Finals Week 2 – Sal’s Preview: Bombs Away plus racing tips


Greetings All,


What a great start to the finals with four terrific games – unfortunately this pontificator missed them all!  Meanwhile for the rest of the clubs we have witnessed the challenges for the Bombers with Daniher and Saad revealing their intentions and the rumour mill suggesting more to follow.  Not sure exactly how Saad gets to his preferred destination the Blues and Bombers have been loathe to do business together for many years.  Meanwhile further north there are rumblings with a first round draft pick wanting out of the Giants and Jeremy Cameron entertaining advances from other clubs.  How it all plays will be worth watching.  Not sure either club have managed their coaching well in the last couple of years and some decisions might have a sting in the tail.


But as we see this week clubs can bounce quickly with the right decisions around coaching and recruiting with the Saints still alive and the Moorabbin Disco at the ready!


Lynch Pin ($1.28) vs A Bumpy Ryde ($4.40)


Results for the Tigers and Saints have been reversed with fortunes at the selection table.  Tom Lynch back for Richmond will make a huge difference, his nous of forward play missing last week.  While the Saints loss of Paddy Ryder puts a massive load on Rowan Marshall, interestingly the Tigers have matched that leaving Toby Nankervis as the sole ruckman.  The loss of Carlisle and Long are also critical as key pieces to the Saints defense, an underrated group that have performed well through the year.  In fact we could say that about the whole line up.  At the other end the Tiger defense will be smarting from last week, they will be keen to atone.  At selection St Kilda have gone big up there, they will need to inject some pace to keep pressure and keep the ball in their front half.  Who holds sway in the ruck will not really matter it how effectively the Tigers can either win in the middle or take it off the Saints that will count.  Reckon they have both the talent and motivation to be very effective.  Against the Tigers is the coaching records Brett Ratten is 100% against Damien Hardwick!  However as last week showed trends and history don’t mean much and expect the Tigers to get on top here and win by 35 points.


Pointing the Finger ($1.73) vs Feeling Dirty ($2.36)


Plenty of ammunition for the Pies last week as they showed again why they are such a good team on the road.  They’d be happy for the Dirty Pies moniker to stick.  A key for them last week was being able to stretch the ruck stocks of the Eagles with Cameron complementing Grundy, should they go with that again it could be a massive advantage given Geelong’s less than formidable ruck division.  The Pies forward line has been its nemesis for most of the year, but with Big Cox becoming a threat and the menace of De Goey in the area they are more dangerous.  Suspect Geelong will have the personnel to handle Cox, but could be challenged with the ball on the ground.  At the other end I reckon Tomahawk will make amends for last weeks inaccuracy, but more worried about all his buddies up there who were complete non-contributors last week.  If Dalhaus, Miers and Rohan deliver the same output then the Pies win.  Massive decision for Cats on Joel Selwood who will risk permanent damage to his finger if he plays, even if he does not sure he will be able to tackle effectively.  It should be a 8-10 week recovery.  What they did not do last week is fire all their guns – they have arguably the best midfielder in competition over the last 20 years in the team.  Surely Ablett should have been sent to the middle to try and deliver a spark, if Joel doesn’t play Gazza needs to spend some time in there.  Ultimately though the Cats have challenges and the Pies have nothing to lose and are generally healthy.  Should be a beauty and reckon the Pies get up by 4 points.


Track Time


The Caulfield carnival kicks off with four group one races and as a bonus the Spring Champion Stakes up at Randwick.  The two Guineas races highlight the card along with seeing if the Russian Camelot show will roll on.  The weather goods have not delivered and this week’s rain will have some impact and selections need to be made accordingly.  As should any longer term prognostications as we look at rain affected surfaces over the next few weeks as La Nina takes hold.


We open proceedings with a bunch of first starters – can’t have an opinion except to follow the market and watch for the big stables.


Race 2 – Thoroughbred Club Stakes (G3, 1200m, Fillies SWP)


A great contest with some flying fillies here.  Think that Swat’s That (3) might just be something special winning well last start after chasing September Run the start before.  Hard to split Muntasera (4) and Bella Nipotina (2), it probably sways to the latter with the likely rain affected track who has a win on a soft track while Muntasera (4) has only placed.  Highly Discreet (6) chased the favourite home at the valley and expect her to run well.


Selections – 3-2-4-6


Windstorm (R3, #6) looks hard to beat in the Weekend Hussler (Race 3) – good record on rain affected track, wary of the GSOB charge Phaistos (R3, #7) who has a terrific first up strike rate.


