2018 Valencian GP (MotoGP) – Preview

After 18 rounds (17 races after the British Grand Prix didn’t get underway), and countless races that we will remember for a long time, the 2018 MotoGP World Championship comes to a conclusion at the final round (Round 19) at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, a chance to celebrate the season, and farewell a number of riders that will be leaving the MotoGP grid, including Scott Redding, Bradley Smith, Álvaro Bautista, Xavier Simeon, and the retiring Dani Pedrosa.

Pedrosa is the biggest name from this group of riders to be moving on from MotoGP after 54 wins (31 in MotoGP), 153 podiums (112 in MotoGP), 49 pole positions (31 in MotoGP), and 64 fastest laps (44 in MotoGP), claiming the 125cc World Championship in 2003, as well as the 250cc World Championship in 2004 and 2005, with a best championship finish in the MotoGP World Championship of second in 2007, 2010, and 2012, falling 18 points short of Jorge Lorenzo in 2012 after becoming the Repsol Honda Team’s main championship contender after the ankle injury suffered by Casey Stoner at Indianapolis.

Overall, Pedrosa has scored 4151 points across all classes (2959 points in MotoGP), and will start for the 295th and final time across all classes on Sunday (217th time in MotoGP).

However, that won’t be the only focal point in Valencia, and while Marc Márquez (321 points) and Andrea Dovizioso (220 points) have secured first and second in the world championship respectively, the battle for third is still alive between the two Movistar Yamaha MotoGP teammates in Valentino Rossi (195 points) and Maverick Viñales (193 points) in what is a “winner takes all” scenario in terms of finishing third in the championship in very simplistic terms, although it could be more complicated than that should they finish the race in Valencia down the field.

In addition to this, the fight for fifth in the world championship is still alive in what is also a “winner takes all” scenario between Álex Rins (149 points), Johann Zarco (149 points), and Danilo Petrucci (144 points). Cal Crutchlow (148 points) is in-between Zarco and Petrucci in the standings, but is out of Valencia after breaking his right ankle in Friday practice at Phillip Island.

Andrea Iannone (133 points) could also finish fifth in the world championship, as can Jorge Lorenzo (130 points), but both would need results to go their way to achieve that, while Dani Pedrosa (106 points) can still finish his final MotoGP season in 10th-place in the championship should he win in Valencia, and Lorenzo scores no points.

So, who will take out the final race of the 2018 MotoGP World Championship?

Judging by recent form, and his four wins from his last five races, it has to be Marc Márquez to claim what would be his 10th race victory of the season, and it would be just the second time in his premier class career, third across all classes, that he would have won 10 races or more in a single season.

I think on the podium with Márquez will be Andrea Dovizioso, while Dani Pedrosa will claim his first podium of 2018 in his final MotoGP race.


2018 Mackinnon Stakes – Preview

It is the final day of the 2018 Melbourne Cup Carnival, and after a wonderful three days, we head into the last day of the carnival with a couple of showpiece Group One’s left to run.

The VRC Sprint Classic, where defending champion and two-time winner of The Everest Redzel will be looking to secure his spot as the best current day sprinter, but faces strong opposition from the likes of Kementari, Pierata, and Santa Ana Lane.

And then the main race, the 2018 Mackinnon Stakes, where the Victoria Derby winner Extra Brut, and the Empire Rose Stakes winner Shillelagh will be chasing a rare Group One double at the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

It is set to be a great day, so here are my tips for the final day of the 2018 carnival.


