Sal’s Round 1 Preview and Racing Tips





Greetings All,


This piece is being produced with same amount of timeliness that the AFL put into the decision to begin the season.  How it will all look at the end is a complete unknown and, frankly, after the Blues pre-season showing not sure how much I care.  The greatest concern I have about this season is the opportunity that the league will have to stuff around with playing times and playing lists.  The idea of games with less playing time is just a rip off for the fans and a thumbing of the nose to the history of the game.  The game is about skill, physicality and endurance, the physical nature of the game has not changed that much despite what some say.  The endurance aspect has been withered with advent of interchange – reducing playing time will only further remove the endurance aspect.  Skills get diminished when neanderthal taggers can keep up all day.


But we have footy even though it is only on TV, in times like these sport really could be “Opium for the masses”  Not much data to go on, gee I really don’t like Thursday Night footy, who knows what I am in for this season!


Plenty of Aces ($1.33) vs A Pair of Jacks ($3.85)


The Blues bring in recruits Jack Martin and Jack Newnes to take on the Premiers who simply are loaded with quality across the field.  Carlton need their best team on the field and are missing plenty, Richmond sans Houli are close to their best.  Just can’t see any other result in this game apart from the one we have seen over the last few years.


Bontempelli on the Telly ($2.12) vs Pendles not Buried ($1.86)


A better contest should be seen in the empty loungeroom with the Bulldogs taking on the Pies.  The addition of Keath and Bruce will provide greater structure for the Bullies at both ends of the ground.  Collingwood will be missing Treloar and Varcoe.  Just going with the Dogs in what should be a beauty.


Flipped Out ($1.52) vs Unstuffed ($2.88)


Bombers have raved through the off-season of the quality of Andrew Phillips, not quite sure the Blues saw it in his time there.  They take on Freo released from the shackles of the Ross Lyon era.  The loss of Hill and Langdon will hurt the Dockers, while the Bombers list seems static to this scribe.  Still think in the Loungeroom Essendon will prevail.


All Betts are off ($1.72) vs Damn the Franklin ($2.18)


Eddie out of Adelaide, not sure it makes much difference.  No Jenkins also revamps the forward line.  Sydney still without Buddy, he gives them their one dimension.  Sydney already have a good record in Adelaide, they won’t be contending with the charddy sippers in the stands so reckon they might do it.


Glimmer Twins ($2.84) vs Shanghaid ($1.51)


Will the Rowell-Anderson duo ever match up to Jagger-Richards?  They could give Gil some satisfaction, otherwise Gold Coast might out if time.  They provide some excitement for the Suns who take on Port who are out of Shanghai,  Kenny has put everything on the line this year.  Gold Coast have habit of starting well, reckon they could again.


About That Grand Final ($1.62) vs Geelong ($2.52)


Will the scars of the horror Grand Final hold back the Giants?  They host the Cats who have continued on their path of bringing in experienced talent to supplement their aging stars.  Healthy Cats will be good enough to make the finals, but not good enough to beat the Giants in Sydney.


Can’t be Shaw ($2.02) vs Easy Ryder ($1.84)


Rhyce Shaw and Brett Ratten are fully in control of their respective clubs.  The Roos have not been through too many changes, however the Saints have made plenty.  The addition of Brad Hill, Zak Jones and Dan Butler will really make a difference to their speed around the ground.  If Paddy Ryder is committed, he is with best in the comp.   Can see more upside in the Saints and picking them for this one.


When the General Talks ($2.08) vs Fagan’s Luck ($1.78)


Will Jon Patton make the Hawks team for Round One?  He could make a big difference to the Hawks up front, my concerns for them are at the other end of the ground.  As for the Lions, there are not many concerns and with an injury list of “nil” they should be in a good position to overcome the Hawks in Round One.


The Corporation ($1.36) vs Needs a Goodwin ($3.60)


With $45M in reserve, West Coast won’t miss a beat with the current crisis, but will they miss a beat on Sunday against the Dees?  Simon Goodwin needs a good start to the season, a road trip to Perth was probably not on the Round One wish list!  Possibly a better chance next week.


