A – ALL-STARS ON DISPLAY
Tommy Shelby has helped give the greyhound code an enormous kick along with his deeds here and in Sydney. Though he will be missing from Cannington tomorrow night, there is still some high-class chasing taking place, including the Group 2 All-Stars Sprint final. A dominant heat winner, maybe this is the time Star Book steps up to the plate and salutes on the big stage.
B – BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
The owners of three-year-old colt Grandslam parted with $220,000 earlier this week to accept as a late entry for the $5 million Cox Plate (2040m), a significant gamble given he has only won $224,890 in his career to date. Connections of Geelong Classic winner Confrontational have until today to decide whether to cough up $110,000 to pay the late entry fee for the VRC Derby (2500m) next weekend. It is seriously big spuds.
C – CONTRASTING CHAMPIONS
Congratulations to Nic Naitanui and Luke Ryan for winning West Coast and Fremantle’s best-and-fairest counts this week. They took completely different paths en route to the AFL system, but now sit alongside each other as deserved club champions. The development of Ryan has been a pleasure to watch.
D – DYNASTY AWAITS
Richmond are roughly 100 minutes of football away from being spoken about in the most glowing of terms. The tag dynasty is attributed to the greatest sides who climb the summit year after year — just like Brisbane, Hawthorn and Geelong have done this century. If the Tigers are to claim a third flag in four seasons, they will enter the conversation as one of the greatest of the modern era.
E – ENOUGH ALREADY
Surely the NSW haters out there can park their resentment, some would even say hatred, of Cameron Smith for a little while to enjoy what has been a special rugby league career. The Queensland veteran is an ornament to the game and deserves to have his accomplishments celebrated, not denigrated as has sadly become the norm, ahead of Sunday night’s NRL grand final. You know who you are.
F – FLYING THE FLAG
Arcadia Queen will not only be running for William Pike, Grant and Alana Williams and Bob Sandra Peters, but an entire State. It is fair to say WA is fully invested in the Queen, who will look to dethrone some of the premier weight-for-age performers from the Southern and Northern Hemispheres in tomorrow’s Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley. Let’s hope she can channel some of her inner Northerly and chalk up a career-defining victory.
G – GREEN MACHINE
Australian cricket selectors, over to you. WA whiz kid Cameron Green cannot do any more than he has in the past 12 months, having well and truly emerged as the best young talent in the game in this country. His 197 this week against a high-class NSW attack, headlined by Nathan Lyon, only reinforced his prodigious talent. The likes of Travis Head and Matthew Wade wouldn’t want to take their foot off the pedal.
H – HEY THERE YOU
Could tonight be the night when Hey Doc turns back the clock and re-establishes himself as an out-and-out Group 1 sprinter of the highest quality? The Duporth gelding claimed the Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley three years ago and late last year clocked 1:08:59 to snare the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot. At his peak, he is high class, as is the race favourite Trekking, who is on the quick back-up after running fourth in The Everest.
I – INVINCIBLE INVICTUS
If his jaw-dropping 9.75-length maiden win over 1400m at Geraldton earlier this month didn’t convince you about Invictus Domini’s ability, maybe yesterday’s 8.75-length victory in class two company at the same trip did. Yes, it is only Geraldton and he beat a field of modest performers, but there’s something genuinely exciting about an on-speed horse braining his/her rivals.
J – JUSTIS HUNI
Unless you follow Australian boxing really closely, it it is a name that doesn’t resonate immediately. It will in the future. The powerful 21-year-old made a statement with a capital S on Thursday night when he knocked out Australian heavyweight champion Faiga Opelu in his professional debut. He remarked post-bout that he intended to unify all belts all before he turns 30.
K – KEEP UP PLEASE
Many rivals of Clairvoyance weren’t able to do so a fortnight ago in the Crown Perth 3YO Classic, but will get an opportunity to correct that tomorrow when they lock horns again in the Listed Belgravia Stakes (1200m). Clairvoyance will wear a bar shoe, but her trainer Darren McAuliffe is understandably bullish about her prospects. If she turns up and runs to the level we have seen previously, it will take a herculean effort to take her down.
L – LEGEND STATUS
The winner of The Everest is deservedly spoken about in glowing terms. We saw that when Redzel went back-to-back in the initial two editions before Yes Yes Yes assured his connections of an ongoing dividend by virtue of booking a berth at stud with his slashing victory last year. Classique Legend will never stand at stud, but he can enhance his reputation over the next 12 months when he races overseas. His win last weekend was as arrogant as you will see factoring in the quality of opposition he encountered.
M – MAN OF STEEL
Steel Prince certainly lost no admirers when finishing ninth in last year’s Melbourne Cup. Spelled following that effort, he wasn’t seen again until late August when running over an unsuitable 1700m. That preceded successive third placings in the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) and Group 3 Bart Cummings (2510m) before he was backed off the map to win the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) on Wednesday. He received a 1kg penalty yesterday and while he could again be outclassed on the first Tuesday in November, there are those who backed him this week who will be content to have a small investment in the race that stops a nation.
