Professor’s red hot tips for Flemington races on 20 January 2017

After taking a successful run at Gold Coast races last week (3 winners and a second from 5 selections), the Professor returns to Victoria today and sees Flemington as a likely source of winners.

Make sure you back them each way!

Flemington

Race 3 Horse 1 – Civil Disobedience
Race 4 Horse 2 – Addison
Race 5 Horse 6 – Crusty
Race 7 Horse 4 – Nature Strip (for the ladies at the Tennis club)
Race 9 Horse 10 – Malaise (also for the ladies at the Tennis club)

Good luck and good punting

The Professor

Professor’s musing – Arnold or Van Marwijk for Socceroo’s coach?

I read that Football Federation Australia (FFA) Chief Executive, David Gallop said there had been ‘huge’ amounts of interest in the
Socceroos coaching position from local and overseas candidates. One wouldn’t need to be a Rhodes scholar to understand such a level of interest in the position recently left vacant with the resignation of Ange Postecoglou. After all, the hard work has already been done given that the Socceroos have already qualified for the 2018 World Cup.

With at least fourteen candidates on the list of potential coaches, I note there are only two Australians – Graham Arnold and Tony Popovic. Aside from Postecoglou, the Socceroo’s recent past is littered with International coaches such as Guus Hiddink, Pim Verbeek and Holger Osieck. The difference between Postecoglou and the other three is that Postecoglou cared about the future of Australian soccer, the Socceroos and the A League. To the others is was just a job with one simple task – to qualify for the World Cup with no real interest in much else.

Talk has it that Dutchman, Bert Van Marwijk is a short priced favourite for the job. Van Marwijk’s recent claim to fame is coaching Saudi Arabia to qualification for this year’s World Cup. He is back on the shelf after the Saudi Football Federation couldn’t agree with him on the terms of a new contract.

For Australian soccer’s continued growth, the FFA need to appoint a
local person and Graham Arnold would be the perfect choice. He has the qualifications for the job. For a start he has already been in charge of the National squad back in 2006 and 2007. He has gained more experience in the intervening ten years and is currently the coach of the very successful Sydney FC. Postecoglou proved conclusively that Australian coaches are up to the task of coaching at International level so there should be no impediment to appointing Arnold.

However, I have no confidence that the FFA will get this most important of decisions correct. After all this is an organisation that squandered $45.6 million of Federal assistance in an ill fated (some would say impossible) attempt to convince FIFA to award the 2018 or 2022 World Cup to Australia and we all know how that turned out.

Professor’s red hotties for Gold Coast races on 13 January 2018

The Professor has looked at today’s racing fields and believes the best value for punters is at the Gold Coast, especially with the running of the Magic Millions 2 year old Classic and several other feature races on the card.

Make sure you bet each way!

Gold Coast

Race 4 Horse 4 – Sedanzer
Race 5 Horse 1 – Global Glamour
Race 7 Horse 1 – Pierata (for the ladies at the Tennis club)
Race 8 Horse 11 – Sunlight (also for the ladies at the Tennis club)
Race 9 Horse 3 – Viddora

Good luck and good punting!

The Professor

The Professor’s Friday musing – White beats Maxwell for Australian ODI squad spot

The Australian selectors aren’t paying due regard to the long term future of the Australian One Day International team with its choice of Cameron White to replace Chris Lynn in the squad for the coming matches against England. White is 34 and whilst he has had a reasonable start to the Sheffield Shield and Big Bash seasons, one wonders what caused a change of heart by Australian Chairman of Selectors, Trevor Hohns. You may recollect Hohns’ comments twelve months ago after White had criticised the selection of Sam Heazlett in the Australian ODI squad. He said “Cameron has had plenty of opportunities … he has had plenty of opportunities in the past and it’s probably fair to say performed okay without being earth shattering”. Not the most flattering of opinions and a fair put down for a pro sportman.

Whether Hohns believes White’s form has improved to the extent to be now included in the squad or White has served his penance for the criticism of the selectors, those selectors feel White is better than anything Glenn Maxwell can produce at this stage of his career. For whatever reason there appears to be a rift between Maxwell, the selectors and Australian captain Steve Smith. One only needs to look at Smith’s recent comments about Maxwell to gain a hint on where the problem might lie. Smith suggested Maxwell should change his training practices. If the skipper makes those observations it a safe bet it will be a while before Maxwell is considered for further ODI duty.

