Almanac Racing: Sal’s Preview – After 57 Years it’s a Melbourne Spring

Greetings All,


Over the years we have lamented blow out Grand Finals, the Demons in two of those 1988 and 2000.  Last week was blow out with the Demons on the other end, it was not one to lament.  Not because of the romance and joy of the Demons breaking their 57 year hoodoo but because of the sheer brilliance and excitement of the way they play the game.  The fact that the Dogs led well into the third quarter also helped before we had that mad minute with Melbourne putting on three goals at the end of the 3rd quarter – in actual playing time those goals were across 32 seconds.  As staunch Doggie said to me he could not begrudge that loss as the opposition were just so good.


But we are all square again as the rumour mill gets into full swing, as does the racing with four group ones to be adjudicated on Saturday.  Turnbull – Epsom day is one of the best of the year with so many good horses on trial for the Blue Riband events in the next few weeks.  Flemington hosts a great program with a fantastic renewal of the Turnbull Stakes, the Bart Cummings providing the winner a ticket to the big dance and a quality support card providing guides to all the features over the next few weeks.  Up in Sydney the Epsom heads the program at Randwick with the Flight and the Metropolitan as other G1s on the card.




A tough program with plenty of “blackbookers” running against each other, the other challenge will be the weather the rain likely to see the track at least in the soft range.  How will that affect the fields, the track and the main chances?  No idea how it will affect the field in the opener with the babies all have their first start – really a race to watch and learn from.  The Super Impose (R2, Listed, 1800m, 3yo SW) is another watch race with the derby aspirants on show, might be some value in the NZer Tutukaka (R2, #1) his dad is Tavistock so should appreciate the extra journey and every drop of rain.  Not many missed the run of Elusive Express (R3, #2) a couple of weeks ago so the odds are skinny, she is well placed in the Edward Manifold (R3, G2, 1600m, Fillies SW).  The Gilgai Stakes (R4, G2, 1200m, SWP) is a bit thin on numbers but has some class, the more the rain comes the more I lean to Kemilpasa (R4, #3) who has a good habit winning down the straight here.  The Danehill (R5, G2, 1100m, 3yo WSP) has attracted a cracking field as they head toward the Coolmore on Derby Day.  Wary of the Matt Laurie pair that are fresh at this level in Ranveer (R5, #5) and Mornington Glory (R5, #10), but still hard to go past the record of Ingratiating (R5, #1) who gets a 2kg advantage over his conqueror last start.  Great race!


The mares contest the Rose of Kingston (R6, G2, 1400m, Mares SWP) plenty of chances here in a quality field.  Mystic Journey (R6, #3) has performed at well above this level, she looked close to her best last start and any juice in the track helps.  Will be pretty wide in the quaddie though.


Race 7 – Turnbull Stakes (G1, 2000m, SWP)


What a ripping affair this is!  The reigning queen up against the up and coming challenger and the race doesn’t end there.  Almost impossible to split Incentivise (3) and Verry Elleegant (4), swaying to the former only in that he has 1½kg allotted under WFA but really clutching at anything.  Collette (8) is the one that could upset the apple cart wins big races and the wetter the better, not completely writing off Sir Dragonet (1) but meets Incentivise (3) on worse terms than the last defeat.  Then there are all the cups prospects, unlikely to win but must be watched with the eyes to the cups – Explosive Jack (2), Persan (7) and Young Werther (10) all of interest.


Selections – 3-4-8-1


Race 8 – The Bart Cummings (G3, 2500m, HCP)


The Bart gets the full treatment as the winner gets a ticket into the Melbourne Cup.  Grand Promenade (11) stands out as a great chance here, well drawn, a winner over this course and the Maher-Eustice polish.  The big unknown will be the fresh imports in Pondus (4) and Sheraz (10), both trainers (Hickmott and Waller) have brought horses from overseas before to win first up at Flemington in Schabau and Shared Ambition.  Would rate Tralee Rose (13) much higher in this race but for the poor barrier so ahead of her I have Mosh Music (14) well weighted and drawn better.  Could have missed the lot here!


Selections – 11-10-4-13


Mystery Shot (R8, #11) gets in on the limit weight with conditions to suit to close out the day.




While there are three group one events the support card has a couple of important events especially the Hill and Premiere Stakes.  Think it Over (R5, #1) is a deserving short favourite in the Hill Stakes, very keen to see how Duais (R5, #8) performs  with an eye to the Caulfield Cup.  A few Everest prospects meet in the Premiere Masked Crusader (R6, #1) can win this at his best but would not want to bomb the start again – Rothfire (R6, #5) might present a better option.


Race 7 – Flight Stakes (G1, 1600m, Fillies SW)


Rain around in Sydney gives Four Moves Ahead (1) every advantage here and happy to pony up again although she does have a tricky draw to negotiate.  As does the next pick Von Trapp (8) who closed the race out best last start, is fresh on the scene and could sing a nice tune if she salutes.  Startantes (5) has not run against this lot but won her last three in Brisbane before taking on the boys last week in the Golden Rose and putting in She’s All Class (4) to fill the hole.


Selections – 1-8-5-4


Race 8 – Epsom Hcp (G1, 1600m, HCP)


We look to the lightweights in the big handicaps and reckon Sky Lab (17) might fit the bill.  Certainly a step up but has won over this journey and should ready 3rd up.  Based on that logic then Atishu (13) has to be in the conversation, another making a big step but has been winning.  Hungry Heart (6) is a group one performer and does not look harshly treated at the weights, reckon we might get a big race from the SA raider in Dalasan (3) who ran so well in the Doncaster.  Problem is that some where in the top four will be Riodini (9) who would be top pick, but suspect will have to spend too many tickets finding the lead from out wide.  While Mo’unga (1) will be a chance in every race he contests not many toppies win these events.


Selections – 17-13-6-9


Race 9 – Metropolitan Handicap (G1, 2400m, HCP)


A much stronger field than recent renewals of this race, also harder to pick.  Some concern about the wide draw but happy to be with Montefilia (8) here, gets to her distance range, win this and she will be a real chance in the Caulfield Cup.  Entente (14) has to back up from the win last week, the Waterhouse-Bott team make ‘em tough so doubt there will be an issue.  She’s Ideel (12) is in terrific form and the drums have been beating for the Hawkes import Zeyrek (20), has been heavily supported after opening at $50.  Still could have missed them all.


Selections – 8-14-12-20




A typical tough Flemington quaddie so to keep some sort of percentage up we will keep the Turnbull down to the two hot pots.


Leg 1 – 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9

Leg 2 – 3, 4

Leg 3 – 4, 5, 10 , 11, 13, 14

Leg 4 – 2, 9, 11


216 Combinations, $30 investment could return 13.9% of the dividend!



Cheers Sal


The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in the coming weeks. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order right now HERE


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