A – ACROSS THE ROAD
Kudos to all at Racing Queensland for making a swift and decisive decision to move tomorrow’s Doomben 10,000 meeting to nearby Eagle Farm. The rain that has hit south-east Queensland prompted officials to float the idea of a venue switch and that was confirmed on Wednesday. Instead of a best-case scenario of a heavy surface for Doomben (the worst-case being abandonment), the $1 million feature and excellent support card will be run at Eagle Farm, a track renowned for its excellent drainage. There have been changes made to the distance of several races, but that is a small price to pay.
B – BRADY’S BUNCH
No player in the history of the NFL has enjoyed the success and fame of Tom Brady. It seems the evergreen quarterback’s influence in the game is also going to extend beyond his playing days. A seven-time Super Bowl winner, Brady this week agreed to a 10-year, $540 million contract as an NFL commentator with Fox Sports once his career inside the arena has come to a close. It is a truly staggering figure.
C – CIRCUIT BREAKER
Where it comes from and in what form it takes is anybody’s guess, but surely something has to give in the ongoing feud between Heritier Lumumba and the Collingwood Football Club. The spat has no end date and it’s fair to say that those with links to the Magpies, be it Nathan Buckley, Eddie McGuire or players past and present, have no handle on what Lumumba’s end game is. The leaked audio this week of Buckley and Lumumba going back and forth from 2014 was a hard listen.
D – DYNAMIC DUO
Take a bow Natasha Faithfull and Gary Bowen. The pair dominated last Sunday’s meeting at Kalgoorlie, combining for victories with Kakadu ($10), Shadow Boom ($7), Roseicapilla ($7.50) and Tahitian Red ($4) in successive races. Faithfull, one of the hardest working jockeys in the WA ranks, started the day in style, punching home Vranyo for Rickie Brown, the filly’s first win from 12 starts.
E – END OF AN ERA
All good things must come to an end, they say. That was the case yesterday when Leon Cameron announced he would be stepping down as the coach of GWS. One of the good guys in the Australian Rules football space, Cameron will farewell the Giants faithful following Sunday’s home match against Carlton in western Sydney. Cameron didn’t achieve the ultimate in just over nine years at the helm, but did guide GWS to the 2019 grand final and back-to-back preliminary final appearances in 2016 and 2017.
F – FREE AND (NOT SO) EASY
On face value, the solution is simple. Clear up some salary cap space and then identify a free agent or two that propels your club up the ladder en route to the grand prize … an AFL premiership. As we all know, it is not that simple. All clubs have extensive recruiting and list management staff to zero in on the best personnel available. The league this week released the list of free agents, restricted and unrestricted, with the names on the restricted list making for interesting reading. Jordan De Goey, James Sicily and Angus Brayshaw are going to command big money, irrespective of where their future lies. Port Adelaide midfielder Karl Amon is an unrestricted free agent and reportedly being wooed by St Kilda with a five-year offer worth more than $3 million.
G – GONE BABY GONE
Verry Elleegant and Chris Waller’s association has ended. A bombshell was dropped yesterday by the ownership group of the mare, declaring that they had decided to transfer Verry Elleegant to the Chantilly stables of Francis-Henri Graffard. It is expected the six-year-old will finish her spell next week and be flown soon after to the Northern Hemisphere ahead of what shapes as her last racing campaign, possibly featuring a start in the prestigious Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in October.
H – HAPPY CHAPPY
Heath Chapman is a fan favourite at Fremantle. His courage and commitment has never been questioned and the same applies to his talent levels. It was officially recognised by the AFL this week when he became the round eight rising star nominee for his effort against North Melbourne. Back in the line-up after a fortnight away because of COVID-19, Chapman amassed 25 disposals, 12 intercept possessions and five marks, and operated at more than 90 per cent efficiency. The sky is the limit for the West Perth product.
