Sport and Racing in 2014 arguably hits an all-time high this weekend as three days of black type racing combines with the AFL Grand Final and NRL Prelims, offering punters several key opportunities to place a winning bet!
Thanks largely to the AFL Grand Final on Saturday afternoon, Victorian meets will bookend the weekend’s racing schedule at Moonee Valley and Caulfield on Friday night and Sunday respectively, with Sydney’s Rosehill Gardens will play host to Golden Pendant Day on Saturday.
The Moonee Valley card is undoubtedly highlighted by the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m), which will see the world’s current leading sprinter line up against the likes of Buffering, Rebel Dane and Angelic Light; Unpretentious the clear outsider in the small field of five.
Securing four wins from as many starts over his autumn campaign including three at the highest level of Australian racing, Lankan Rupee was delivered a shock defeat at the hand of Angelic Light in the Group 1 McEwen Stakes (1000m) first-up this season, but remains clear favourite in markets to win a fourth Group 1 title.
Friday night’s Moonee Valley meet will also see some of the Spring Carnival’s most exciting three-year-old prospects duke it out in the Group 2 Bill Stutt Stakes (1600m), while the Group 2 Stocks Stakes will see classy mares Commanding Jewel and Dear Demi duke it out once more.
The Group 3 Golden Pendant (1400m) headlines an eight race card at Rosehill on Saturday, and offers punters exceptional value from a betting standpoint.
Classy mare Catkins has returned to the track in typically scintillating form this season, and as a result is offered as a particularly short priced favourite. My Sabeel ran a strong second to Catkins in the Group 3 Sheraco Stakes (1200m) most recently, and has so-far received the greatest market share of attention from punters; registering as clear market mover.
The Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) is set to feature a showdown between Golden Rose placegetters Scissor Kick and Shooting To Win on Saturday, while the Group 2 Shannon Stakes (1500m) could easily be taken out by at least half of the 14 horse field.
Racing wraps up in style on Sunday, with the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) headlining a Caulfield card which also boasts the Prelude events for both the Caulfield Guineas and Thousand Guineas.
Peter Moody’s classy stallion Dissident opened as favourite in betting markets for the Group 1 feature but has surprisingly drifted as punters have turned their attention towards the likes of Sweet Idea, Cluster, Trust In A Gust and Moody’s other entrant, A Time For Julia.
AFL Grand Final
The 2014 AFL season comes to an end in fitting fashion this weekend as the league’s two stand out teams, the Sydney Swans and Hawthorn Hawks face off for the flag for the second time in three years.
The Swans ($1.56) have been favourites for the Premiership nearly all season, but are sure to be pushed to the limit by a finals-hardened Hawks ($2.50) side who comfortably disposed of Fremantle in the 2013 GF.
Awarded to the best player on ground in each season’s Grand Final, the Norm Smith Medal is one of the highest personal honours achievable in AFL. Won in 2013 by Hawks defender Brian Lake, the Norm Smith looks likely to go the way of a Swan, with Josh Kennedy and Lance Franklin currently sharing the top line of betting ($8).
NRL Preliminary Finals
Following a week off, South Sydney Rabbitohs and Penrith Panthers will play host to the Sydney Roosters and Canterbury Bulldogs respectively to decide who will do battle in next weekend’s Grand Final.
South Sydney ($1.70) destroyed Manly in week one of the finals to secure easy passage to this week’s Prelims, while the Roosters ($2.20) were shocked by the Panthers in week one and almost blew a 30 point lead over the Cowboys last week. This match is sure to be the highlight of the NRL week, with many touting these teams as likely Grand Final combatants at the beginning of the season.
Unable to string together much of a consistent run of form over the early stages of the season, Canterbury ($1.76) have hit their straps at the right end of the season, with their tough and grinding style enough to see off a spirited Sea Eagles fight last week. Penrith ($2.10) have been without doubt the league’s surprise packets this year and are incredibly just 80 minutes away from their first Grand Final appearance since 2003.
The English Premier League kicks up another gear this weekend, highlighted by the Merseyside Derby between bitter rivals Liverpool and Everton. Neither side has started the 2014/15 season as the would have liked, adding an extra incentive to what is sure to be a tough fixture.