The Weekly A-Z


Robbie Dolan is not the first jockey to lose the ride on a quality horse because connections opted for a proven hoop. But he might have claims on handling a sacking better than anyone else. Dolan had no luck aboard Profondo in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington, prompting connections to book Hugh Bowman for the remainder of the expensive colt’s autumn campaign. Rather than sook up or criticise the owners, Dolan took to social media thanking all involved for the opportunity to partner the Group 1 winner and wished them well for the future. Good on him.


All of Australia was in a state of shock late last Friday when news filtered through that Shane Warne had suffered a heart attack in Thailand and died at the age of 52. The grief quickly extended right around the world as everyone tried to comprehend how the greatest spin bowler the game of cricket has ever seen left this earth far too early. Unsurprisingly, the tributes flowed thick and fast. And unsurprisingly, they tugged at the heartstrings. RIP King.


Roman Abramovich’s desire to sell Chelsea has hit a snag. And it’s a pretty big one how ever you look at it. The sanctions enforced by the UK Government as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has major implications on Abramovich, who is said to be part of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle. The freezing of the Russian oligarch’s assets means the sale is on hold, while at the same time Chelsea’s men’s and women’s teams are facing a string of restrictions that seriously impacts their day-to-day operations. It could get really ugly from here.


Is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. If that is indeed the case, spare a thought for the rivals of Trix Of The Trade in tomorrow’s Listed JC Roberts Stakes (1800m) at Ascot. The gelding has won all four starts this time in, including the past three in black-type company, and will again prove the biggest stumbling block for the opposition as he builds towards the Group 2 WATC Derby (2400m) next month.


You know you are on the eve of an AFL season when Fox Footy wheels out a behind-the-scenes look at the premiers. That was the case this week with the documentary titled “Every Heart Beats True”, focusing heavily on the historic premiership triumph here in Perth last year and the key events in history that shaped the Demons’ identity. It only adds to the build-up of next Wednesday night’s season opener.


Waking up last Saturday morning, it appeared everything was pointing towards Clairvoyance continuing her ascent. She had nearly a fortnight to recover from her barnstorming Pinjarra Classic victory and was within touching distance of Bunbury Stakes glory. Somebody forget to tell Carocapo. The eight-year-old tracked the speed that was set by the imposing mare and had enough left in the tank to hold out The Spruiker for a well-deserved victory. A 10-time winner, Carocapo now boasts more than $530,000 in stakes. Credit to all involved, in particular Jim Taylor.


If the ATP thinks the sanction handed down to Alexander Zverev is sufficient, they are delusional. The $A34,000 fine and suspended eight-week ban for his meltdown which threatened the safety of a chair umpire is wet lettuce-leaf stuff. The tour had the opportunity to make a statement on player behaviour, a free swing. Instead it showed as much spine as a jellyfish.


We shouldn’t have been surprised that Hitotsu was able to take out last weekend’s Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington. Co-trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace are master conditioners and know better than most what a quality animal looks like. But when you think Hitotsu was stepping out under race-day conditions for the first time since winning the VRC Derby (2500m) in the spring against a field dripping with talented three-year-olds, and on a surface that isn’t to his liking, you just shake your head. Brilliant job by both the horse and his trainers.


And just like that the Seattle Seahawks entered the “borderline irrelevant” category. The Seahawks, Super Bowl champions in 2014 and unlucky not to successfully defend their crown the following season, agreed this week to trade star quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos and release defensive weapon Bobby Wagner because of salary cap restraints. Both are future Hall of Famers. Hey there rebuild!


Trial watchers and the “smarties” had identified Amelia’s Jewel as the clubhouse leader in the WA juvenile ranks when all-in markets for the Group 2 Karrakatta Plate were released late last month. That is all well and good. She needed to justify the hype on debut last weekend to be assured of a berth in the feature and that is what she did. Her emphatic Supremacy Stakes success for Patrick Carbery and Simon Miller put the opposition on notice, especially considering the 1100m of the Group 3 Gimcrack Stakes and 1200m of the Karrakatta should be right in her wheelhouse.


