Finals Week 3 – Sal’s Preview: It’s the people’s round!

Greetings All,


After that brilliant start to the series last week dished a completely different dynamic with the Cats and Tigers putting their stamp on the games early and genuinely separating the top four from the rest.  The penultimate week is people’s week even in 2020 with home ground advantage to the top teams and fans being able to be at the ground rather than swamped by the almighty corporates!  The games this week are tough to call which hopefully makes for contests like we saw two weeks ago.


Holler for a Marshall ($1.88) vs Death to Disco ($2.12)


There have been some great goals in 2020, my goal of the year (so far) goes to a 45m set shot from straight in front.  Todd Marshall’s kicked sealed his team’s ticket to the Prelim, his effort to stay on the ground after injuring his shoulder early and consume a defender and then deliver in the moment was heroic stuff.  Reckon his team will need to pull out plenty of those heroics to get past the Tigers who snuffed our Moorabbin Disco dream last with ruthless efficiency.  Port will draw confidence in their win over Richmond during the season – not sure it is the best game to guide by.


Key players from both clubs were missing that day for the Tiges Houli, Prestia, Graham, Edwards, Cotchin and Astbury. While Port were without Burton, Ebert, Rozee, Marshall and Motlop.  A number of those players set the tome for their teams, in particular Cotchin and Rozee.  Cotchin’s uncompromising attack the man and the ball drives his team and they all follow suit.  Connor Rozee’s pace and flair provides spark and unpredictability to their attack.  It will be their speed up forward that could trouble the Tiger defense, high balls into Charlie will not be the answer.  At the other end high balls into Lynch and Reiwoldt might be the answer – the Port defenders appear undersized but have certainly stood tall all year.


The key to game will be how well Port can resist the Tiger aggression around the packs and then return fire with some of their own.  The Tigers and Dusty in particular dominated clearances last week, if the Power don’t shut that down then it will be hard to see them winning.  They have the cattle to do so.  There are no bigger bulls than Dusty, Sam Powell-Pepper might argue that and he has a couple of mates in Wines and Boak who can help out.  The Port pair in the ruck in Lycett and Ladhams might just be able to provide a better supply also.  Kenny has talked his team up all year, reckon they will provide plenty of resistance at home but the Tiges are the masters and reckon they get home by 8 points.


The Hippy Hippy Shake ($1.82) vs Who ate all the pies? ($2.20)


The last encounter between these also may not be much to draw on.  The Cats got the cream breaking Brisbane’s four game winning streak at the SCG – it was a comprehensive win where the Cats lifted to another level running away with the win.  The one thing to draw on though was the instigator of the surge was Dangerfield, the Lions had no-one to go with him and he may present similar issues this week.  Would expect the Cats to fire out of the blocks as they did last week, a key difference being that Brisbane should be well prepared as opposed to the Pies last week who were shellshocked.


The Cats like to dominate their games – if they are able enforce their will and style on the game it virtually shuts out the opposition.  On the other hand if they are not able to do that it can all fall apart.  Brisbane are not entirely dissimilar – once they get the game played in the their half they make transition very difficult.  The Cats defense is big, skillful and well organised but collectively slow – the likes of Cameron, Coleman and Rayner won’t make it easy for them bringing the ball out.  They also need to deal with Hipwood who is presenting much stronger to the contest while maintaining his running ability.  At the other end the talk is all about Paddy going forward to make life tough for Andrews – reckon he makes life tough for everyone.  Suspect if he plays forward most of the night Geelong wins.


Their midfield domination last week meant he could spend more time forward, just didn’t need the backup.  The Big O and Martin should be too good for Stanley and whoever else Geelong put in their – so it will be up to the Lions mids to take advantage.  Lachie Neale was challenged against the Tiges and came back to control the game, reckon he can do that again and he has plenty of support to do so.  My tip is that Dangerfield will have some work to do in the middle and that Brisbane are able to put their imprimatur on the game to win by 23 points.


Track Time


In between the games it is Caulfield Cup Day in Melbourne and Everest Day in Sydney.  Trusting the guile of Chris Waller with Nature Strip to be primed for the Everest this after being knocked over by a 3yo last year.  Might not have run to his best yet, this was always Grand Final day.  Meanwhile we have another weather conundrum as La Nina wraps her dripping tentacles around the Melbourne spring.  Need to consider our Caufield suggestions with a high chance of rain during the meeting.


A pretty ho-hum start to the meeting with a pretty open affair, Power Scheme (R1, #3) is in form and favourite not sure about taking too short a price.  Nine starts since his last win over a year ago, reckon Sukoot (R1, #4) presents as a better proposition.  Another shorty in the second in Rainbiel (R2, #2) winning well in the bush but first go in town.  Hard to pick out another Incredulous Dream (R2, #7) is of interest she finished alongside now group one winner Odeum last start.  The B-Grade three year olds contest the Gothic suggesting the Godolphin charge Endanger (R3, #6) will be better suited at this track compared to the tight Moonee Valley circuit.