I – INEXCUSABLE
There are always two sides to a story. However, Liz Cambage has plenty of ground to make up to square the ledger surrounding her controversial withdrawal from the Opals set-up on the eve of last year’s Olympic Games. Cambage was this week accused by Jenna O’Hea, a former Australian captain, of telling a Nigerian opponent to “go back to your third-world country” during a pre-Olympics practice match. Unsurprisingly, the disgusting remark led to a brawl which infuriated Cambage’s teammates. Cambage insists all is not what it seems, but the 30-year-old is a divisive figure and seemingly out of the Opals picture for good.
J – JOB DONE
It took just a little bit longer than what Ange Postecoglou would have liked, but the end result was still the same … Celtic being crowned Scottish Premier League champions. Celtic sealed the deal with their 1-1 draw on the road against Dundee United yesterday morning, giving them an unassailable four-point lead over bitter rivals Rangers with one round remaining. Postecoglou had his critics when appointed less than 12 months ago, but success follows him everywhere.
K – KINGS OF THE NBL
That mantle goes to the Sydney Kings, who did what most expected on Wednesday night and swept the Tasmania JackJumpers 3-0 in their NBL grand final series. The Kings entered the showpiece raging favourites and though they were challenged, boasted too much talent and depth for Scott Roth’s Cinderella team. The 97-88 win in game three ensured the Kings snapped a 17-year wait between NBL championships.
L – LOCKED AWAY
Before you know it, The Everest will be dominating the racing landscape. Though it is five months away, there had been a great deal of activity behind the scenes recently and it all came to the surface this week with Mazu and Eduardo secured to run for Triple Crown and Yulong Investments respectively. This year’s race, worth $15 million, will be run at Randwick on October 15.
M – MILLER TIME
That it was at Ascot last weekend, with trainers Simon Miller, Jason Miller and Stephen Miller combining to win five races on the nine-event card, the final one staged at summer headquarters for the season. Jason Miller’s feat to prepare Prince Turbo to win the Eurythmic Stakes (2200m) second-up off a lengthy injury-enforced lay-off, was one of the more popular Ascot wins you will see. It was not only a reward for connections’ patience, but an undeniable feather in the cap of the trainer.
N – NOBLE GESTURE
Much innuendo has surrounded David Noble following North Melbourne’s loss to Brisbane at the Gabba in round three. The searing debrief from the second-year coach after the 108-point loss caught many club staff members by surprise and prompted some to wonder what impact it would have. We learnt this week that the impact was severe, with Noble apologising for his words amid fears he had lost the changeroom. Overseeing a rebuild at an AFL club is never easy, something which Noble is well and truly aware of.
O – OVER THE MOON
You throw a challenge at Brian Goorjian and you just know he will meet it head-on. So it proved this week when the legendary coaching figure signed a two-year deal to be the foundation mentor of the Bay Area Dragons in the new East Asia Super League. Having only recently handed over the reins of the Illawarra Hawks to assistant Jacob Jakomas, the 68-year-old committed to steering the Dragons, who will be based in Manila because of COVID-19 complications surrounding travel in Hong Kong. The Dragons will play in the Philippines league and also tackle the top two sides from leagues in Japan, South Korea, Philippines and the champions from Taiwan. Goorjian described the opportunity as a “no-brainer”.
P – POY OH BOY
Unless you had backed Dente at Kyneton on Monday, there would have been a small part of you that had a chuckle at Michael Poy’s gross miscalculation. Poy went for home a lap early in the benchmark 58 race over 2828m, even pulling the whip in the run to the post the first time as his rivals minded their business behind him, clearly bemused (and probably amused) at what was going on up ahead. Dente understandably faded to run eighth in the 11-horse race, beaten 19 lengths. The stewards took a dim view of Poy’s blunder, suspending him for two months. Poy has announced his intention to appeal the ban.
Q – QUOTE OF THE WEEK
I can’t believe I am about to type in the following comments from Greg Norman regarding the Saudi Arabian-sanctioned murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. “Look, we’ve all made mistakes and you just want to learn from those mistakes and how you can correct them going forward.” Norman’s remarks triggered a furious response around the world and will surely impact the Saudi-backed breakaway golf league he is spearheading.