N – NO SHAW THING
The Rhyce Shaw-North Melbourne union came to a predictable end yesterday when it was announced the pair had reached a settlement that saw the coach receive a payout and the Kangaroos continue on their path towards finding his successor. Shaw’s wellbeing is far more important than his immediate coaching future.
O – OOPS
The Daily Telegraph would love their time again. NRL supremo Peter V’landys would love for The Daily Telegraph to have their time again, also. Publishing that Canberra Raiders five-eighth Jack Wighton had won the Dally M Medal three hours before he was actually bestowed the honour this week wasn’t one of the News Limited publication’s finest moments.
P – PERFECTLY POISED
The World Series doesn’t possess the same lustre as we have witnessed previously thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, but baseball lovers around the globe will be keen observers when game three between the LA Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays gets underway this morning. Having lost game one 8-3, the Rays rebounded to level the contest at 1-1 thanks to their 6-4 victory on Wednesday in game two.
Q – QUEUE UP
The good judges around Australia are all over the Danny O’Brien-Damien Oliver combination at Moonee Valley tomorrow. And it’s not all about the Cox Plate with Russian Camelot. Rather the prospects of Young Werther in the Group 2 Vase (2040m) at only his third start as he builds towards the VRC Derby (2500m) next weekend.
R – REALITY BITES
Those with a level of affinity towards the Wallabies were daring to dream after a first-up 16-all draw with the All Blacks earlier this month. Then came the smacking from the hands of the daunting Kiwis at Eden Park last weekend. It led one scribe to question Dave Rennie’s team’s hardness, declaring “Australia doesn’t actually do hard men” and Taniela Tupou “was nowhere near as tough as he thought”. Ouch!
S – SINNER TO SAINT
Brad Crouch seems destined to end up at St Kilda from next season. It is in his best interests and that too of Adelaide after his end-of-season indiscretion alongside Tyson Stengle involving cocaine. Crouch would have commanded a longer and bulkier contract had he not transgressed, but the prospect of four years at the Saints, with a trigger for a fifth, is still a good result.
T – THANKS TEAM TOMMY
Tommy Shelby didn’t get the result many were expecting and hoping last Friday night at Wentworth Park, yet that doesn’t diminish from everything he has achieved on the way through. His trainer Steve Withers also deserves a massive pat on the back for his accessibility as opposed to some others in the industry.
U – UNWANTED DISTRACTION
Aidan O’Brien’s week started well when Magic Wand and Armory accepted to run in the Cox Plate. But things went awry soon after, with Racing Victoria not satisfied with their fitness yesterday. A follow-up examination this morning found Armory OK, but the same diagnosis didn’t apply to the mare, who was scratched, opening up the door for Buckhurst to get a start.
V – VINDICATION
The world works in mysterious ways. Ivan Cleary was sacked by Penrith in October 2015, a year after he was adjudged the coach of the year for guiding the Panthers to the preliminary final. After a couple of years at the Wests Tigers (2017-18), he returned to the foot of the Blue Mountains for a second stint at Penrith and is now 80 minutes away from joining Phil Gould, who sacked him, and John Lang as Panthers premiership coaches.
W – WHAT THE BUCK
Part-owner Nick Williams expressed dismay earlier in the week when import Buckhurst was overlooked by the Moonee Valley Racing Club committee for a start in tomorrow’s Cox Plate. Williams said he was a state of “shock” at the snub and found it “extraordinary” that other horses had been selected in front of his charge. It doesn’t matter any more given Magic Wand failed to pass a vet examination today.
X – X-RAY OF SIGNIFICANCE
The WA racing community held its collective breath on Monday morning when news broke that Chris Parnham had injured his back after being thrown from a horse at the Lark Hill trials. After being carefully assessed by medical staff, he was taken to hospital in Perth where he underwent scans that cleared him of any fractures. Having forfeited his Ascot rides on Wednesday, he will be back at headquarters tomorrow and looking to continue his stunning run of success.
Y – YOU CAN’T HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT TOO
It was good to hear AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan push back at those willing to criticise Jeremy Cameron’s decision to exercise his free agency rights and nominate Geelong as his club of choice. Granted, the league would have preferred he remained at GWS, but it had no right to spit the dummy after Lance Franklin headed to Sydney from Hawthorn at the end of 2013, making it known to all and sundry it was happy for Buddy to land at the Giants as many had forecast.
Z – ZAHRA’S ZEN
Mark Zahra illustrated once again his talents when he guided Verry Elleegant to victory in last Saturday’s Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m). To say she is a difficult ride, is an understatement. And because of Zahra’s quality hands, balance and white-hot form, he was rewarded with the Melbourne Cup ride on the champion mare.