Almanac Racing: Sal’s tips (with some thoughts on what else is happening in sport)

Greetings All,


The WFA championship of Australasia awaits!  It can wait a bit as we dissect a couple of people hitting the back pages.  There is no one hitting them more for all the wrong reasons than Nick Kyrgios and all the right reasons in Tim Cahill.  Tim Cahill’s exploits on the pitch are well documented – however his work, demeanour and presentation have made him a magnificent ambassador for his sport.  He will get used to the boos and jeers as he plies his trade in the domestic competition, but all those fans respect and love him for how he has represented his country and himself for many a year.


Compared him to our Nick – something is drastically wrong with the Tennis system in producing these boorish individuals who purely represent themselves with little care for the sport that feeds them or who they represent.  His ban has been a long time coming and in my opinion too short – it should include missing the Australian Open.  Nick was right that nobody forced the fans in Shanghai to buy their tickets, what he failed to point out though was that much of his own development, coaching and support was paid for without specific consent by the Australian tax payer.  I don’t object to he and Bernie not being quite good enough to win, but I strongly object to the petulance and lack of character they show when the chips are down.  So Nick in your time off spend some time watching Tim Cahill work both on and off the park as to how you should present yourself as a professional sportsperson, your talent is undoubted but you are impossible to admire.


The other person worth looking up is the recently retired Jimmy Bartel.  It was impossible not to like this player, as I have written often in here he always bobbed up to do the right thing at the right time – unfortunately the Cats believed the right time for him is now and we won’t see him grace the field again.  As pure a footballer as we have seen, he was in their best in his final game and it was his win of the contested ball in the dying stage of the Qualifying Final that set up the match winning goal for Geelong.  He was a core part of what made the Cats a joy to watch over the last 10 years.  Well played Jimmy!


There is a draught in here


The two weeks of torture is over with the final day proving that the whole circus could easily be run and done in three days.  From a strictly blue perspective I am glad the Bryce Gibbs situation finished the way it did.  Whether he went to Adelaide did not particularly bother me, but they courted him and promised nirvana but would not pay the asking price.  Bryce might not be enamoured with the Blues but he should be happy that they value him higher than what the competition was prepared to pay, whether that is right or not is a matter of conjecture.  In the same manner the Suns chairman Tony Cochrane was right in standing up to Hawthorn and demanding a fair price for the much sought after Jaegerbomb.  There have been an enormous number of trades and some of them with whom we would have thought were “rusted on” to their clubs.  It has prompted the bemused Paul Mason to provide his thoughts which follow here along with a little ditty for you to sing to yourself.


Why, Why, Why


Fodder for thought…


Seems like the ‘favourite sons’ classification in football have been replaced by ‘persona non grata’. Culture, tradition, club fabric, and the hero worship of the loyal young fans with their favourite number on their backs have it seemed been devalued and replaced by the mercenary player, coaches self-interest and misguided pragmatism. ‘Say it aint so Joe’.


AFL clubs might best be cognizant that the loyalty they no longer embrace and the alienation of the young fan could well be the harbinger of a generation of supporters who decide to move on themselves and become transient football fans. They might be best to consider the recoil after firing the gun and beware  the law of unintended consequences. …Are you there Clarko?


The veterans list needs to be revisited and there needs to be a framework and systematic support for players to achieve that once before held ideal of being one club players. Too many favourite sons are being showed the door too early and we are losing the characters and club champions of our game prematurely. – just to make room for speculative, pimple faced horse flesh of whom many will be sent to the knackers  soon enough anyway.



I saw the light on the night that I passed by the coaches window

I saw the flickering shadow of love on his player list

He was my mentor

As he deceived me I watched and went out of my mind


My my my Scotty

Why why why Buckley

I could see, that man was no good for me

But I was lost like a leading forward that no running midfielder could see.


