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View from Down Under: Sydney Puts its Best Hoof Forward

In the past three years, Sydney’s The Championships have emerged as a genuine challenger to Melbourne’s famous Spring Carnival as the biggest horse racing event in Australia.

Massive prize money investment has transformed the Sydney autumn carnival into a two-week extravaganza of elite-level racing in the first two weeks of April.

Emerald encrusted trophies are awarded to the winning owner, trainer and jockey of each race, and while we’d like one of those, we’ll have to settle for backing a winner instead.

The feature event this Saturday is the Doncaster Mile, traditionally Australia's best handicap over the 1600m. Le Romain is the $6 (+500) favorite for the $3-million (AUD) race but it’s a wide-open betting market event that weather may play a huge part in. Sydney is expected to have a huge downpour ahead of the meeting, which will impact the track, which unfortunately is a bit of a custom at this time of year for the Harbour City.

The weather is expected to be much better for the AFL Grand Final rematch down south in Melbourne, although that doesn’t matter much, as the game will be played at Etihad Stadium, which has a roof.

One hundred and seventhy-nine days after the Western Bulldogs broke a long title drought — eerily in the same year as both the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Cavaliers did the same — they’ll start as a $1.57 (-175) favorite against the Sydney Swans ($2.39 or +139).

That match obviously headlines Round 2, but there are once again plenty of fixtures to look forward to. On Thursday night, two of the biggest clubs in the land, Richmond ($2.10 or +110) and Collingwood ($1.75 or -133) go head-to-head in a match that will provide an early indicator as to where the sides are at.

In Australia’s other national football code, the NRL, Round 5 looks much more straightforward in the betting market than previous weeks, with six of the eight matches separated by a line of at least six points.

The Sydney Roosters are a $1.42 (-238) chance of winning their fifth game in as many starts on Friday against Manly ($2.95 or +195) while the other undefeated side, the Melbourne Storm, will also start as a strong favorite ($1.60 or -167) against Penrith ($2.40 or +140).

While soccer fans across the country breathed a huge sigh of relief on Tuesday night when the Socceroos finally got back on the winners list against the UAE, domestically, the race for the finals is heating up, with only three rounds to go in the regular season.

Sydney FC were crowned Premiers last weekend for securing top spot on the ladder, but unlike many of the world’s top leagues, the A-League has a finals system, so the championship is still up for grabs, with the Grand Final to be played on the first Sunday in May.

The Sky Blues can notch their 19th win in 25 games with a win at home against Melbourne City, which is priced at $1.75 (-133).

The Super Rugby competition enters its sixth round, kicking off in Dunedin, New Zealand on Friday night when the Highlanders are an unbackable $1.03 (-3333) favorite to beat the Melbourne Rebels ($13 or +1200).

It’s games like this one that give you a real insight as to just how strong New Zealand rugby is at the moment. That’s not an easy sentence for an Aussie rugby fan to type.

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