Race 4 – Norman Robinson Stakes (G3, 2000m, 3yo SW)


They might call it the classic but it is always The Norm for mine!  It’s a tough one this year also with what appears to be a pretty even bunch.  Let’s Karaka Deel (10) gets an outside barrier which might give it some room after not really being tested in the Derby Trial, still trying to get out of the pocket.  His conqueror was Cetswayo (5) who was terrific in that race, not as sure about him around Caulfield.  Albarado (2) wasn’t too far away last start has been consistent and Hit The Shot (9) also pretty good in the Derby Trial.  Could have missed them all, not sure the Derby winner is in here.


Selections 10-5-2-9


Race 5 – Ethereal Stakes (G3, 2000m, Fillies SW)


A different event than the boys, this field has five main chances and a long tail.  The market is pretty much in the order they finished in the Manifold without the winner plus the winner of the Oaks Trial splitting them.  Hard to split the top five but going with Succeed Indeed (4) from Shilhouette (5) both had disrupted journeys in that race then Starelle (3) and Chica Fuerte (2).  The one left out is Pensato (6) only due to the inside barrier could make her path a treacherous one.  I’d be surprised if the winner was not in there.


Selections – 4-5-3-2


The Alinghi sees a smart field of mares over 1100.  No doubt on form Fituese (R6, #3) is the pick, pretty skinny odds for a Sydney mare that has not been around Caulfield.  California Zimbol (R6, #2) also comes down the Hume but has won around the circuit and From Within (R6, #4) is very good here.


Race 7 – Caulfield Sprint (G2, 1000m, HCP)


Alfa Oro (6) was held back for this gets in on the minimum and looks to very handy, he should not be as short as “yours for theirs” though.  Leaving Jungle Edge (1) out but gets consideration if Noah is sighted gathering species. Graff (3) has been competing against the best in Sydney, they’ve given up and sent him to Danny O’Brien.  First start for the new stable won’t go around without some of mine.  Garner (7) is very consistent and up to this and Shamino (8) to fill the hole.  Not discounting Fabergino (2) but doubt the conditions will be in her favour and has quite an impost for a mare.


Selections – 6-3-7-8


Race 8 – Moonga Stakes (G3, 1400m, 4yo+ SWP)


Playing for the rain affected ground on this one and at a bit value going with the toppie Fifty Stars (1) has a terrific record in the slosh and this a compressed scale for the weights.  Windstorm (9) is good on any ground and will be hard to beat.  Then the three GSOB runners Gaulois (5) and Munitions (12) will handle the going, Best of Days (10)might be coming back to his best of days after a good effort last start.


Selections – 1-9-12-10


Race 9 – The Caulfield Cup (G1, 2400m, HCP)


A real challenge to line up the internationals with the locals.  Anthony Van Dyke (1) has a win over Stradivarius on the CV and looks very good, he will have to be given the impost he has.  Has to break all sorts of records to win, think he is the best of the raiders so I am in the camp of the locals.  Hard to split Master of Wine (11) and Verry Elleegant (7) who both come through the Turnbull.  The weight relief for Master of Wine (11) makes the key difference, as good as the mare is she will need to be and break a record to win carrying 55kg.  Looking further down in the weights to Toffee Tongue (17) and Chapada (18) both in good form.  Interesting that GSOB has accepted here with Avilius (2) rather than the softer assignment in Sydney, loves Caulfield and the sting out of the ground could put in big run.  Watch for the Melbourne Cup winner Vow and Declare (3), Buckhurst (4) the next best of the internationals while Dalasan (14) and Finche (9) could figure.


Selections – 11-7-1-17-18-2


Race 10 – Tristarc Stakes (G2, 1400m, Mares SWP)


Pikey in the last has a ring to it and he rides Perfect Jewel (3) who should be Ok if its wet and has a win at the track.  Rate The Closer (8) as a chance here has had a horror campaign and might be suited by the outside draw.  Pretty Brazen (1) had a miss last start can come back and She Shao Fly (6) is doing that and a win would not shock.  Felicia (4) right up to this but first try over 7 furlongs and Madam Rouge (2) would not want the rain to hit.


Selections – 3-8-1-6




Any percentage is a good percentage, with the first leg the narrowest lets hope we stay alive and bring it home.


Leg 1 – 3, 6, 7

Leg 2 – 1, 9, 5, 10, 12

Leg 3 – 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 9, 11, 14, 17, 18

Leg 4 – 1, 3, 6, 8


600 Combinations, $30 returns 5% of the dividend


Be the Master,


Cheers, Sal


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