At break of day when the coach drove away I was waiting

I crossed the street to another club and they opened the door

They stood there laughing

I had the transfer papers in my hand and they laughed no more


My my my Clarko

Why why why Clarko

So before they come, with 3rd round pick 64

Forgive me Clarko I just couldn’t take any more …


Floreat pica




And now for the horse flesh


The Caulfield Cup went to script with Jameka proving to be a weight special as suggested, the 1.5kg penalty for the Melbourne Cup will be a tougher but not impossible assignment.  Not letting too much go but I think Hartnell will meet her on better terms than he did in the Turnbull for a solid beating, there was another winner on Turnbull day owned by The Weird One who also has plenty of favours for the Cup.  As for other results I couldn’t find any in the Ethereal although had 4th, 5th and 6th – usually doesn’t mean much but the first six all ran very well and bigger Flemington circuit might suit.  Kent could not run on in the Norman, but did have the winner Good Standing as second elect in an outstanding performance – the only winner on the day that lead from wire to wire.  Could only manage 2nd and 3rd in the Coongy, the winner Vanbrugh worth following.  I said First Seal could win, but didn’t think she would – a real chance for the Myer on Derby Day, Tycoon Tara brave in defeat trying to lead all the way.  Covered Jameka – massive run by Almoonqith on an unsuitable surface in the cup.  Hellbent being scratched knocked many out of the Quaddie including me, great performance from Our Boy Malachi to win.  A good finish with the winner Voodoo Lad and the quinella with Takedown, they were favoured and I suspect both will bob up over the four days of Flemington.


Enough crying over spilt milk – the opportunities abound this weekend with the Manikato Stakes on Friday Night followed by the Cox Plate on Saturday at the Valley.



Moonee Valley Race 7 – Manikato Stakes (G1, 1200m, WFA)

The Three Year Old Colt got Chatauqua (2) in the Moir, but he was finishing strongly and the extra 200m will suit.  My concern being that he did bolt in the Moir last year and might not be in quite the same form.  Has another 3yo to contend with in the Golden Slipper winner Capitalist (11) the Snowdens place their horses beautifully he must have a huge chance.  The Sheikh’s team is also pretty good at placement and Holler (9) comes in with a good fresh record and 2 from 3 at the track.  Canberra raider Fell Swoop (8) was terrific in the Schilacci and will appreciate the extra distance, suspect Darren Weir will have Lucky Hussler (3) ready for a big run also.  Chances don’t end there every runner bar one has a Group 1 victory marked on their thigh pad.  Going with Chatauqua (2) but not great value at anything under $3 against this field.

Selections – 2-9-11-8




Moonee Valley Race 4 – Red Anchor Stakes (G3, 1200m, 3yo SWP)

A few colliding form lines in this one looking at the undefeated Matty (7) also possibly due to family influence, but a strong winner in a benchmark 64 race then coming straight to the big smoke on a big day – suspect the Ellerton/Zahra team have high hopes.  Ken’s Dream (1) was the recipient of Ollie’s bump which has him missing this meeting, was hampered by the bump but still ran on well.  Highland Beat (4) has a win here under his belt and could win with the right run and Palladian (6) comes down from Sydney with some good form.  Dalradian (3) would have almost rated on top but for drawing the car park and respect Archives (2) who will appreciate coming back to 1200m.

Selections – 7-1-4-6


Moonee Valley Race 5 – Tesio Stakes (G3, 1600m, Mares HCP)

A handicap by name only with all runners bar the toppie carrying 57kg, the toppie though is Lady Le Fay (1) who was outstanding running second in the Angst to Dixie Blossoms – super form for this.  The rest as the handicapper suggests are pretty even bunch – putting in Antelucan (7) in for second meeting the two who beat her home last start with a weight advantage, Metaphorical (5) should be reaching her peak and Kaniana (8) was good here behind a good one in Don’t Doubt Mama.

Selections – 1-7-5-8


Moonee Valley Race 6 – MV Fillies Classic (G2, 1600m, 3yo Fillies SW)

Second in the Thousand Guineas is great form for this so I Am a Star (1) rates highly, but I have been awaiting the reappearance and recovery of Exocet (5) after a chequered run in the Manifold.  If 2nd to Global Glamour is good then so is 3rd to her with Yankee Rose splitting them which is the case for Sezanne (3) just don’t like the barrier, La Luna Rossa (2) had a torrid run in the Guineas and could improve with a better run.  Interesting that the Hayes family have engaged the Magic Man Joao Moreira for the lightly raced Khaseeb (12), unfortunately he is stranded in Honkers.  Lots of others to consider from a range of form lines.