Race 1. 12:15pm 1600m Melbourne’s Own 3AW Trophy

1st 7. Eshtiraak (3)

2nd 3. Manuel (1)

3rd 6. Call It a Day (6)

4th 2. Al Passem (4)

Race 2. 12:50pm 2000m Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Plate

1st 7. Danon Roman (JPN) (1)

2nd 5. Lucky For All (NZ) (7)

3rd 1. Lycurgus (3)

4th 11. Top Prospect (NZ) (5)

Race 3. 1:30pm 1400m Watch Racing.com Springtime Stakes

1st 4. Yulong January (3)

2nd 12. No Emotion (8)

3rd 13. Secret Vega (1)

4th 9. Wagner (13)

Race 4. 2:10pm 1400m DeRucci Chatham Stakes

1st 1. Widgee Turf (2)

2nd 4. Dreamforce (13)

3rd 10. Spectroscope (USA) (4)

4th 7. Mr Sneaky (5)

Race 5. 2:50pm 2600m Queen Elizabeth Stakes

1st 3. Lord Fandango (GER) (2)

2nd 7. Jaameh (IRE) (11)

3rd 13. Sully (NZ) (6)

4th 10. Sir Isaac Newton (GB) (5)

Race 6. 3:30pm 2000m 7News Matriarch Stakes

1st 14. Our Libretto (NZ) (6)

2nd 12. Aqua D’ivina (10)

3rd 15. Silent Roar (1)

4th 2. Savvy Coup (NZ) (15)

Race 7. 4:10pm 1200m VRC Sprint Classic

1st 3. Santa Ana Lane (5)

2nd 7. Kementari (9)

3rd 6. Pierata (3)

4th 1. Redzel (8)

Race 8. 4:55pm 2000m Seppelt Mackinnon Stakes

1st 5. Doubt Defying (10)

2nd 9. Extra Brut (9)

3rd 8. Shillelagh (NZ) (6)

4th 4. Trap for Fools (8)

Race 9. 5:45pm 1100m Grand Handicap

1st 7. Lagerfeld (4)

2nd 13. As It Lies (9)

3rd 11. Order of Command (1)

4th 16. Dennis (7)

Best of 2018 NRL season commentary – My full calls

Throughout 2018, I have called a number of National Rugby League (NRL) matches to attempt to showcase to you my commentary skills, including displaying to you the research that I do for matches, and I thought I give you the opportunity, just in case that you missed it, to relive my 2018 NRL calls in their entirety. I hope you all enjoy my calls!








































2018 VRC Oaks Day – Preview

It is the third day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, VRC Oaks Day, and what a day we have on the cards with Amphitrite the favourite for the Kennedy Oaks, but faces a strong challenge from the likes of Aristia, Qafila, Verry Elleegant, Zapurler, and Collectable among others.

And after Extra Brut won the Victoria Derby on Saturday, and Cross Counter became the first English-trained horse to win the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday, we are set for another great day at Flemington.

Here are my tips for today.


Race 1. 12:15pm 1000m Maribyrnong Plate

1st 5. Chicago Bull (6)

2nd 9. Vinicunca (4)

3rd 7. Art Collection (5)

4th 8. Knowles (1)

Race 2. 12:55pm 1700m DrinkWise Plate

1st 11. Wild Sea (20)

2nd 10. Global Sanction (8)

3rd 5. Hunboshi (NZ) (7)

4th 4. Guipure (11)

Race 3. 1:35pm 1800m Twitter Trophy

1st 12. Tan Tat Trusting (NZ) (3)

2nd 5. Al Galayel (IRE) (12)

3rd 13. Legale (10)

4th 3. A Shin Rook (JPN) (13)

Race 4. 2:15pm 1400m Off The Track Subzero Handicap

1st 3. Harbour Grey (NZ) (2)

2nd 12. Ivoryman (NZ) (1)

3rd 11. Don’t Blush Baby (14)

4th 10. Our Girl Silke (NZ) (7)

Race 5. 2:55pm 1600m Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Final

1st 13. Cochada (19)

2nd 1. Superhard (11)

3rd 14. Full of Theories (12)

4th 17. Triage (4) (EM1)

Race 6. 3:35pm 1000m Absolut Stakes

1st 5. I’ll Have a Bit (8)

2nd 3. Super Cash (11)

3rd 13. Written Choice (3)

4th 4. Kaepernick (17)

Race 7. 4:15pm 1800m TCL TV Stakes

1st 9. Vow And Declare (3)

2nd 8. Magnum Opus (9)

3rd 14. Waka (11)

