Almanac Racing – W.S. Cox Plate: Jake’s not the messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!

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“I have made a very poor decision and let people down and for that I am embarrassed and truly sorry. First, I would like to apologise to all St Kilda members, supporters and staff, AFL fans as well as my new teammates. 

I am aware of footage being aired of me last night and I want to be upfront and say that I made a mistake.

The video casts me in a very poor light and reveals clearly inappropriate behaviour which I regret but am accountable for.”  – Jake Carlisle (or his ghost writer)



Greetings All,


So Jake – what are you truly embarrassed and sorry for?  Making a conscious decision to break the law and use an illegal substance or for putting it on video and getting busted?  If he was not so stupid to leave himself exposed on social media would we have found out that party time in Las Vegas comes with the lot.  As an aside who was he with?  Just so many questions that beggar belief.  What about the role of his manager in all this?  When did he know?  What duty did he have to inform both Essendon and St Kilda?  The end result has been in the best interest of his client at this stage, but the long term ramifications are unknown.  The Saints are justifiably “filthy” on this, the Bombers rapt to have unloaded him in time.


However the AFL has remained schtum so far.  They may come out with something, but it is clear players are prepared to take the risk with illegal drugs and suffer the slap on the wrist.  The AFLPA have pushed for the current slap with a “wet lettuce” punishments but they are clearly not working.  The medicos claim it’s a health issue!  What a bunch of bollocks – these players well remunerated and spend hours at their clubs being educated on the potential pitfalls.  They make conscious decisions to flout the laws of the land and the competition and should pay greater consequences.  Penalties should be harsh – these are privileged and influential young men who whether they like it or not need to be held to a higher standard.  It is unfortunate for St Kilda, but Jake Carlisle has to miss matches that mean something.


It gave us a break from the trade period which is finally over.  Much conjecture of winners and losers but no doubt every club will be putting a positive spin on their efforts.   The Cats got things done early and have loaded up.  At the other end I am hoping the Blues are playing the long game.  Moving on Troy Menzel was yet another forward departing and with enough X-factor that might make him a very good player.  The Blues first priority though has to be to have players that set a standard, Menzel and Yarran did meet those standards often enough.  They could become great assets at Adelaide and Richmond, but they would have been a lot of work whilst in navy blue.  Hope everyone was happy with their club’s efforts, but proof won’t be known for a couple of years.


To the Amphitheatre of Dreams

The Moonee Valley carnival over Friday Night and Saturday provides us with a feast of racing highlighted with the Manikato Stakes and the Cox Plate, but with a terrific support program.  Looking at the Manikato on Friday night first then all the group races on Saturday plus a detailed look at the field in the Cox Plate.


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

What a race?  It is just the pipe opener before the big sprint at Flemington!  Can the brave Buffering (1) hold out the huge finishes of Chautauqua (2), Terra Vista (3) and few other big closers?  Suspect the work he will need to do from a wide alley might be telling and think Chautauqua(2) will get him and Terra Vista (3) won’t be far off.  Srikandi (8) could be right in it also but starts from the very outside gate.    Fast ’n’ Rocking (6) finally broke through and will be chasing well.  Probably need to see Alpha Miss (10) perform again, this is a much better field than those she dealt with last time.

