Summer is finally here and boy do we need it!
It has been a long and dreary year for many of us based on the East Coast of Australia with more washouts than an English summer of cricket.
As the final Group 1 of 2022 approaches – the Northerly Stakes at Ascot on Saturday – today’s edition of Punt Drunk takes a look at the key battle between the veteran Cascadian up against one of the best young talents in the country in Amelia’s Jewel.
We’ll also celebrate the year that’s been for one James McDonald and an Australian Test cricket legend who grabbed the heartstrings of every punter around the globe.
The battle of the young & the old in the Northerly
WA Racing is usually an afterthought for many a trainer based in Victoria or New South Wales, but as the prizemoney increases so does the quality of Group 1 fields we get over at Ascot.
Saturday’s Northerly Stakes is headlined by Godolphin’s Cascadian, with the no.1 saddlecloth and James McDonald on board, while Perth’s superstar filly Amelia’s Jewel is set to carry 50kg amd looks to establish herself as a genuine Group 1 star.
Cascadian has been nothing short of impressive this preparation, running third in a Memsie Stakes, winning the Group 2 Hill Stakes and Group 3 Craven Plate, before hitting the line strongly over 1600m in the Champions Mile. He gets back out to 1800m on Saturday and with JMac on board, he might just bring up a third Group 1 win at his 25th attempt.
Amelia’s Jewel on the other hand has the world at her feet. Through six starts she has only tasted defeat once and her last start win in the WA Guineas has her right in the calculations for Group 1 glory. She gets a 9kg weight advantage over her main rival and despite drawing barrier one, looks to be in this Group 1 right up to her neck.
So it is essentially the best jockey in the world up against one of the best horses in the country…who wins? JMac and Cascadian by a whisker for us.
It’s official James McDonald is the best
During the week, James McDonald was crowned the best jockey in the world.
Water is wet and grass is green.
International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) had him ranked ahead of superstar jockeys like Ryan Moore, William Buick, Jim Cowley and Melbourne Cup-winning hoop Mark Zahra.
The bloke could deadset lift a 56-start maiden to victory and we would not be shocked.
From piloting Nature Strip to victory at Royal Ascot, to arguably his crowning moment when winning the Cox Plate aboard Anamoe, McDonald has the world at his feet.
Fun Fact: the song below was not written about James McDonald. Allegedly.
We bow to you Mark Waugh
"ARGH!" Junior couldn't quite lift his horse over the line 😂 🐎 pic.twitter.com/IFMyjs4YGN
— Triple M Cricket (@triplemcricket) November 30, 2022
We have all been there, working and trying to lift home a horse in a Provincial Maiden Plate at Gosford on a Wednesday afternoon.
Australian Test great Mark Waugh took it to a new level when working for Triple M on Day 1 of the first Test between Australia and the West Indies.
His wife and astute horse trainer Kim Waugh had Always In finish second in the penultimate race at Gosford, where despite Junior’s best efforts he couldn’t grab the all the way winner Calamity Fox when lunging at the winning post.
To have a sneaky punt in an office environment is one thing, but to do it when on air broadcasting the cricket is another. We tip our hats to you Junior.
About Punt Drunk
Welcome to Punt Drunk – our daily column covering all the latest horse racing and punting controversies, dramas and headline news. Have a story or gripe or issue that just grinds your gears? Just hit us up in the comments or contact us page and our jaded, punt hardened Punt Drunk staff will give it the Punt Drunk treatment it deserves. Don’t expect pleasantries or typical racing media fanboy gloss from Punt Drunk – we’re on the punt and we don’t have time to bullshit; the next is about to jump…