4th 6. Junipal (13)

Race 8. 5:00pm 2500m Kennedy Oaks

1st 4. Verry Elleegant (NZ) (13)

2nd 10. Scamper (12)

3rd 12. Collectable (11)

4th 1. Amphitrite (5)

Race 9. 5:45pm 1100m World Horse Racing Roses Stakes

1st 18. The Closer (1)

2nd 11. Final Choice (9)

3rd 16. Bleu Roche (10)

4th 3. Humma Humma (15)

2018 Brazilian Grand Prix – Preview

It was a magnificent win for Max Verstappen at the Mexican Grand Prix, another tough race for Daniel Ricciardo ending in his eighth retirement of the season, but the biggest headline was Lewis Hamilton becoming just the third man after Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher to win five Formula One World Championships, an incredible achievement.

However, the focus now turns to the Autódromo José Carlos Pace in São Paulo, Brazil for the penultimate round, Round 20 of the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship, and a battle not only for the Constructors’ Championship, but also for third in the Drivers’ Championship.

Hamilton (358 points) became a five-time Formula One World Champion after his fourth-place finish in Mexico, a performance in any other circumstances would have been described as a lacklustre one, finishing 78.738 seconds behind race winner Verstappen, and the last car on the lead lap. Hamilton and Mercedes will be looking for a much better performance in the final two races of the season in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, two circuits which should suit Mercedes on paper much better.

Sebastian Vettel (294 points) has secured second in the world championship after finishing second in Mexico, which wasn’t enough to keep the championship battle going in his Ferrari, but the positive sign for the Prancing Horse is that Ferrari have regained the speed that they had before the flyaway races, winning in Austin with Kimi Räikkönen, and being the second-best car in Mexico behind Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer at a track which very much suited Red Bull.

Talking about Räikkönen (236 points), he leads a three-way battle for third in the world championship with Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas (227 points), and Verstappen (216 points), while Ricciardo (146 points) will finish 2018 in sixth after retiring for the second-straight week, this time due to a hydraulics failure.

Behind the top six in the championship, there is a huge scrap for seventh with Nico Hülkenberg (69 points), Sergio Pérez (57 points), Kevin Magnussen (53 points), Fernando Alonso (50 points), Esteban Ocon (49 points), and Carlos Sainz Jr. (45 points) all within 24 points of each other with two races remaining.

Looking at the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes (585 points) could claim their fifth-straight championship Brazil, currently leading by 55 points over Ferrari (530 points). Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer (362 points) are locked-in for third with Renault (114 points) close to locking up fourth ahead of Haas-Ferrari (84 points).

Then beyond the top five, McLaren-Renault (62 points) are hanging onto sixth ahead of Force India-Mercedes (47 points), while a great battle continues for eighth in the championship with Sauber-Ferrari (36 points) overtaking Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda (33 points), while Williams-Mercedes (seven points) will finish 10th in the Constructors’ Championship barring a minor miracle.

Looking at the championship permutations, Mercedes can claim the 2018 Constructors’ World Championship in Brazil if they are not out-scored by Ferrari by 13 points or more. If Ferrari finish first and second in São Paulo, the battle will go down to the final race in Abu Dhabi regardless of what Mercedes does. However, if one Mercedes driver finishes the Brazilian Grand Prix inside the top two, the other Mercedes driver must finish fifth or higher unless the first Mercedes driver win, with a Mercedes win being enough to clinch the Constructors’ Championship regardless of what Ferrari does.

And, we also have the battle for third in the championship on the line in Brazil, which can be decided in favour of Kimi Räikkönen:

  1. If Räikkönen wins the race, Bottas must finish 6th or lower.
  2. If Räikkönen finishes second, Bottas must finish 9th or lower, and Verstappen must finish 4th or lower.

So, who will win the 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix?

In my opinion, I think Mercedes will return back to their best form, but I still suspect Ferrari will be with them in the battle for the victory at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace. Overall, I think Sebastian Vettel will find his best form to claim his sixth race win of the season, but I think the two Mercedes will be on the podium to claim their fifth-straight Constructors’ World Championship.