Maxwell has the flair and more importantly, the ability to play the one day game at the highest level and at 29 represents more of the future for Australian cricket than White does at 34. Whatever the reason for the disconnect between Maxwell and the Australian cricket hierarchy, it is up to the selectors and the skipper to resolve it so that the best possible team can be put together for the 2019 World Cup and in my opinion, Maxwell is in that side!

Monday musing – cricket, when is it too hot to play?

It is no surprise that English cricket captain, Joe Root was admitted to hospital last night suffering the effects of severe dehydration. Root spent nearly all day on the field yesterday during the fifth test at the SCG. He was so badly affected that he did not resume batting this morning and was replaced at the crease by Moeen Ali. What is surprising was that other English or Australian players didn’t end the day in hospital as well.

Sydney’s weather was described as a ‘scorcher’ yesterday, with the temperature in Penrith at 3.00pm hitting 47.3C degrees – the highest temperature recorded since 1939. The temperature at the SCG was not far behind at 43C but a ‘heat stress tracker’ at the ground showed a reading of 57.6C on the oval.

It is unfathomable to me that Cricket Australia would send the players out to play in such heat and allow them to remain on the field all day. This is an occupational health and safety issue that cannot be ignored. The Australian Open tennis tournament suspends play when the temperature reaches 40C, many enterprise bargaining agreements allow for employees to cease work when the temperature reaches 35C and I am aware of one football league that does not permit training or matches to be played where the temperature exceeds 30C.

The question remains why cricketers are treated differently to workers and other sporting participants? It seems ironic that it is quite permissible for cricketers to leave the field when it rains but don’t have the same latitude when it gets too hot. With the hospitalisation of an elite cricketer, Cricket Australia needs to take action to impose a temperature limit on all matches under its control.

Professor’s red hot tips for Caulfield races on 7 January 2018

After a reasonable start with a couple of winners last week, the Professor is looking to go one or two better today with these selections for Caulfield races.

Take them each way.

Caulfield

Race 1 Horse 5 – Addison
Race 4 Horse 2 – Eclair Calling
Race 5 Horse 7 – Invisible Girl
Race 6 Horse 2 – Widgee Turf (for the ladies at the Tennis club)
Race 7 Horse 11 – Prevailing Winds – (also for the ladies at the Tennis club)

Good luck and good punting!

The Professor

Friday musing – Tennis, Bernard Tomic’s career is a ‘sell’…..oh dear!

At 25, Bernard Tomic has accomplished much in the tennis world but with Tennis Australia choosing not to offer Tomic a ‘wild card’ entry into the Australian Open field, his tennis career looks like it is on a very slippery, downward slope. Without automatic entry, Tomic has already indicated he had no interest in competing in the qualifying rounds.

Having attained his highest ATP tennis ranking of 17 in January 2016, he managed only eight wins after last year’s Australian Open causing a fall in the world rankings to #140. He has not played competitively since November 2017 and, after withdarwing from this month’s Brisbane International, we may have seen the last of Tomic at an ATP Tour or Grand Slam event.

If that is the case, then he will be like a number of young Australian tennis professionals who streak across the sky only to burn out in the heavy atmosphere that is the pro tennis circuit. Poise, composure, work ethic and tact are all qualities that go into making a good professional in any sporting field. After observing Tomic’s career, it is difficult to say he has any of those traits. One only needs to look at Tomic’s performance in a first round straight sets loss to Mischa Zverev at last year’s Wimbledon tournament and his petulant comments made at the aftermatch press conference to confirm this. It led to him being fined a record USD$15,000.00 by the All England Club for unsportsmanlike conduct after he admitted feigning injury during the match. He also told the press that he had felt a little bit bored and only played for the money.

If we have seen the last of Tomic, then I for one am not sorry to see him go. There have been many moments to celebrate in Australian Tennis over the years, but Bernard’s career is not one of them. The Wimbledon fine may be the low point of his career but there have also been more cringe worthy moments than memorable victories. With the suggestion that he could be one of the mystery contestants in the next ‘Get Me Out of Here, I am a Celebrity’, his career is definitely a ‘sell’ option at the moment.