R – R.I.P
The WA breeding and racing industry has been mourning the passing all week of Ron Sayers.Not only a huge figure in the thoroughbred game, Sayers was a giant in the mining industry through Ausdrill, the company he founded in the 1980s. Sayers lost his brief battle with stomach cancer on Monday morning. He was 70. Sayers is survived by his wife Lyn and five children.
S – SUNNY DISPOSITION
Gold Coast might not be afforded a better opportunity to prove the current crop of Suns are a better version than the ones we have become accustomed to since their inception. Sunday’s home date with Fremantle at Metricon Stadium comes eight days after they toppled Sydney at the SCG. It Stuart Dew’s side is able to take down the Swans and top-four bound Fremantle in consecutive rounds, they are entitled to think September is not beyond them. Gold Coast, the floor is yours.
T – TRIPLE-HEADER
It is not uncommon for the NFL to have a triple-header on a Sunday during the home-and-away season. Three games on Thanksgiving have been a common sight for a long time now, but the NFL has cashed in on Christmas falling on a Sunday this year by staging another three games on the festive day. Green Bay travel to Miami to tackle the Dolphins, the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams host Denver and Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay head to the desert to meet the Arizona Cardinals. It will be interesting to see what the NBA, which has traditionally owned Christmas Day, does in response with its fixtures.
U – UNIQUE DOUBLE
Mike Brown had a fair bit on his plate earlier this week. The Golden State Warriors assistant was informed on Monday morning, USA time, that he had been appointed the head coach of the Sacramento Kings for the next four seasons. Then came a phone call later that day from Warriors mentor Steve Kerr that he was feeling ill. Subsequent testing confirmed Kerr had tested positive to COVID-19, leaving Brown with the job to assume the mantle for game four of Golden State’s Western Conference semifinal series against Memphis. Brown handled the responsibility like a true pro, steering the Warriors to a 101-98 victory.
V – VERSTAPPEN MAKES HIS MOVE
Reigning F1 champion Max Verstappen entered the history books this week when he became the Miami Grand Prix’s first winner. Verstappen made a fast start at the Hard Rock Stadium lay-out and was able to assume the front from championship leader Charles Leclerc on lap nine and never looked back. His victory enabled him to cut Leclerc’s lead in the championship to 19 points ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona later this month.
W – WINTERBOTTOM OF THE WINTER
Granted, we are still in May, but as soon as WA racing returns to Belmont Park, the winter season has started. And there will no better race at winter headquarters for 2022 than tomorrow’s Group 3 Roma Cup (1200m). The weight-for-age sprint is one of the strongest editions we have seen, with 13 runners in the capacity field of 16 having started in at least one Group 1 race. Elite Street was installed as the favourite off the back of his brilliant win in the Group 3 Northam Stakes (1100m) and is clearly the one they all have to beat.
X – X-RATED
The words “furious”, “disappointed”, “irresponsible”, “disrespectful” and “embarrassed” were uttered by West Coast coach Adam Simpson and chief executive Trevor Nisbett following the decision by seven Eagles players to attend the Hip-E club 24 hours after the shellacking from Richmond. You suspect those words might have been the PG version and others with a far more adult slant were spewing from the mouths of Simpson and Nisbett … and understandably so. Not only were the seven selfish, their inability to read the temperature of the room was staggering.
Y – YEARN NO MORE
Those who have been pining for the Rugby World Cup to return to Australia can rest easy. The announcement last night that Australia had won the right to host the global showpiece in 2027 was terrific, as was the decision by powerbrokers to stage the women’s World Cup Down Under just two years later. It will be the first time since 2003 that Australia has hosted the World Cup, a timeframe some would say is too long considering France has hosted the event on two occasions in the past 19 years.
Z – ZURHAAR’S ENTRY
Considerable gloom surrounded North Melbourne’s display against Fremantle at Optus Stadium last Friday night. One of the rare highlights was Cameron Zurhaar’s “hanger” in the second quarter. The WA product flew high over teammate Todd Goldstein to put forward a strong contender for Mark of the Year honours. Zurhaar is better known for his ferocious attack on the football than his leap, but his hops on this occasion were impossible to over.