2018 Melbourne Cup – Preview

It is the race that stops a nation, and captivates the world! 24 horses, 3200 metres under handicap conditions with a prize pool of $7.05 million, with $4 million going to the winner. It is the 2018 Melbourne Cup, and with a wide-open field, who will take out the Cup?

Will Yucatan live up to his favouritism to give Aidan O’Brien and James McDonald their first Melbourne Cups? Of course if Aidan were to win with either Yucatan, The Cliffsofmoher, or Rostropovich, he would win his first Melbourne Cup the year after son Joseph trained Rekindling to Cup glory.

Will Lloyd Williams win his third-straight Melbourne Cup as a owner with either Yucatan, or The Cliffsofmoher? An owner has never won three-straight Melbourne Cups with three different horses?

Will Magic Circle give Marwan Koukash his first Melbourne Cup as an owner, Ian Williams his first as a trainer, and Corey Brown his second-straight success as a jockey?

What about Godolphin? Can either Best Solution, Avilius, or Cross Counter win Godolphin their first Melbourne Cup?

Will an outsider claim the race that stops the nation? Could the likes of Muntahaa, Sound Check, Marmelo, Finche, Ventura Storm, A Prince Of Arran, or Youngstar upstage the favourites to take out this great race?

Could Runaway give Gai Waterhouse her second Melbourne Cup, and Adrian Bott his first?

Could Who Shot Thebarman become the first 10 year old, and the oldest horse in history, to win the Melbourne Cup, and complete the Melbourne Cup-Sydney Cup double?

Or will roughies like Chestnut Coat, Ace High, Auvray, Red Cardinal, Vengeur Masque, Nakeeta, Sir Charles Road, or Zacada cause one of the biggest upsets in Cup history?

Here below is the field for the 2018 Melbourne Cup, and below that my tips for what is the richest “two mile” handicap race in the world.


The Field

1. Best Solution (IRE) (6)

Trainer: S.B.Bin Suroor

Jockey: P.Cosgrave 57.5kg

Form: 114 111-1

Record: 23-10-2-3

Last start: 1st/18 | 2400m
20 Oct | CAUL


2. The Cliffsofmoher (IRE) (9)

Trainer: A.O’Brien

Jockey: R.Moore 56.5kg

Form: 112 33-43

Record: 17-3-2-3

Last start: 3rd/18 | 2400m
20 Oct | CAUL


3. Magic Circle (IRE) (17)

Trainer: I.Williams

Jockey: C.Brown 56kg

Form: 111 0-11-

Record: 21-8-1-1

Last start: 1st/8 | 3264m
24 May | SAN.


4. Chestnut Coat (JPN) (4)

Trainer: Y.Yahagi

Jockey: Y.Kawada 55.5kg

Form: 110 250-0

Record: 18-4-5-1

Last start: 13th/18 | 2400m
20 Oct | CAUL


5. Muntahaa (IRE) (13)

Trainer: J.Gosden

Jockey: J.Crowley 55.5kg

Form: 110 34-1-

Record: 15-4-1-4

Last start: 1st/20 | 2816m
25 Aug | YOR.


