Round 4 – Previewish (again): A bit of Four Play

Greetings All,


Another late edition – when will Thursday Night footy finish?  Much discussion this week about Dusty Martin and last week’s brain fades.  First of all for Hardwick and all those who come to watch Number Four Play, Dusty is not a Harlem Globetrotter or playing in an all star match.  This is a hard-nosed competition and we want to watch the best players overcome all the challenges put in front of them.  In 2017 he was unstoppable and also for most of 2018, he was clearly hampered, their final game which exposed the Tigers dependence on Dusty.  He has received no greater attention than the likes of Fyfe and Cripps get every week as the star player in their team.  From this vantage point the biggest issue Dusty has in 2019 is his form (or fitness), he is being caught in tackles this year that he would have brushed off like a fly in previous years.  So no four play this week but still plenty of footy!


Last night’s game put in perspective where Sydney really are – a good but not great win for Melbourne.  They get on the board with plenty still to work on, at least they have something to work with.  Got rid of a few Demons last night – winning the at the SCG, breaking the Buddy curse (had never lost to Melbourne) and defeating a John Longmire coached team.  The Swans have plenty of their own Demons that need exorcising – not sure there is any short term solutions.


A Bit Rough ($1.29) vs Sun Burnt ($4.30)


Jordan Roughead comes up against his old club early in the season where he will be well tested.  The Pies and Dogs are coming off losses, being beaten by the premiers will sting for Collingwood.  They have some work to do to match the Eagles, so does every other club it appears.  That form is better than Footscray who succumbed at home to Gold Coast.  While the Suns have improved if you have aspirations of success you do beat them in your own house!  Expect the Pies to bounce back onto the winner list.


Life of Gryan ($1.48) vs Re-Ward-ed ($3.05)


Gryan Miers has typified the Geelong surge so far this season.  His pressure up forward along with Dalhaus and Rohan is working brilliantly allowing the Cats more time with the ball in their territory and messy exits from the opposition defense.  They get back to Kardinia Park up against one of the other in form sides in GWS.  They get their skipper back in Callan Ward to further strengthen their midfield. On paper evenly matched teams, not so evenly matched at Kardinia Park where the Giants are yet to win after four attempts.  They might break through, I doubt it!


Hooked Up ($1.80) vs Fun Time Fagan ($2.20)


The Bombers got on the board last week and get Cale Hooker back, an important player who fixes issues for them at either end of the field.  Hosting the Lions at the G is interesting and great to see the best team to watch playing at the best venue.  What a mighty job Chris Fagan has done – viewed as a basket case on his arrival – he and the team have made it a destination club.  Suspect they will fare better than last year at the venue where the Tigers tore them up, however do expect them to notch their 7th loss in succession at the venue.


Life’s Rozee ($1.34) vs The Beatles have Broken Up ($3.85)


The Tigers have dominated the last couple of seasons through good footy and an incredibly good run on injuries.  The good fortune on injuries has all come to a screeching halt with their best four players out of the team after just three weeks.  All be it one of them by his own hand.  Not much bigger test than Port in Adelaide.  They are getting great returns from their young players and none more so than Connor Rozee who looks a natural footballer with a handy eye for goal.  Richmond will be keen to show they are not a four man band, Port though have the big duet in Lycett and Ryder and should prevail this week.


The Corporation ($1.16) vs Trouble with Fyfe ($6.80)


West Coast are back to their dominant ways, they are playing terrific footy with a couple of great additions to the team this year in Allen, Petrucelle and Hickey.  The Derby is a hotly contested game, just not sure this one will be.  The Dockers without Fyfe will have to find more than Michael Walters to match up with the Premiers.


Northern Exposed ($2.02) vs The Bryce is not Right ($1.96)


Something is up in Adelaide for Bryce Gibbs to be dropped coming off a 27 disposal game against the Cats – perhaps his lack of pressure compared to the output from Sloane and the brothers Crouch is a reason.  The great thing for the Crows is that they can afford to drop him!  The face the Roos in the Loungeroom who have addressed their speed deficiency, however they have always had a suspect defense which being badly exposed so far this season.  Reckon the Crows might have the forwards to expose it again this week.


Dawn ($1.63) vs Nowhere Men ($2.50)


While the Suns rise the Blues continue to fade.  Two wins away from home have Gold Coast flying.  For the Blues we have heard enough of the good efforts, while all three games have had encouraging signs they have all been virtually the same.  This indicates a lack of progress and improvement.  The continued complete dependence on Cripps another sign of the lack development, while lack of pressure on the forward line is deplorable.  They could come out and win this, I don’t think they will.

Holler for a Marshall ($2.92) vs Highly Wingarded ($1.49)


The Saints were terrific against Freo last week and will be excited by the work and effort of Rowan Marshall in the ruck – has grabbed his opportunity!  Tough assignment up against McEvoy and Ceglar and for the backs against a very talented Hawk forward line.  Hawks should be too strong.


Winx, Winx, There will be no more.


