actions of Jake Carlisle’s manager clearly displaying where their allegiances lie. As they should, but they also need to consider the overall good of the game that serves them and make sure the balance is right.


The fixture is done and the Blues got their right whack for pathetic Friday night performances last year. The whole week off before the finals is rubbish and it is solving a non-problem. Freo and North resting players is a non-issue, they both earned the right and more importantly it is the motivation to win the game rather than the resting of players that matters. Freo may have performed better against Port with their best team, but North was never going to beat Richmond on that Friday Night. For a change the AFL is handing a free kick to their competition.


Enough of that we also have a test series coming up against the Kiwis, but there is more interest and discussion on the make-up of the ball rather than the team. Not to mention the clash between the nations on the other side of the globe! Test cricket is in a rut and the prospect of a night test is pretty exciting. Players are concerned about the quality of the ball and aficionados about the overall impact on the game and records amassed over the years. There are many issues at play here but overall I liked the comment of a young player whose view was no matter what he thought of the pink ball he will have to learn how to play it because that will be the future of the game. It’s all worth a try and if the pink ball fails then why not a white ball that is changed every 40 overs. It’ll make it too hard for batsmen I hear the cry – too bad they have had their way for long enough. Wielding tree trunk for bats about time we flingers got something!


Racing has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. A biased track at Moonee Valley that has barely drawn comment from the media who seem to careful not to bite that feeding hand. Then the peppering of bullets into the chief stewards home. It may be the sport of kings but the nether regions of society have always lurked around it also. The industry has much work to do to not only ensure the sport is clean but seen to be clean. Their broadcast partner could start by not giving air time to a pair of Gatto’s goons as they did last weekend.


But it is Derby Day and what looks like a terrific day of racing with big fields. There are a couple of shorties but history says winners are hard to find but worth it if you do. Watch the first couple carefully, the track has to last for almost 40 races this week and the Derby day track was often leader biased although not as much in recent years, it favoured the swoopers last year.


Race 1 – Carbine Club Stakes (G3, 1600m, 3yo SWP)

Not much between my top two picks here but favouring the DK Weir trained Mahuta (4) to race handily and hold off the challengers. Of which I expect Montauk (5) to be the closest. Bassett (3) comes off a creditable performance in the Guineas and Flying Light (10) has been performing consistently. Tivaci (9) failed in the Norman but has great form otherwise – concerned about the drop in distance. Plenty of other hopes as is typical for the whole week.

Selections 4-5-3-10


Race 2 – The Wakeful Stakes (G2, 2000m, 3yo Fillies SWP)

An interesting lead up to the Oaks with the two favourites taking the day off and leaving this to the remaining contenders. Ambience (4) could not get the job done in the Ethereal but meets her conqueror 2kgs better off so making her top pick in a competitive race. Putting Beluga Blue (5) in next just ahead that conqueror Dawnie Perfect (2) and another from the Ethereal in Princess Aria (15). There were a few other handy runs in that race. Have only left last week’s winner My Popette (1) out because this is an afterthought, but on form she is right up there.

Selections 4-5-2-15


Race 3 – The Guvera Stakes (G3, 1400m, HCP)

Formerly the Chatham Handicap we see the milers looking towards the Emirates next week. Red Excitement (8) has me a bit that way. A specialist over the distance including a win over this very journey in January add a good first up record and GA Ryan knows how to target a race. Plenty of competition though especially from Disposition (3) who has been very consistent as has Good Project (14). The big unknown is Kool Kompany (5) making his Australian debut but is 2 from 2 first up. Artlee (12), Mr Utopia (10) and San Diego (15) are worthy of consideration but there are limits!

Selections 8-3-14-5


Race 4 – Coolmore Stud Stakes (G1, 1200m, 3yo SW)

The one race on the program that often has a short priced favourite – nevertheless one of the highlights. This year is no exception with Exosphere (1) rating 15 points better than any of its rivals. Sit back and enjoy – or let’s try and nail the trifecta! Super One (3) has a record to match the name in Singapore and has had the one hit out here. Putting the quinella from the Blue Sapphire for the last spots Keen Array (4) and Mogador (10).

Selections 1-3-4-10


Race 5 – The Lexus Stakes (G3, 2500m, Qty HCP)

A few running here for the ticket to the dance on Tuesday, could the Grandson of Bart get a runner with Ruling Dynasty (7)? Certainly a chance but will have his work cut out. Some of these put in huge runs last start without winning, the three I have picked out are Hawkspur (2), Excess Knowledge (3) and Havana Cooler (6). Havana Cooler (6) chased home well in the Metropolitan, but there was more ahead. Hawkspur (2) was outstanding in The Bart and Excess Knowledge (3) similar in the Herbert Power. At odds Ethiopia (10) put in a great trial in the Geelong Cup.