6. Sound Check (GER) (16)

Trainer: M.D.Moroney

Jockey: J.Childs 55.5kg

Form: 110 -32-0

Record: 16-6-2-1

Last start: 12th/18 | 2400m
20 Oct | CAUL


7. Who Shot Thebarman (NZ) (18)

Trainer: C.J.Waller

Jockey: B.J.Melham 55.5kg

Form: 110 -7694

Record: 55-11-7-4

Last start: 4th/15 | 2500m
27 Oct | M V


8. Ace High (22)

Trainer: D.L.Payne

Jockey: T.Angland 55kg

Form: 110 02410

Record: 22-5-3-0

Last start: 15th/18 | 2400m
20 Oct | CAUL


9. Marmelo (GB) (10)

Trainer: H.Morrison

Jockey: H.Bowman 55kg

Form: 109 2112-

Record: 15-5-5-1

Last start: 2nd/10 | 3000m
19 Aug | DVLE


10. Avilius (GB) (11)

Trainer: J.A.Cummings

Jockey: G.Schofield 54.5kg

Form: 109 11114

Record: 12-6-1-2

Last start: 4th/8 | 2040m
27 Oct | M V


11. Yucatan (IRE) (23)

Trainer: A.O’Brien

Jockey: J.B.McDonald 54.5kg

Form: 108 013-1

Record: 13-3-3-3

Last start: 1st/15 | 2400m
13 Oct | CAUL


12. Auvray (FR) (1)

Trainer: R.A.Freedman

Jockey: T.Berry 54kg

Form: 107 -5266

Record: 39-8-4-1

Last start: 6th/10 | 2600m
13 Oct | RAND


13. Finche (GB) (15)

Trainer: C.J.Waller

Jockey: Z.Purton 54kg

Form: 107 5-1-3

Record: 9-3-0-3

Last start: 3rd/15 | 2400m
24 Oct | GEEL


14. Red Cardinal (IRE) (5)

Trainer: D.K.Weir

Jockey: D.Oliver 54kg

Form: 102 08030

Record: 16-5-3-2

Last start: 11th/15 | 2500m
27 Oct | M V


15. Vengeur Masque (IRE) (2)

Trainer: M.D.Moroney

Jockey: P.M.Moloney 54kg

Form: 104 -4059

Record: 26-4-5-0

Last start: 9th/18 | 2400m
20 Oct | CAUL


16. Ventura Storm (IRE) (7)

Trainer: D. & B.Hayes & T.Dabernig

Jockey: M.Zahra 54kg

Form: 105 79401

Record: 29-7-3-2

Last start: 1st/15 | 2500m
27 Oct | M V


17. A Prince Of Arran (GB) (20)

Trainer: C.Fellowes

Jockey: M.Walker 53kg

Form: 105 32-31

Record: 28-5-6-3

Last start: 1st/11 | 2500m
3 Nov | FLEM


18. Nakeeta (GB) (3)

Trainer: I.Jardine

Jockey: R.Bayliss 53kg

Form: 105 577-0

Record: 38-5-8-3

Last start: 13th/15 | 2500m
27 Oct | M V


19. Sir Charles Road (14)

Trainer: L.O’Sullivan & A.Scott

Jockey: D.Dunn 53kg

Form: 102 01473

Record: 24-6-5-4

Last start: 3rd/13 | 2400m
31 Oct | BDGO


20. Zacada (NZ) (24)

Trainer: M.Baker & A.Forsman

Jockey: D.M.Lane 53kg

Form: 100 -0080

Record: 36-4-7-5

Last start: 12th/15 | 2400m
24 Oct | GEEL


21. Runaway (12)

Trainer: G. Waterhouse & A. Bott

Jockey: S.Baster 52kg

Form: 102 0-341

Record: 17-4-3-3

Last start: 1st/15 | 2400m
24 Oct | GEEL


22. Youngstar (8)

Trainer: C.J.Waller

Jockey: C.Williams 51.5kg

Form: 107 -6327

Record: 12-4-1-3

Last start: 7th/18 | 2400m
20 Oct | CAUL


23. Cross Counter (GB) (19)

Trainer: C.Appleby

Jockey: K.McEvoy 51kg

Form: 109 4112-

Record: 7-4-2-0

Last start: 2nd/9 | 2400m
22 Aug | YOR.