Wednesday musing – cricket, MCG pitch mania…….

The International Cricket Council (‘ICC’) has now called the MCG pitch ‘poor’ based on the report by match referee, Ranjan Madugalle. It hasn’t taken the press long to jump all over that with the Age reporting that the MCG pitch produced for the Boxing day Test has become ‘infamous’ because it is the first Australian pitch to be described as poor. If that pitch was poor, then I wonder how pitches prepared on the sub-continent or in England would be described?

One only needs to Google the topic to find descriptions of sub-continent pitches as ‘diabolical’ and ‘a minefield’. One article reported the much vaunted South African Proteas’ batting line-up being skittled for a mere 79 runs with 33 of 40 wickets taken in the match falling to spin. In the 2015 Ashes series, there were complaints that pitches at Trent Bridge and the Oval had been doctored to suit England. In the Trent Bridge Test, Australia made only 60 runs and were all out before lunch on day one.

Certainly the MCC served up nothing as bad as that. The match referee’s rating was driven by his view that the pitch did not allow an even contest between bat and ball. Is that a bad thing? Clearly the ICC thinks so but I think it is much ado about nothing. But the fans didn’t agree as 260,000 spectators watched the Melbourne Test over the full five days.

With the new ICC points system coming in from 1 January 2018, the MCG has dodged being slapped with a three point penalty. Any ground that totals five points over a five year period can be
suspended from being used for ICC matches for one year. Given the past history of Test pitches, it would seem there will be plenty of grounds not seeing Test cricket due to suspension….can the ICC or Cricket Australia afford to suspend a ground that draws a crowd of 260,000? I think not!

What do you think?

Weekend musing – cricket, the Ashes, a ‘lifeless’ pitch…..

The MCG curator must have felt sorry for the English cricket team with the pitch he turned out that was more in keeping with slower English conditions. As I expected, the match ended in a draw with the Aussies retaining a 3-0 lead in this Ashes series.

Since stumps were called yesterday, I have read and listened with interest to the pundits advocating long and loud for a ‘better’ pitch at the MCG. Those making the call include Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland, Cricket Victoria CEO Tony Dodemaide and MCC CEO Stuart Fox. A comment was even provided by the Australian captain Steve Smith. Apparently, the pitch was ‘lifeless’ and needed to provide ‘more variation’. Smith’s observations appear a bit disingenuous given he and his team were batting to save the match and prevent an unlikely England win. I am sure he and the other Australian batsmen were pleased that the ball was bouncing straight and true on day five of the match.

Correct me if I am wrong, but test match cricket has three possible results….a win, loss or draw and, unlike in most other sporting contests, the ‘dead rubber’ matches are still played. While limited over matches have their place in the lexicon of cricket, they should not be used as a yard stick to judge test cricket. They are different games with different expectations. In my opinion, the commentators have been blinded by the hit and giggle of the short form of the game and seem to want all cricket played the same way, finishing with a win or loss.

Having been raised watching five day test matches, I find the battle of wits and skill over the extended period to be a true ‘test’ of ability. It is clearly still a popular form of the game as more than 88,000 flocked to the first day of the MCG test, even though the series had already been decided in Perth the week before. I did read with interest pitch critics saying the pitch was to blame for the fall off in attendance after day one. I think those writers conveniently overlooked the fact that Boxing day was a holiday but many people needed to return to work the next day.

Have a great New Year!

Professor’s tips for Sandown on 30 December 2017

The Professor has taken over the mantle of Sportzfan Radio’s racing tipster for the forseeable future. Whilst he has been schooled by the Gelding in how to pick favourites, he looks to put his own stamp on the tips and will search for at least one selection with a bit of value each week for punters.

Needless to say the Professor sees the tips as an each way chance but he doesn’t see the need for the ‘all up’ bet as well.

Sandown

Race 1 Horse 1 – Fake
Race 2 Horse 4 – Domesticated (for the ladies at the Tennis club)
Race 3 Horse 6 – Life on the Wire
Race 4 Horse 4 – Mawzoona (also for the ladies at the Tennis club)
Race 6 Horse 7 – Ozi Choice

Good luck and good punting!

The Professor