Selections – 5-1-3-2


Moonee Valley Race 7 – Schweppes Crystal Mile (G2, 1600m, WFA)

Looks like a Sydney race where CJWaller makes up the numbers in the field, with the Victorian version DKWeir saddling up four of the nine starters.  Stratum Star (2) has been lugging around big weights in handicaps and running well without winning, here he has the big weight but so do the rest of them.  Suspect The Weird One has placed The United States (1) here to win rather than taking on Winx over the longer journey, he has good WFA form and is a worthy favourite.  The utterly confused He or She (3) has been running well against the very best and looking for improvement from Observational (9).

Selections – 2-1-3-9


Moonee Valley Race 8 – Moonee Valley Gold Cup  (G2, 2500m, SWP)

The distance might be a question however the record of the import Second Wave (9) is pretty impressive, 5 from 11 although wins only up to 1700m and three of them on synthetic.  The Appleby stable has come to Australia on fire with Scottish 2nd in the Caulfield Cup and also taking out 1st and 3rd in the Geelong Cup.  The Weird One though makes his presence felt in these distance races and Gallante (1) did run second to Jameka in the Naturalism, he looks well suited.  We then have a couple of the Sydney stayers priming themselves for Tuesday week and putting Who Shot Thebarman (3) ahead of Excess Knowledge (4) and Grand Marshal (2)

Selections – 1-9-3-4


Moonee Valley Race 9 – WS Cox Plate  (G1, 2040m, WFA)

Is it a two horse race between Winx (8) and Hartnell (3) or is there a surprise in store?  Apart from a couple of unknowns the big two appear to have the rest covered.  The French horse Vadamos (6) is completely unknown, by the same token the tight circuit is a challenge for many navigating it for the first time.  His record is outstanding he might offer better value – but only if he wins.  The filly Yankee Rose (10) is untried against older horses but does get a massive weight advantage – could run a cheeky race but not sure she is as good as Samantha Miss who couldn’t win this race and didn’t have Winx (8) in the field.  Happy Trails (1) goes around again looks like he is making up the numbers, but can pull out a big run when least expected – I doubt this time.  Black Heart Bart (2) ran superbly against Winx (8), but just cannot see a turnaround some chance to fill a hole.  Hartnell (3) has been incredible this spring after a shocker last year, has been winning by panels and rain would not hurt his chances – reckon this will be a ripper cup lead up.  Hauraki (4) smashing win in the Epsom but importantly ran Winx (8) to 1.3 lengths the run before – did she coast or was she pushed?  If that margin was genuine then Hartnell (3) is right in this.  I am just not sure it was.  Happy Clapper (5) will be cheering on the winner.  Awesome Rock (7) is an X-Factor horse that can pull out a huge performance nearly won an Australian Cup, back to WFA helps but needs it dry.  Winx (8) once she is beaten I’ll stop believing, she won this race in record breaking style last year and her form has not tapered off, reckon she will do it again. Lucia Valentina (9) has just been going OK, however the rain predicted will suit her and could run a place.

Selections – 8-3-6-4-2-9-10-7-5-1


Moonee Valley Race 10 – The LUCRF Super Vase  (G2, 2040m, 3yo SW)

The final leadup to next week’s blue riband VRC Derby is also being used by a couple of fillies who on target for the Oaks.  It could be argued So Si Bon (6) would have won the Guineas if not for being poleaxed at the 200 – not sure that is exactly correct but it was a huge performance and puts him right in this.  GSOB (Grandson of Bart) saddles up Prized Icon as his derby horse and he is going well, Harlow Gold is on the Oaks path but already has one win over the boys and Sacred Elixir (2) will appreciate the extra distance.  Not restricted to these and one could jump up and be right in contention for glory next week, really interested in the Ciaran Maher trained Sayonaramosa (9) stepping up from a Pakenham maiden.

Selections – 6-1-11-2


Quaddie Time


Prepared to take the risk – if that is what it is and skinny up the Cox Plate to Winx and Hartnell.  The Mile and Cup also look skinny, while I would not be shocked by a surprise in the Vase.  A bit back to front for me, but let’s hope we get the first three in and don’t get left with another tripod!


Leg 1 – 1, 2, 3

Leg 2 – 1, 3, 4, 9

Leg 4 – 3, 8

Leg 5 – 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 11


168 Combinations so $30 will return almost 18% of the dividend.


The Final Word


For the final exams we have one about to complete VCE and have a tense but excited household.  Best wishes to all families out there with students completing secondary school and taking on what lies ahead,


Go Bug,


Cheers, Sal


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