24. Rostropovich (IRE) (21)

Trainer: A.O’Brien

Jockey: W.M.Lordan 51kg

Form: 109 5-1-5

Record: 13-4-2-2

Last start: 5th/8 | 2040m
27 Oct | M V



My Tips

1st 13. Finche (GB) (15)

2nd 10. Avilius (GB) (11)

3rd 24. Rostropovich (IRE) (21)

4th 21. Runaway (12)


After going through the entire 24-horse field, I came to the conclusion that after his strong third in the Geelong Cup almost a fortnight ago that Finche, sired by the great British horse Frankel, is the one to beat in my mind to give Chris Waller (trainer) and Zac Purton (jockey) their first Melbourne Cups. Behind Finche, I have picked Avilius, who finished fourth in a small, but high-quality field in the W.S. Cox Plate, finishing 7.8 lengths behind the great mare in Winx, but don’t let that concern you because I think the form of Avilius and Rostropovich (5th in the 2018 W.S. Cox Plate), who I have selected in third behind Finch and Avilius, stacks up favourably compared to other form lines. In saying this, I predict it will be heartbreak for Godolphin (owner of Avilius) and Aidan O’Brien (trainer of Rostropovich) once again, while the Geelong Cup winner Runaway, also sired by the undefeated Frankel, will run a strong race to finish in fourth, with the weight differences from the Geelong Cup to the Melbourne Cup swaying the balance of power towards Finche, but regardless of what happens, it is going to be a magnificent day!

2018 Victoria Derby Day – Preview

It is one of the biggest days in Australian racing. Four Group 1 races, two Group 2 races, three Group 3 races, and a day which quite often (as it has done in the past) shaped the field for the Melbourne Cup, and the first Tuesday in November.

It is Victoria Derby Day of course, and the favourite for the 2018 Victoria Derby in Thinkin’ Big, who is the only horse in the Derby that has been placed in each of his starts (four wins from six starts, with two thirds), and has not currently passed the first ballot clause for the 2018 Melbourne Cup can force his way into the Cup with a win in the Victoria Derby.

However, most of the focus as far as the first Tuesday in November is concerned is the Lexus Stakes, with nine of the 11 horses in the ballot for the 2018 Melbourne Cup, with all nine needing a win to guarantee their place in the race that stops a nation, and quite often stops the world.

So, here are my tips for Victoria Derby Day.


Race 1. 11:45am 1600m The Carbine Club Stakes Group 3

1st 5. Ranier (1)

2nd 6. Wild Planet (4)

3rd 16. Zargos (7)

4th 7. Grim Reaper (8)

Race 2. 12:20pm 2000m Mumm Wakeful Stakes Group 2

1st 2. Verry Elleegant (NZ) (6)

2nd 11. Skyway Star (7)

3rd 5. Sizzleme (1)

4th 10. Sealed (9)

Race 3. 1:00pm 1200m The TAB Stakes Group 2

1st 8. Winter Bride (7)

2nd 1. Osborne Bulls (11)

3rd 2. Casino Wizard (4)

4th 13. Le Cordon Bleu (5)

Race 4. 1:40pm 2500m Lexus Stakes Group 3

1st 4. Sixties Groove (IRE) (4)

2nd 6. Brimham Rocks (GB) (3)

3rd 2. A Prince Of Arran (GB) (7)

4th 11. Northwest Passage (11)

Race 5. 2:25pm 1200m Coolmore Stud Stakes Group 1

1st 8. Diplomatico (9)

2nd 1. Written By (6)

3rd 10. Sunlight (7)

4th 6. Sesar (5)

Race 6. 3:05pm 1600m Empire Rose Stakes Group 1

1st 15. Amphitrite (8)

2nd 1. I Am a Star (NZ) (3)

3rd 9. Shumookh (7)

4th 14. Seabrook (NZ) (5)

Race 7. 3:50pm 2500m AAMI Victoria Derby Group 1

1st 7. Savoie (17)

2nd 1. Thinkin’ Big (9)

3rd 15. Tolemac (14)

4th 3. Extra Brut (15)

Race 8. 4:35pm 1600m Kennedy Mile Group 1

1st 3. Comin’ Through (6)

2nd 1. Hartnell (GB) (9)

3rd 4. Land of Plenty (8)

4th 10. Siege of Quebec (15)

Race 9. 5:20pm 1100m Furphy Sprint Group 3

1st 14. Za Zi Ba (8)

2nd 7. From Within (5)

3rd 17. Petrelle (12)

4th 9. She Knows (4)