Race 4 – Northwood Plume Stakes (G3, 1200m, Mares SWP)


It is with great trepidation that Lyre (7) is the top selection here.  She has been running well at the top level but not winning, as a result she is not penalised here and comes in on the minimum weight.  Like the engagement of J Kah also.  Xilong (1) and How Womantic (3) are winners and are weighted accordingly but can still run well here.  Questions on both if it gets too wet.  Exhilirates (2) also competes against the best, her best wins this will need a good steer from Ollie as will Felicia (4) both drawn wide.  Would promote Broadwayandfourth (6) if the rain doesn’t hit.  Good race!


Selections – 7-3-1-2


Race 5 – Schillaci Stakes (G2, 1100m, WFA)


A group two contest but with some real group one potential here.  Tough to split the top two picks but settling on the mare Diamond Effort (10) coming off a fifth in the G1 Moir where she never got clear till the last 200m.  The Hawkes conveyance Dirty Work (8) has been taking on Everest bound competition in Sydney and going well.  If Diamond Effort (10) is the pick then Bold Star (6) has to be in the picture flying home next to her in the Moir.  Just rating the Sydney form higher and putting in Splintex (3) over Order of Command (4) for fourth.  Any result would not surprise here – ripping race!


Selections – 10-8-6-3


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


Could be a case of rinse and repeat from the Underwood.  The next stop on the journey for Russian Camelot (6), has not quite scared off as many as Winx did but seems to have this at his mercy.  Greatest danger is Humidor (2) who is great form and run a faster last 200 than RC in the Underwood.  Arcadia Queen (5) should complete a repeat of the trifecta.  Putting Levendi (3) to close it out coming off a handy effort in the JRA Cup.


Selections – 6-2-5-3


Race 7 – Thousand Guineas (G1, 1600m, Fillies SW)


The Sydney fillies appear a bit better than the Melbourne lot on face value, their issue is that the Adelaide girl might be better than them.  Instant Celebrity (3) has now won here and a repeat of that performance will make her very hard to beat – would suggest she has all the vanquished covered.  The other challenge for the Sydney girls is getting around the Heath for the first time can be problematic.  Thermosphere (2) takes a step up from the Manifold and should have no issue if it is wet.  Hungry Heart (1) has been a money muncher but the form is still good and has to be considered.  The Price/Kent trained Odeum (9) was unlucky at her only defeat and is well drawn here, while the Hayes pair ofAidensfield (7) and Personal (4) are both in good form.


Selections – 3-2-1-9


Race 8 – Caulfield Guineas (G1, 1600m, 3yo SW)


The non-appearance of North Pacific and Cherry Tortoni plus the scratching of Glenfiddich has take some gloss off here, still a good contest and we might just have a Mighty Boss in here.  At best we can say Lunar Fox (8) has been building his form – however lurking back in his form is a win over the favourite Ole Kirk (3) in the Sires Produce at Flemington.  Worth an each way throw at the stumps at $51.  Back to the top of the market or not quite, King’s Legacy (2) and Mo’unga (9) have both drawn wide.  By race 8 this might not be a bad thing if the track is being cut up on the inside.  If the track is holding up then Ole Kirk (3) and Tagaloa (1) will have the advantage.  Crosshaven (6) is a winner but the outside alley could make it hard to take up his usual front running role.


Selections – 8-9-2-1-3-6


Race 9 – Toorak Handicap (G1, 1600m, HCP)


Junipal (13) missed out on getting a start in the Rupert Clarke but gets the chance here on a light weight and in fine form, the problem is that Buffalo River (15) also makes the field and with a lighter weight.  He will be fitter second up should take up the running and control the race, will take a mighty effort to overhaul.  Other key threats are from I am Superman (4), challenged with the impost but a winner here and is highly rated by the Snowden team.  ThenReykjavik (8) ran a mighty race in the Rupo and gets out to the favoured 1600m, wide draw could be a challenge but should be closing hard.


Selections – 15-13-4-8


Race 10 – Herbert Power Stakes (G2m 2400m, HCP)


The marathon closes with a ticket into next week’s Caulfield Cup up for grabs.  Orderofthegarter (3) is third pick for next week and does not need to win here, but does look very well placed here.  With the likelihood of a wet track CJW’s mare Polly Grey (11) gets conditions to suit.  Moody’s mare In Good Health (7) also likes the cut out of the track and will take some catching while Chapada (9) chased the favourite home well in the Naturalism.


Selections – 11-3-7-9


Quaddie Time


Leg 1 – 1, 2, 3, 4, 9

Leg 2 – 1, 2, 3, 8, 9

Leg 3 – 4, 13, 15

Leg 4 – 3, 7, 11


Keep the Moorabbin Disco dream alive!


Go the Fox!


Cheers, Sal


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