Sal’s Preview – The Empires Strike Back: and the Caulfield Cup tops Everest

Greetings All,


Finally the trade period completed in what actually could have taken 3 days at the most was stretched out over ten days, all a bit ridiculous.  The key story from the period is clubs taking back control and sticking players to contracts with the Bombers and Swans holding out on Daniher and Papley.  Or was it?  No doubt as contracted players it should take a bit more to extract them from their respective clubs.  Joe is undoubtedly a special player who just can’t get on the park, injury free he is probably in the top ten players in the competition.  The Swans quite rightly should have been excited by the prospect, the Bombers quite rightly seduced by the name and the potential.  In the end Essendon placed a higher value on the potential than Sydney and the right outcome emerged.  Joe may feel slighted and we might be back here again next year – but for now the contract held out.



The Papley scenario was not dissimilar except an even longer contract – one feels for Tom if the family situation is really why he wanted to come to the Blues.  However Sydney had every right to stand their ground and again the market spoke.  Of more concern, is Papley locked in to a town he doesn’t want to be in for four years?   As each year passes the market will change.  The Blues had plenty of dancing partners but in the end could only bring home an old favourite.  Eddie will bring something in for the club, however if it is forward line pressure required they have missed out.



Time for a Quickie down Santa Ana Lane?



Poor early start to the day last week with Loving Gaby, Platinum Angel and Prince of Arran all running well but not getting the main prize.  The winner was in the selection for the Thousand Guineas and the first four in the selections.  The Caulfield Stakes delivered another longshot in a WFA race with Avilius nutted out of third.  Super Seth delivered in the Caulfield Guineas with  the quinella in the selections, missed out in the Toorak with Waging War running fifth and Trekking delivered in the Schillaci.  Sydney did not start much better before Castelvecchio got close but not close enough to Shadow Hero, eventually The Inevitable proved just that with a barnstorming win in the Silver Eagle.



It’s Caulfield Cup day and always will be for me, but cannot discount The Everest being run at Randwick.  All adds up to a huge day of racing with 10 races programs in both cities.  The meeting at the Heath kicks off with a couple of non group races before the three year olds contest the time-honoured Norman Robinson Stakes (R4, G3, 2000m, 3yo SW) a key lead up to the Derby and Oaks.  Will we see one that could challenge Shadow Hero?  Miami Bound (9) takes on the boys and might just be better than them, Thought of That (7) coming off a great win in the bush might present better value.  The Ethereal Stakes (R6, G3, 2000m, Fillies SWP) is pretty much the same race as Norm but for the girls only.  Vegas Jewel (7) won nicely at Moonee Valley and should appreciate the extra ground in a tough race.  The Norman and Ethereal are important races to watch and learn from.  Miss Leonidas (4) was fantastic in the Moir and it will take a good one to catch her in the Caulfield Sprint (R7, G2, 1000m, HCP), maybe it’s Mclaren (10) on the minimum.  The Moonga Stakes (R8, G3, 1400m, 4yo+ SWP) is puzzle wrapped up in a riddle with the undefeated international Royal Meeting (2), has not raced for 51 weeks!  Tough to pick the best of the locals, maybe Manolo Blahniq (7) who has his shoe on the till!



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



The richest 2400m handicap in the world has attracted contested from across the globe making form and selections difficult but offering plenty of intrigue in the process.  Barriers again influence the selection here, really like Mer de Glace (3) and Finche (6) but drawing outside alleys will make this race a challenge.  The well-drawn and well-weighted international is Constantinople (11).  However going with a local to win this Mr Quickie (12) is set for this and would be a pretty short favourite if you excuse it’s last run.  Vow and Declare (14) chased him home in the Queensland Derby and will in the vicinity.  Expecting Wolfe (18) to make it a race for the stayers.  Qafila (17) is hard to catch but wins big races and twice here, Cory Parish has won this on a long shot before.  Plenty of other chances and will be takeig plenty in the Quaddie.



Selections – 12-14-11-3-17-6



The day closes with the Tristarc Stakes (R10, G3, 1400, Mares SWP) – ignore Invicibella (1) at your peril.



Trying our hand up north where there are no group one races but a pretty strong card.  The Sydney Stakes (R6, G3, 1200m, WFA) opens the main events being the consolation race for those not in The Everest, hard to go past Brutal (1) with Brave Song (2) and Champagne Cuddles (12) chasing.



Race 7 – The Everest (1200m, WFA)



Might not have Group 1 status but has attracted a group one field, I might prefer it not run up against the big Melbourne races but Sydney need to have their time in the sun.  Fortunately it appears they will get it this week.  We have a red hot leader and  a good track, it doesn’t get much better for Santa Ana Lane (1).  Add a good second up record, a good alley and an in form pilot in M Zahra.  Might be my pick but plenty of threats – can the flying Nature Strip (4) hang on?  The main danger is Arcadia Queen (11) who was decisive in her only run in Sydney and JMac has chosen her.  G Boss is a big race rider he gets on Yes Yes Yes (12) with a lightweight that could prove to be decisive.  Sunlight (9) beat Santa Ana Lane (1) at the their last start.  Still might have missed the winner.



Selections – 1-11-12-4



Happy Clapper (1) should be too good for the rest in the Craven Plate (R8, G3, 2000m, WFA) which closes out the group races at Randwick.



Quaddie Time



To go wide in the cup we will keep the other legs skinny and hope for survival and a big dividend.  Miss Leonidas, God of Thunder and McLaren will be all in the first.  Take four in the next as it is open after the favourite which has to be a risk.  Going wide in the cup and go wider if you have the funds and keeping the last to just a couple.



Leg 1 – 4, 9, 10

Leg 2 – 1, 2, 7, 9

Leg 3 – 2, 3, 6, 11, 12, 14, 16, 17

Leg 4 – 1, 9



192 Combinations a $30 investment will return 15.6% of the dividend.



Santa bring something to Mr Quickie!



Cheers, Sal


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  1. Thanks again Sal. Really enjoyed Happy Clapper (the horse, not the PM) saluting at Randwick after he seemed to spend a lifetime looking at the rear-end of Winx.

    Looking forward to your Cox Plate insights.

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