What the reaction to Jack Darling’s vaccination backflip will look like. Darling did everything in his power not to be vaccinated, but on the eve of the season proper, has committed to rejoin his teammates. To think there won’t be some level of resentment from Eagles players is fanciful. That’s not to say he cannot regain their trust. He has a bit of work to do to be on the same page as them again, but there is plenty of time for that to occur. He just better hope the Eagles don’t cough up a game against Gold Coast or North Melbourne in rounds one and two respectively if he is sitting in the stands because he isn’t fit enough after being banished from the club for not being jabbed.


So Tom Cochrane sung. Well Tommy, so too was the pitch dished up for the first Test between Pakistan and Australia in Rawalpindi. A quality Test strip features an excellent contest between bat and ball. A grand total of 1187 runs were scored and only 14 wickets fell. It was as flat as the Nullarbor Plain. The second Test starts tomorrow in Karachi, a venue that traditionally offers plenty to the spinners.


Have a stiff drink and grab a seat. You’re about to need both. Aaron Rodgers, the immensely gifted yet divisive quarterback, has agreed to a four-year extension with the Green Bay Packers worth … wait for it … $A272 million. Yes, $272 million. The four-time league MVP is arguably the most gifted individual ever to play the quarterback position. But he has delivered just one Super Bowl trophy since succeeding Brett Favre. And that came over a decade ago. Rodgers turns 39 in December.


That someone tips the card in Australian thoroughbred racing. So it’s only right to acknowledge Warren Huntly’s heroics at Kilmore yesterday. One of the really good people in the game, Huntly identified all eight winners on the card, with the winners on tote paying $4.90, $2.70, $5.30, $2.90, $2.20, $4.70, $6.10 and $3.20. If you had $1 on all of them, you would have won just over $41,000. That is living!


Shame on you Sunny Gavaskar. Your inability to read the temperature of the room, perhaps your loathing of Australian cricketers, shone through this week when you were asked a question about Shane Warne’s greatness. You opted to poke holes in his CV, rather than celebrate his deeds. Inundated with criticism (and rightfully so), you tried to backtrack. And it must be said it was a poor attempt at an apology. “On TV,  I was asked by an anchor whether was the greatest spinner ever and I gave my honest, person opinion,” Gavaskar said. “In hindsight that question should never have been asked, nor should it have been answered.” Embarrassing stuff.


The decision by the AFL to launch the 2022 season with a grand final rematch between Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs raised eyebrows. Yours truly was not convinced. Was the league wasting a marquee match early in the season? That was the sentiment in some quarters. But as we close in on next Wednesday night’s showdown, it is difficult to contain the excitement. As much as Carlton and Richmond have owned the season opener in years gone by, this battle between the Demons and Dogs has a considerable substance about it. Let’s hope Melbourne’s glorious summer-autumn weather continues and a sellout crowd is on hand at the MCG … and let’s get it on!


There are plenty of the former entering the Listed Natasha Stakes (2200m) at Ascot tomorrow and I suspect there will also be a heap of the latter once the race has been run and won. Is this $125,000 fillies feature going to be a match race between Constant Dreaming and Fine Romance? Who of those behind that pair in the 1000 Guineas is best placed to cause an upset? How many of these girls will progress to the Group 3 WA Oaks (2400m) later in the month? All will be revealed just after 3pm tomorrow.


We had heard the commentary surrounding Lost And Running ahead of his first-up assignment last month. He had gone to the paddock a boy and returned a man. Given he took out the $1 million The Hunter at his final run last campaign, it was exciting for all concerned . The John O’Shea sprinter didn’t disappoint upon resumption, careering away under 61kg to win the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes (1200m). With wet weather wreaking havoc up in Sydney, Lost And Running now finds himself in Melbourne and ready for the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap down the Flemington straight six. He is clearly a serious racehorse and well and truly capable of taking out the time-honoured sprint.