Selections 6-7-2-3


Race 6 – Mackinnon Stakes (G1, 2000m, WFA)

Plenty of good Flemington horses coming off poor runs such as Fawkner (1), Happy Trails (2) and Set Square (15). The good run I have focussed on is that of Flamingo Star (12) in the Toorak Hcp. Held up in the straight but still finished 5th – some concern about WFA but plenty more in that category. Stratum Star (13) would have been top pick but for a poor barrier, drop a kg from a great win in the Coongy. Pornichet (4) found form last week and Fawkner (1) could improve at the venue. Contributer (5) needs to improve but his best is capable of winning this and like the fact that JMac has chosen him over the well spruiked Magic Hurricane (9).

Selections – 12-13-4-1


Race 7 – VRC Derby (G1, 2500m, 3yo SW)

We have a dominant favourite for the Blue Riband classic in Tarzino (7) and he looks a great prospect after last week’s effort in the Vase. But the odds are pretty short and it comes with a warning, that favourites do not have great record in this race in recent times. He will rely on a fast pace being set to unleash his run. Reckon Sacred Eye would be favourite in this if she contested it, so Lizard Island (1), Etymology (9) and Get the Picture (8) look well placed after chasing her home in the Norman. Thought Etymology (9) was going better at the end and gets the McDonald polish ahead of Shards (2), although H. Bowman is no slouch. Would have rated Extra Choice (6) higher but for the barrier, he and the placegetters Jadeer (10) and Pay Up Bro (13) from the Geelong Classic look well suited. The western raider Kia Oro Koutou (3) has claims as do plenty of others if the favourite is to go down.

Selections – 7-9-1-8-13-2-6-3


Race 8 – Myer Classic (G1, 1600m, Fillies & Mares WFA)

The Mares take each other on at the scale, we have a 3yo in the race as an afterthought as favourite up against one of the best who rarely competes against her own sex. Stay With Me (15) is a very good filly, but not sure she is as good as Alinghi who could not win this race and went down to good mare in Miss Potential who I doubt is as good as Royal Descent (1). OK that’s the logic but that needs to be thrown out the windows with this race with most recent winners saluting a long odds. Azkadellia (14) comes off a great run last week almost beating the pattern, Fenway (12) and Amicus (11) are group one winners and wary of anytime AJ Cummings turns up as he does here with Vergara (10).

Selections 1-14-15-11


Race 9 –

The time honoured 6 furlong handicap which has had a variety of sponsors names, but should just be named the Whitefriars Stakes after he stormed down the straight to win this race after the ill-fated Lion Hunter took out the derby. But enough of the memories! Again we will have Under the Louvre (5) deservedly well supported, reckon the one better this time might be Dothraki (3). Comes off a great win in Sydney has a super 2nd up record and has won over this journey. P. Stokes smashed this carnival last year and Éclair Choice (9) steps up after a winning the Schillaci. Delectation (6) ran a great 2nd to the Hawkes star Chautauqua last start. Team Hawkes have Kaepernick (14) at foot of the weights and running into some form.

Selections 3-5-9-6


Quaddie Time

Limited funds and big open fields requires some strategic thinking.  Going with two investments this week, the first going with the usual wide early and finish skinny the other going narrow in the Derby and the Myer.


Quaddie 1

Leg 1 – 1,2,4,5,9,12,13

Leg 2 – 1,2,7,8,9,13

Leg 3 – 1,10,11,12,14,15

Leg 4 – 3,5

588 Combinations, $30 returns 5.1% of the dividend


Quaddie 2

Leg 1 – 1,2,4,5,9,12,13

Leg 2 – 7

Leg 3 – 1, 14, 15

Leg 4 – 3,5,6,9

84 Combinations, $10 returns 11.9% of the dividend.


Let’s hope we get a couple of longies in!



A great opener on Friday Night with a terrific win from Chautauqua and pretty handy to get 6/4!  But Saturday was a tougher test and not made any easier with the way the track was presented with all winners bar one taking advantage of the fast lane on the inside and none of the winners came from the second half of the field – so those looking for the big closers were going to struggle. That is unless the jockey took control and made the race as H. Bowman did on Winx. Usually a back marker with a blistering finish, she used the inside gate, travelled on the speed and used the inside lane to bound away with the prize.

Managed to find the trifecta in the Cox Plate, but not tough when you pick 8 of them. The winner was fourth selection and the top selection Hartnell finished fifth in a useful Melbourne Cup hit out. Found a couple of outright winners with Holler and Jameka, but only one other top selection running a place in Lucky Hussler. The Trifecta popped up in that race which was it for the exotics where the winner Turn me Loose was in the numbers. As was The United States who was too good in the Moonee Valley Cup.


Hope everyone has a great weekend,

Go Hammers, getting dizzy up there!


Cheers, Sal 


Check out Ladbrokes for all promarkets on the AFL and NRL Grand Finals, as well as all the action at Caulfield, Royal Randwick and Doomben.

Open an account with Ladbrokes and receive $250 in bonus bets.


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