View from Down Under: Seasons Change and Horse Racing Takes Centre Stage


It’s officially the end of our summer in Australia on Tuesday (March 1) with cooler weather and the winter footy codes on the way. But before we bust out the Sherrin (that’s an AFL footy) or the Steeden (NRL) there’s time to turn our attention to the track with Caulfield in Melbourne set to host three Group One races on Saturday. The main race is Victoria’s richest for two-year-olds, the Blue Diamond Stakes, where, amazingly, trainer David Hayes, eho trains in partnership with his son and nephew has six runners. One of those six, Catchy, is the favourite at $5.50 (+450).

The other two Group Ones at Caulfield are the Oakleigh Plate, where Extreme Choice currently holds favouritism at $3.80 (+280) and the Futurity Stakes, where Black Heart Bart is odds-on favourite at $1.80 (-125). have put together a video preview of the big meeting. See if you can work out what Bren and Jake are talking about.


Meanwhile, up in Sydney, supermare Winx can extend her winning streak to 15 in the Chipping Norton Stakes at Randwick. She’s at very short odds of $1.10 (-1000) to do just that.

We mentioned the fact that the home cricket season was drawing to a close in this column last week. That has now wrapped up, but there’s no rest for our multi-millionaire cricketers, with the national side having already begun their four-Test series in India on Thursday.

To put into context just how hard it is to win on the subcontinent, Australia, who have been the superpower of world cricket for over 20 years, have won only one series in India since 1969.

With that poor record in mind, it’s no wonder the Aussies are $12 (+1300) to win the series with the hosts at $1.14 (-714).

In the soccer, Sydney FC’s hopes of a perfect A-League season came to an end last weekend in Round 20 of the A-League soccer when they lost 1-0 to their cross-town rivals, the Wanderers in the Sydney derby.

They are $2.50 (+150) favourites to bounce back onto the winners’ list on Friday night against the third-placed Melbourne City at $2.65 (+165). Should Sydney lose again then the race for the Premiers’ Plate, a trophy awarded to the team who finishes the regular season on top of the ladder, is back on.

The Super Rugby season begins this week but for many Aussie fans, it promises to be a tough fewe months with our neighbours from New Zealand set to dominate the competition. The reigning champion Wellington Hurricanes are set to open their title defence in Tokyo with a match that could get ugly for the Japanese Sunwolves. Super Rugby features teams from Australia, Japan, South Africa, New Zealand and Argentina.

You want further proof the season in changing Down Under? The men’s AFL pre-season competition in in its second week, while the inaugural AFL women’s in beyond the halfway stage. And then next week, the NRL season gets underway. As we say in these parts, time to get out the jumper (that’s a sweater not a pet kangaroo!).


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