A sell out at Royal Randwick for the final race of the great mare.  The owners have chosen to keep her in her own backyard and beat up on the locals, while we’d love to see her against the rest of the world I do not begrudge them.  Prizemoney in Australia is excellent – the demise of Jameeka a sign of the risks involved in travel.  In the same week we also learn that The Autumn Sun has also set, not 100% of his credentials.  Never up against open company and this year’s crop of three year old males does not appear very strong.  Nevertheless he is off to the breeding barn and we will ultimately judge him by his progeny.


Aside from Winx a big day with three other Group One events and some pretty deep and competitive fields.


Royal Randwick


Race 6 – Australian Oaks (G1, 2400m, 3yo Fillies SW)


Would be amazed if the winner did not come from the top three Verry Elleegant (1), Aristia (2) or Frankely Awsome (3).  If Verry Elleegant (1) races tractably I think she wins despite the wide draw, plenty of ifs and buts for her so not keen on dipping into tomato sauce.  The other two might represent better punting value.  Putting in last week’s winner Aliferous (6) for fourth.


Selections – 1-3-2-6


Race 7 – Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1, 2000m, WFA)


The grand finale for Winx (7) and we do have an unknown here.  He’s Eminent (4) has come from overseas and ran a bold race in the Ranvet that only Avilius could get past him.  Avilius would easily be the quinella tip in this race.  If he has had further improvement then could Bambi be killed?  No!  A few have tried but they have not just come up short – she beats them by panels.  I do think he is the quinella.  Hartnell (2) is racing in grand style and will run well again and Shillelagh (9)ran a big race in the Doncaster.  Happy Clapper (1) always a chance to be the bridesmaid.  Good race for second.


Selections – 7-4-2-9


Race 8 – The Sydney Cup (G1, 3200m, HCP)


The change of pilot is a concern for Shraaoh (16) who has had a perfect lead up for this race after debuting in Australia with a slashing win back on Melbourne Cup Day.  Has been my selection for a while and no need to jump off.  The jockey did though and onto the favourite Dubhe (10) who arrives from the UK via the UAE.  Charlie Appleby has a an astonishing strike rate here so rates very highly.  The ghost of Weir fills the rest of my picks with Red Cardinal (4), Big Duke (5), Yogi (8)and Gallic Cheiftain (14).  If the track improves sufficiently reckon “The Bear” might be the best of them.


Selections – 16-10-8-14


Race 9 – Legacy Stakes (G1, 1600m, Fillies & Mares WFA)


It’s class at the top versus babies at the bottom.  If I like Shillelagh against Winx, then Dixie Blossoms (4) is right in this after a slashing run in the Doncaster.  If you like Dixie then you have to consider her stablemate Daysee – not sure Daysee Doom (3) is going as well – leave her out at you peril.  Same can be said forAlizee (1) but will leave her out over the mile until she wins one.  Fundamentalist (17) will take some catching while Amphitrite (16) has beaten her and Verry Elleegant in this campaign and ran a great race in the All Star Mile.  If the babies are better she is my selection.  Could easily have missed the winner here!


Selections – 16-4-3-17


Quaddie Time


A free hit with Winx – finding the next three with some value being the challenge.


Leg 1 – 7

Leg 2 – 4, 5, 8, 10, 11, 14, 16

Leg 3 – 3, 4, 7, 9, 16, 17

Leg 4 – 1, 3, 6


126 Combinations, $30 invested for 24% of the dividend.


Friar Time


Solid win over the old foes in Brunswick while the Girls continued on with big win over the MCC. The Under 23s kicked off with a win however the Under 19s were out classed by a more mature South Melbourne Districts outfit.  This week it is Triple Treat at Friar Park with the Senior teams taking on Power House while the Past Players gather for lunch and memories.  Before that the Girls take on Therry-Penola.  The Under 19s are scheduled to play Old Mentonians and the Under 23s head to Camberwell to face Old Scotch.


Go Blues, Go Winx, Go Friars.


Cheers, Sal


Do you really enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE





  1. Agree with you about Dusty. Has he got the sulks and just become disinterested in footy? Looks a Flat Track Bully at the moment. Perhaps Dimma could find some jiggers at the DKW Dispersal Sale?
    Not sure about Winx or why she and Black Caviar have suddenly become Horse of the Century every couple of years. Champs used to be at least a dignified decade apart. Phar Lap in the 30’s. Tulloch in the 50’s. Then Kingston Town and Manikato in the 70’s. Then Maybe Diva as an elite stayer. They were all dominant but beatable either early in a prep or when struggling with injuries. Dunno what to make of the recent picket fence brigade. The competitive depth doesn’t look to be there. But they also scare off decent opposition with their own talent. She would have been vulnerable in an Arc or a Japan Cup just from the competitive depth. Bowman hasn’t had to ride tactical races against talented opponents – just stay out wide to avoid pockets and falls. Thoughts?

  2. I still think BEEDLEBOMB was the best race horse ever.

Leave a Comment