Sink the Slipper


It’s Slipper Day in Sydney on Saturday to add to the feast of footy, plus the William Reid on Friday Night at the Valley.


Moonee Valley – Friday


The last night race meeting at the Valley has the William Reid Stakes (G1, 1200m, WFA) sees a rematch of the Manikato Stakes from back in October.  Bivouac (9) drew barrier 1 and could not get out that night while Loving Gaby (11) got the dream run to win.  I can easily see the same happening with Bivouac (9) again drawing the inside alley.  Wary of the Coolmore winner Exceedance (10) who should be improved second up, Pippie (7) will ensure there is good tempo and Gytrash (3) has proven he is up to this.  Great renewal!


Selections R7 – 11-9-10-3


Rosehill – Saturday


R4 – Ranvet Stake (G1, 2000m, WFA)

Avilius (1) failed in the 2019 Australian Cup before winning this race and then the Tacred, reckon he can do it again.  The two main dangers are the import  Addeybb (2) a second at Ascot is good form for this and Verry Elleegant (5) who appears to have come back in good form.  Reckon Youngstar (8) is also going OK.


Selections 1-5-2-8


R5 – George Ryder Stakes (G1, 1500m, WFA)


Te Akau Shark (2) has been very impressive on his return to Sydney and lining up for the hat trick.  He is a deserved favourite but think there is better value with Super Seth (7), untried clockwise but happy to trust A Freedman.  Brandenburg (8) and The Bostonian (3) to fill it out.


Selections 7-2-8-3


R6 – Rosehill Guineas (G1, 2000m, 3YO SW)


Plenty of talent here and always wary of the NZ raiders in the Sydney Autumn, however Shadow Hero (2) has comeback brilliantly saluting in the Randwick Guineas and getting out to a more favoured journey.  Chenier (10) is untried at the distance but runs as if it won’t be an issue.  Castelvecchio (1) is the class but has just plodded in his first two after the Cox Plate 2nd.  His best can win.  Scorpz (5) as the best of the NZers and Warning (3) to fire a shot over the bows leading up to the Derby.


Selections – 2-10-1-5


R7 – Golden Slipper (G1, 1200m, 2YO SW)


Far from my favourite race with 2YO form all exposed but also pretty flaky.  Still going with the favoured brigade and picking Hanseatic (2) to turn the tables on the Blue Diamond result over Tagaloa (1)Prague (4) was impressive last week but needs to back up and Mamaragan (7)was equally impressive at his only start.  Maher-Eustace have a big hand in this Away Game (8) and Cellsabeel (15) would not shock.


Selections 2-1-4-7-15-8


R8 – The Galaxy (G1, 1100m, HCP)


The other sprinters are here in a wide open affair with the return of Kementari (3) after a failed campaign at stud.  Soothing (11) has a terrific 1st up record and runs well anywhere but Caulfield, looks weighted to win.  Anaheed (14) is also well in on weights and is very quick.  Need to be sure outside barriers can win on the day though for both.  I Am Excited (9) has good form in this grade and ignore the toppie Pierata (1) at your peril.


Selections -11-14-9-1




A really tough quaddie with the Slipper and the Galaxy wide open.  I will take one quaddie with the field in the Slipper.  We will open skinny in the first leg and hope not to get blown out, wide in the next two and try to get home skinny in the last.  Pretty tough at $8 the field!


Leg 1 – 1,2,10

Leg2 – 1,2,3,4,7,8,14,15

Leg 3 – 1,4,9,11,14

Leg 4 – 4, 11


Go Blues,


Cheers, Sal





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  1. Good to see you back in full flight, Sal. Let’s see how the suits handle a difficult situation in the coming weeks and months. Will they go looking for a handout like their NRL counterparts? What chance your Blues relish the empty stands tonight and, as a result, don’t suffer stage fright?

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