The writing was on the wall entering last weekend’s card at Flemington when Damian Lane decided it was worth the effort to ride Inspirational Girl at 53kg in the Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m). Inspirational Girl was terrific first-up in the CF Orr Stakes (1400m), running home into sixth to give the impression she was well and truly back. And guided by a cool Lane ride, the Danny O’Brien-prepared mare stuck her head out at the right time to thwart Zaaki and win a berth in the All Star Mile, also at Flemington, next weekend. The conditions of the race won’t be as suitable there, but her best is elite. We saw that here on more than one occasion.


Thirty years after Hard Act and Feverish couldn’t be split in the Bunbury Cup, True Attraction and Paddy’s Shadow were locked together at the completion of last Saturday’s Listed Bunbury Cup (2100m) at Ascot. The pair, aided by splendid Patrick Carbery and Shaun O’Donnell rides respectively, ran first and fifth in the lead-up, the Listed Detonator Stakes (1800m) and made their powerful runs from the second half of the field to overhaul Utgard Loki. Congratulations also to Adam Durrant and Raquel Williams, the trainers of True Attraction and Paddy’s Shadow.


The spotlight will shine brightly at Cannington tomorrow night when the heats for the Group 1 Perth Cup (520m) and Group 1 The Galaxy (715m) take place with a host of east coast raiders squaring up against the best from the west. And it will be a major shock if the cream doesn’t rise to the top, with the likes of Mambo Monelli, We The People, Mepunga Ruby, Gypsy Wyong, Lala Kiwi, Paddy Wants Pats and Vice Grip stepping out.


Can Michael Voss return Carlton to the finals? If the pre-season vibe coming from Ikon Park is any guide, the Blues are certainly well placed to start their climbing assignment. But Community Series clashes are light years away from the cut and thrust of a round-one showdown with Richmond, which takes place at the MCG next Thursday. A win won’t guarantee Carlton a berth in September. Nor will a loss end their hopes. But the narrative around Voss’ second coming as a senior coach is going to generate enormous discussion.


That applies to all of Penrith’s NRL rivals after the Panthers launched their premiership defence with an ominous 28-6 win over Manly last night. Despite losing key personnel after last year’s success and the unavailability of Nathan Cleary, the Panthers were all over the Sea Eagles from the outset and never eased up at any stage. It was Penrith’s 18th  consecutive home win at Panthers Stadium, a streak dating back to 2019.


It wasn’t a shock to watch the back and forth between Kevin Durant and Joel Embiid during this morning’s feisty NBA clash between Brooklyn and Philadelphia. But how good was it to witness? Hate is a strong word and whilst there is mutual respect between the pair, there is no love. The pro-76ers crowd inside the Wells Fargo Center relished the jawing, knowing full well the importance of the contest in what is a tight Eastern Conference. Only the pair know exactly what was said, but it wasn’t a chat about where to find the best Philly cheesesteak.


Who have you got as the winner of the Golden Slipper? Don’t feel ashamed if you haven’t nailed your colours to the mast. You are most definitely not alone. Coolangatta aside, have we seen a cracking two-year-old this season? You could argue not. And that is probably being very harsh on Sejardan, who has gone three from four, including two Group wins, and earnt more than $1 million in prizemoney. It just feels one of those years where the Slipper is up for grabs.


Father-and-son combination Tony and Calvin McEvoy sure know how to win a sales-restricted feature. Fresh off winning the $2 million Inglis Millennium with Xtravagant Star (1100m) last month, the co-trainers headed to Murray Bridge last weekend with strong representation in the Magic Millions South Australian 2YO Classic and Magic Millions South Australia 3&4 Classic. They duly went bang-bang with juvenile Twin Stars shining on debut and fellow Zoustar product Zoist taking out the older feature by nearly three lengths. It was the perfect result for Widden Park stallion Zoustar, who sits ninth overall on the general sires’ by earning list.