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Australian Open Women's Singles Preview 2023

I haven't written a Grand Slam preview for a while and I have a bit of time on my hands at the moment, so why not spend some time previewing the action from Melbourne Park. Southern Australia has had a very wet spring and summer, so expect a bit of rain in amongst a few days of hot weather. But there are multiple courts with a roof these days, that won't hold them back too much. On with the preview! Running down the draw, listing seeds and notable floaters: 1. Iga Swiatek , R1 v Niemeier - clear no.1 in the women's game with a 67-9 record last season, bagging two majors (French and US) plus five premier level (WTA 1000) events. Was only #9 in the world this time last year, reaching the semis, then went on a ridiculous 37-match run, winning Doha, Indian Wells, Miami, Stuttgart, Rome and the French Open consecutively, securing the no.1 spot before finally dropping a match at Wimbledon. Leading in, she has won three decent matches in the United Cup (Putintseva, Bencic an
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The Melbourne Cup preview 2022

A competitive edition of the Melbourne Cup without being a great one. The La Nina weather cycle has made a mess of sporting events down the east coast in recent weeks and Flemington has not escaped that. It did race very well on Saturday considering the conditions, so fingers crossed that continues. At this stage it seems like the track will be Soft 7/Heavy 8 - rain is forecast, hopefully not enough for the track to deteriorate but also not warm or windy enough for proper drying weather as you'd normally see on the sand profile track.  There are only two international visitors in the field, Deauville Legend and Without A Fight, while another pair, Camorra and Hoo Ya Mal, will make their local debuts having been purchased for Australian syndicates. So the local moaners get their 'mostly locals' race. I think I'd prefer higher class myself but hey... Slightly different format this year, enjoy reading, bet responsibly, yada yada yada... ------------------------------------

Derby Day preview

Renowned as the greatest day on the Aussie racing calendar, that moniker has been under threat in recent years as the VRC has sought to spread the quality over the four days of the Cup carnival and rearrange the schedule a bit. Not sure I'm in full support of that but the fields this year have held up well.  The big concern this year is the weather - the east coast of Australia has been copping constant rain for weeks now, you will have seen the floods and the devastation behind it on TV. Flemington traditionally drains well due to its sand profile but that's when the water has somewhere to go. It's saturated at the moment and while getting into the Heavy 9/10 range is unlikely, it also means a fast recovery to a firmer surface is just as unlikely. Tread with caution! Ratings based on Soft 7/Heavy 8, improving through the day. Flemington traditionally drains very well, but there's been plenty of rain in the last few weeks.  R1 - Carbine Club Pungo, short-priced Waller f

York Ebor Meeting Day 2 preview

 YORK DAY 2 A little success on the opening day but only enough to keep us going into Thursday. We go again with a little more confidence... 1350 Lowther Stakes Strong G2 2yo fillies' race to start the programme. Dramatised looks the obvious fav after winning the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot but leave me out of her at even money in this field. Kinta worked home nicely in the Princess Margaret at Ascot after being checked in the run, and should enjoy these race conditions. Lady Hollywood came through novice races before winning a Listed race at Naas in front of subsequent winner Mauiewowie. Matilda Picotte has been close up behind Meditate (Albany Stakes winner at Rotal Ascot ahead of Mawj), highly-rated G2 winner Statuette and most recently second in a big field 2yo stakes race at Naas when she won her side of the rtack but was beaten by a colt on the opposite rail. She's in the mix here, while Dramatised, Mawj and Queen Me (looking to become the fourth generation of her family

York Ebor Meeting - Day 1 preview

YORK Day 1 I love this meeting, on a big, wide open track. None of this up, down and loop-the-loop rubbish like at Goodwood. Best of all, it's less of a bloody rip-off too. I can't make it this year unfortunately but if you've never been - put it on your list. It is a wonderful track, especially at the Ebor meeting. Remember this is a World Pool meeting, so get on board with the Tote for the enormous pools, especially in the exotics. R1 1350 Sky Bet and Symphony Group Handicap So let's kick off with a nice, easy 22 runner sprint! 9/1 the field at time of writing so obviously cases to be made for many. Line up a couple and don't go overboard in the first of 28 races for the meeting. Dakota Gold won this race off 104 back in the pre-pandemic era in 2019. Last year he tried his luck in the Nunthorpe and wasn't disgraced, now he's back to big handicap level which is ideal for him. He has won six from 12 at York, and his jockey Connor Beasley is king of the spri

Royal Ascot Saturday preview

Very excited to be heading along to the final day of the Royal meeting - see the Wokingham preview for the reason why... R1 14.30 Chesham Alfred Munnings has been the big Ballydoyle certainty of the week for a while as you can see by the price. It hasn't been the greatest week for the stable, just two winners out of 14 so far (Tues-Thurs) and both of those were favourites (2 winners/4 favs overall). Can't see him being turned over but Alzahir, Crypto Force or One World might fill the frame. R2 15.05 Jersey Good spread of 3yos here over 7f, converging from a wide range of formlines. I like one down the bottom, Star Girls Aalmal for Irish dual code trainer Henry de Bromhead. This filly should have run second in the Irish 1000 Guineas after being chopped off by the dominant winner Homeless Songs, but the pair she finished alongside (and should have been in front of) were Tuesday and Concert Hall, who then finished first and fourth in the Oaks. Before that, she'd won two in a

Royal Ascot Friday preview

Unsurprising that day three went awry on the punt after feeling a dangerous level of confidence in the morning. When the first one just about gets knocked down with zero protection from the stewards, the clouds of doom were moving into position...  Fairly quick on the form study for day four, saving myself for being on track on Saturday! R1 14.30 Albany 18 fillies entered here for the 6f Group 3 race for 2yo fillies, those not quite good/speedy enough for the Queen Mary yesterday. Unsurprisingly, the market is dominated by a Coolmore and a Godolphin filly followed by one from Amo Racing. And pretty handy fillies they are too. But that's not where the value lies.   Powerdress won early in the season, defeating the very speedy Yahsat at Newmarket on debut. That filly was backed heavily yesterday in the QM (16/1 into 15/2) and while she only finished midfield, her lead-up runs justified the support.  So Powerdress it is. Prefer Mawj of the favourites pair, while Beautiful Aisling,

Royal Ascot Thursday

 Wednesday regressed to the norm but today looks a much nicer betting card. R1 14.30 Norfolk Stakes Another exciting 2yo race, this time over the five furlongs. Another Amo Racing flyer heads the market, this time Walbank , who destroyed a small field at York last time. He looked great but I'm not sure what he beat. The runner-up was a distant second behind Miami Girl at his previous start and that horse only ran fifth in the Queen Mary yesterday. On debut he ran second to the highly promising Noble Style here. He deserves to be high in the market but 7/4? Leave me out of that. Aidan O'Brien's team have not been firing this week (cue them to land with all five entries today!), and the heavily-punted Little Big Bear only scraped in yesterday when a very strong fav. Might have to swerve The Antarctic as well. One I did the like the look of was Brave Nation . He won eased down by 6L at Doncaster on debut, there's more up his sleeve for sure. Pillow Talk is another of the