Nelson Mandela has died and it is very sad. Although a pain free death for a 95 year old is much better than such a great man living in horrible pain. It has all been said about his 27 year prison sentence and his rise to President of South Africa in 1994. What is rarely mentioned however is just what an outstanding job he did as President. We have to remember that he was President of an economic powerhouse, plus he was a freedom fighter, yet there is no living person who has a bad word to say about him. He dies having no enemies and not just that, but every single person who ever met him absolutely loved him. Gandhi and Martin Luther King both were freedom fighters like Mandela, but both had plenty of people who hated them. In fact both were assassinated. These two men did things for their country that can’t be measured. But neither really had a political career. Gandhi was considered the father of modern India and MLK will be forever remembered as the face of the civil rights movement. Mandela did equally as much for civil rights in South Africa and he also presided over an economic powerhouse. Yet he was universally loved. Has there ever been another politician that was universally loved?
Under the Mandela presidency the black middle class tripled. He gave hundreds of thousands of people a chance that they would not have received had he remained in prison.
He was a great leader, a great freedom fighter, a funny man, a gentle man and probably the greatest man of the late 20th century.
Here is what Obama said about Mandela upon hearing of the great man’s death…
West Africa (race 1 number 6.). This Kavanagh trained colt has had just one start for a nine length romp. Yes the opposition might not have been any good, but still to win by nine lengths indicates this colt has a huge amount of ability. There is another horse in the field named Lord of the Sky that might also be a future gun, but for the minute at around the $2.20 mark, the unbeaten colt gets the nod.
Mororo (race 2 number 4). Here we have a filly that had her one and only start at the end of October and won on that day by a widening three lengths. The way she extended when ask by Oliver indicates she still has an abundance of talent and she no doubt has taken great benefit from a little freshen up.
Johannapine (race 3 number 13). It is fair to say that this mare has promised so much in her career but has really delivered very little. On Saturday she is way down in the weights, she has a good barrier and she does not meet a very strong field. Punters have clearly lost faith in her because it appears as if she will start at double figure odds for one of the very few times in her career. She has the ability to win, but has forgotten how to win so perhaps the each way bet might be the best option.
Vatican (race 5 number 2). One of the most in-form sprinters in Melbourne has found a very winnable race and despite his big weight he looks set to get the perfect run and will be exceptionally hard to beat. Of late this gelding has just been finding one or two better in his races, but he is clearly the best sprinter in the race and the only thing that will stop him is the weight.
Super Cavalier (race 3 number 8). Now this horse is very slow. In fact he might be the slowest horse in Australia and he will probably run last in this race. In fact he will be $1.15 to run last in this race. So why is he being tipped you might ask? Because he is $331. That is the longest price I have ever seen on metropolitan race and to make it even better, there are only eight horses in this field. At $331 it is worth putting $1 each way and hope that maybe seven barriers don’t open properly. Or there is a seven horse traffic jam. Or they let this horse lead and the track it so leader bias that the other horses can’t catch him. Make no mistake, she is a very slow horse; this is reflected by his 55 start career that has resulted in just two wins. These two wins were a long, long, long way from Randwick and were a long, long, long time ago. But we have to be happy to take $331 on an animal that does not know it is slow.
Calming Influence (race 4 number 1). Beaten as a hot pot last start, but now this filly has Hugh Bowman aboard replacing an apprentice. She can lead, she can come from behind and she is even slightly down in the weights. She has only had six starts and only ever missed a place once (she ran 5th) and she no doubt will give her supporters a sight on Saturday.
Index Linked (race 5 number 1). This import is much better suited at the 1800m and of late the Kensington track at Randwick has been the fairest in Sydney, so he should get his chance from back in the field. This is his 7th run this time in, but he is in form, only has 59.5kg and the field he meets resembles more a Wednesday class of race than a Saturday quaddie leg. Looks very hard to beat.
Field Marshall (race 6 number 3). Another who was beaten as favourite at their last start, but there were genuine excuses. On Saturday from barrier 8, expect Field Marshall to perhaps be right up on the speed, and with so little weight the gelding should have plenty to offer at the end of the race when the whips are cracking. Interestingly, this gelding has been under the care of both Gai Waterhouse and Chris Waller so he definitely should know how to win.
Missy Longstocking (race 4 number 1). At level weights, this filly looks very close to unbeatable. She is clearly better than each and every other filly in this race and all being equal, given even luck, she should just win. Before being thrashed by Zoustar last start at Flemington in a Group One, she had won three in a row and had beaten some really nice horses in the process. She will be short and she deserves to be.
Cape Kidnappers (race 7 number 14). In ten starts, this gelding has only ever finished first or second. He was a certainly beaten in Sydney and the only times he has ever been beaten in Brisbane, the wet track was to blame. This is a very deep race, with plenty of chances but with 54kg from a good barrier, this gelding might just sneak a break and be impossible to run down. He is at around the $3 mark at this stage and on weights and measures and if the track remains dry enough, he is the best bet of the day.
Essay Raider (race 7 number 14). After wide run last start, this gelding still has the audacity to win by two lengths and he indeed looked very impressive in doing so. Before that he was only beaten around three lengths in the old Salinger on Derby day, and before that he won a race this track and trip by 6.5 lengths. The top weight in this race poses a real threat, but that horse has a huge weight, whereas Essay Raider is down on the minimum.
Grand Nirvana (race 5 number 1). Slow, old and washed up. But he is showing a little bit of form of late. Loyalty dictates he deserves one more chance.
Ihtsahymn (race 8 number 11). Now this horse will have to very good to win this Group One win over the likes of Luckygray. But he beat a super star last start, has no weight and might be a horse on the rise. We got the cash with Luckygray last time, so maybe we should try and get some more with another star from the west.
Hong Kong Sunday
Mount Athos (race 4 number 5). This horse ran really well in the Melbourne Cup. But so did many of his rivals in this race (the Hong Kong Vase). However this race is over 2400m and this horse has a great record at this trip. Craig Williams stays on and at WFA he might have too much sprint for his rivals which include Red Cadauex, Dunaden, Simenon and Dandino.
Lucky Nine (race 5 number 2). This sprinter was favourite to beat Buffering at his last start but he did not enjoy the Flemington Straight. He is back home now at a track that he loves. He will be very hard to beat.
Moonlight Cloud (race 7 number 13). Remember this…
Well since then the horse that almost beat Black Caviar (Moonlight Cloud) has had won about eight major races. This mare almost beat Black Caviar over a sprint trip and now we can get $3 about her in a very suitable mile race. She is flying and is clearly one of the best mares in the world. Her best will blow this field away.
Good luck and stay tuned.