Selections – 2-3-1-8



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

  1. Criterion – backed up his globetrotting form with an authoritative win in the Caulfield Stakes.  Some excuses for the beaten brigade in that race but he would appear to have that lot covered.
  2. Fawkner – uncharacteristic performance last start but form is good if you take that race out and was runner up last year.  Certainly some question marks, but maybe that poor run might just get a better price.  Barrier draw does not bode well either, Ollie will have to be at his best.
  3. Happy Trails – a consistent performer who continually finds one a bit better.  Hasn’t saluted since the Mackinnon last year – will be competitive but would be a surprise winner.
  4. Hartnell – Finished the Turnbull strongly, has JB McDonald in the saddle and is 100% 3rd up.  Has been fantastic in Australia after a good record in Europe, not sure this is the Grand Final but can win and my top pick.
  5. Mourinho – He really has been a special one for the Gelagotis boys who did not get a run last year but could not be denied this year.  Beat a good field in the Underwood, loves the valley so not without hope but in the same space as Happy Trails for mine.
  6. The Cleaner – He will guarantee a good tempo for the race and will make it a real test.  Suspect he might lead up to the school and hang on, but eventually succumb to the chasers.
  7. Pornichet – Sydney form looks OK but not winning and the Caulfield Stakes run was poor.  Would be a huge turnaround.
  8. Arod – bold front runner that will certainly be tough to chase down, it took one of the world’s best last start.  Hasn’t started over 2000m for over a year, but clearly not here for a holiday and my pick of the internationals.
  9. Complacent – Ran 2nd in the VRC Derby in 2013 and did not race again till August this year.  Has come back strongly winning 2 of his last 3 beating Kermadec, Hauraki and Royal Descent on the way through.  While Moonee Valley for the first time is tough, he represents great value.
  10. Gailo Chop – was an impressive winner of a Group 3 event in France last start and is hard to discount with a 7 from 12 record.  If we see species start gathering 2×2 he would be just about a certainty, but not that much rain in Melbourne so leaving him out.
  11. Kermadec – Highly fancied, with the CJ Waller polish and G Boss is sticking fat.  There are question marks still over the distance and the track.  He has been beaten recently by a number of others in the race, but concede Waller might just have the timing right.  His best can win, but I think other conveyances present better value.
  12. Preferment – Last year’s derby winner has returned in magnificent form and with the right timing could win this.  But timing is everything and CJW wants this bloke’s timing to be right on Tuesday week as does Hugh Bowman who jumped off him for this race.
  13. Highland Reel – Aidan O’Brien knows how to win this race with Adelaide saluting last year and Highland Reel will be up toward the lead also.  Only finished a few lengths from the Arc winner last start and was pretty brave.  Can win but can’t pick them all!
  14. Winx – Hughie jumped on her!  She has won the Theo Marks and the Epsom this campaign with blistering finishes which she should be able to unleash with the pace likely to be set.  Everything will need to go right though, the straights in Sydney are much longer than the 173m of Moonee Valley so negotiating the bend and traffic on her “other” leg could be a challenge.  I also have a query on the Epsom form, while she was a great winner none of the vanquished have performed since.  I do think she can win but like Kermadec does not represent great value.

Selecting the winner is a real challenge being that I am only giving four little chance of winning in Happy Trails (3), Mourinho (5), The Cleaner (6) and Pornichet (7) but they are capable of filling a hole.  This race can produce some unexpected results and whilst I rate all the top selections as winning chances, the form of the Godolphin pair is every bit as good as the rest of the locals.  Just putting Hartnell (4) ahead of Complacent (9) but they both present as fantastic each way propositions.  Putting in Arod (8) as the pick of the internationals, although the others also rate highly.  Winx (14) has the X-factor and is unknown even against the locals, she could simply blow them away. Criterion (1) is adaptable and the Hayes-Dabernig team are deadly at the moment.  Will be watch Preferment (12) very closely with an eye to the Melbourne Cup.

Selections – 4-9-8-14-1-13-2-12


And now the rest of the program.


Moonee Valley Race 3 – Alliance Broking Services Fillies Classic (G2, 1600m, 3yo Fillies SW)

A pretty even bunch of fillies in this lot but there was money for Silent Sedition (9) last week and suspect it will come again, although she went down she finished hard in a slowly run race.  Don’t Doubt Mama (3) might have a couple who do, but has a good turn of foot that could split the field.  Air Apparent (2) was right on the back Silent Sedition (9) and Thames Court (8) was good in the Manifold.  Wary of Seeking Asylum (4) down from Sydney and My Poppette (1) has been competitive in this grade.

Selections 9-3-2-8


Moonee Valley Race 4 – Telstra Phonewords Stakes (G3, 1200m, 3yo SWP)

Could be a big day for O’Shea with two hopes in this race.  Holler (1) has form around both Exosphere and Press Statement, is JBMac’s pick and that’s enough for me.  The next two Demonstrate (2) and Mawahibb (3) have form at the Valley and just nudging towards the latter who will be better for the run.  More Than Most (4) was OK in the Guineas and has some hope.  Not forgetting Ability (5) who has some!

Selections 1-3-2-4


Moonee Valley Race 6 – Moonee Valley Gold Cup (G2, 2500m, SWP)

Could we get the fairytale with the late great JB Cumming’s trusty steed Precedence (1) winning the Moonee Valley Cup and getting into the Melbourne Cup?  Not entirely without hope, but suspect will find a couple better. Lizzie’s Bold Sniper (8) is mixing his form and behaviour and suspect connections “are not amused”, but if he behaves he can win.  Bondeiger (10) gets a good weight drop from the Herbert Power and The United States (7) gets Hugh Bowman on board to get his campaign back on track.  The mares Bohemian Lily (11) is a great chance, my hopes are for Precedence (1), but not my selection.

Selections 8-10-7-9


Moonee Valley Race 7 – The Vase (G2, 2040m, 3yo SW)

The Derby Contenders have their last hurrah in this famous race – could we see a repeat of the Elvstroem-Kempinsky battle down the straight?  Most of the field is coming out of the either of the Guineas and Tarzino (4) was the fastest closer in his race, suspect he has that field covered although Shards (1) was poleaxed early in that race.  Jameka (11) was beaten by a brilliant ride in the Fillies event and has always looked like the extra ground will suit.  Kentucky Flyer (5) was terrible in the Guineas, but prior form was good including a win here, has to run well here to stay on the Derby trail.  Hierarchal (6) closed well in the Spring Champion Stakes and will be looking forward to next week.

Selections 4-11-5-6


Moonee Valley Race 8 – Schweppes Crystal Mile (G2, 1600m, WFA)

Lucky Hussler (1) carried top weight in the Toorak to victory and meets a similar field at the scale.  Will take a very good one to beat him.  Amovatio (4) had the fastest final furlong of anyone on Guineas Day and has a good record over the distance.  Turn Me Loose (11) was dominant in the Seymour Cup and rates highly.  Bow Creek (6) is an interesting runner, was well beaten at Ascot but had a torrid run.  If he does run well, the winner of the race at Ascot was Arod who may then shorten considerably for the Cox Plate.

Selections 1-4-11-6



They’re not meant to be easy!  A wide one and a narrow one might be a strategy, bringing the vase and the mile down to one or two selections in the skinny version.  We will go with just the one and hope that the Lucky Hussler form stays true.  Going with the top 4 and Pasadena Girl in the Vase and go the Hussler in the mile.  Almost want the field in the Plate but settling on nine, which means only a couple in the last which hopefully we are cheering for.


Leg 1 – 4, 5, 6, 10, 11

Leg 2 – 1

Leg 3 – 1, 2, 4, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14

Leg 4 – 1, 10, 12

This is 135 combinations a $30 investment will return the Richie Benaud dividend 22.22%



Not quite the same results as last and another tripod in the Quaddie.  Managed to find the winner in the cup but that’s pretty easy when you pick down to the eighth!  Mind you my strategy was in trouble when Lizard Island ran well then the win by Stratum Star which showed that horses on the back up were going well, then Mongolian Khan franked it with a terrific win.  Only managed one outright winner in Sacred Eye, another three winners in the top four selection just a single quinella and running double for the exotics.  They reckon a week is a long time in football – blimey what about racing!


Go Blues – and especially the Godolphin variety!


Cheers, Sal


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  1. Peter Flynn says

    You can read about Carlisle in the Almanac’s new sports magazine.

    White Lines to Jake.

  2. 100% record so far Sal. Huge win from Chatauqua

  3. Yep, one would clearly say Jake has white line fever.


  4. G’day Sal,

    I agree with you about harsh penalty for taking illegal drugs. Yesterday the AFL website published an article where former St Kilda coach Grant Thomas suggesting zero-tolerance on taking illegal drugs. Indeed Thomo is right!

    Meanwhile Chris Judd comments that mental conditions are reasons to take such substances. But such conditions should not be excuses to take illegal drugs. Counselling should be the first solution to fight with mental issues such as depression, panic disorders and etc.



  5. It’s interesting all the ‘hysteria’ re illegal drugs.

    What about a conversation our most popular legal drug has on people/players: Alcohol; ? Or dare we not discuss the legal substance that pours $$ into football & other sports ?

    Chris Judd says there the bigger problem amongst AFL players is gambling, like alcohol, purely legal. Where is the discussion here, or don’t we dare bite the hand feeding us ?


  6. Peter Flynn says

    Old Mate Carlisle wouldn’t be the only home at his new home.

    Granted no video evidence.


  7. Peter Flynn says

    First home is one.


  8. How long Before Carlisle is on the nose with Saints fans ?

    Glen !

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