We are through the deserts of December and January. February offered the promise of things to come and March is one of the better months for punting, so here is a glimpse of what to expect for the third month of the year.
Thoroughbred racing is back for autumn carnival racing, with quality races and quantity well represented as well.
First off is the Group 1 Australian Guineas at Flemington on March 3. Two Group 3 races are on the card for the first Saturday in March. South Australia will run the Group 3 Lord Reims Stakes for staying types. Randwick has a big day planned for the 3rd as well. The Chipping Norton Stakes should see the return of Winx, provided Bowie is back in action. Randwick also has four Group 2s and a Group 3 on the card, so there is no lack of quality racing.
March features an additional 13 Group 1s, with plenty of the action taking place at Rosehill Racecourse, including the Group 1 Storm Queen Stakes on the final day of the month.
Without doubt, the highlight of the month comes on March 24, when Rosehill will jump five Group 1 races, including the Golden Slipper Stakes.
Those who like to punt on the rugby codes have had their appetites whetted by Super League. Union has a new look and a revamped format this year, so there is a possibility, albeit a small one, that some inroads can be made against the dominant Kiwi teams, particularly when certain players have Test duties that take them away for a spell.
The NRL ends its long slumber on March 8, with 15 teams anxious to dethrone the Melbourne Storm and take the premiership back to its rightful home, New South Wales or Queensland, depending upon your preference.
The Dragons have the honour of inaugurating the season when they match up against the Brisbane Broncos at UOW Jubilee Stadium in Carlton. The remaining 14 teams will follow in short order on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The AFL has been tantalising punters and fans in general with AFLW, AFLX and JLT Community Series play in February, continuing into March, with the 2018 Toyota AFL Premiership competition taking to the grounds for actual points beginning on Thursday, March 22 when defending premiers Richmond play an evening game against the Carlton Blues at the MCG. Essendon Bombers play the Adelaide Crows the following night at Etihad Stadium. The rest of the league bounces for Round 1 play on either Saturday or Sunday.
It has been since September 29 of 2017 since a boot was applied to a Sherrin in a meaningful manner, so anticipation should be keen.
Once again, motor racing fans in Australia will see the Australian Grand Prix start the 2018 season in Melbourne, with fans eager to watch angelic drivers contend with the newly mandated Halo safety device.
The 2018 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship is also on the March sports calendar, with the Adelaide 500. The 2018 season will feature a nighttime race under the lights at Sydney Motorsport Park and if the 2018 season is anything like 2017 was, the excitement will be tremendous.
There is never a lack for soccer punts and the month of March is no exception. The A-League is grinding its way toward the end, with matches growing in significance. Sydney Football Club seem the ones to beat, but they will be hard to catch. As of this writing, they have lost only one game all season, with 16 won and four drawn, with a goal differential that is well clear of second place side Newcastle Jets.
Fans of Premier League football have much about which to be enthused and it is possible that there has never been a better time to live in Manchester, UK, as City and United are the class acts of the current season, with Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea giving chase, albeit from a distance.
Australian Test cricket will be on display right from the beginning of the month, as the Australian National Cricket Team, led by Steve Smith, will play a four Test series against South Africa beginning on March 2 and concluding on March 31. The Aussie XI is showing great confidence following their Ashes dismantling of the Poms and this looks to be a great period of time to be an Australian cricket fan.
Aussie professional golfers look to be prominent in March. The PGA Tour has over $US 40 million in prizemoney on the main tour alone, so expect to see Adam Scott, Marc Leishman, Jason Day, young phenom Cameron Smith and others jockeying for position as professional golf heads toward The Masters on the second weekend of April.
When the satellite tours are throw in, the PGA Champions for the over 50s, the Web.com Tour for the players trying to gain an in on the big tour, the Mackenzie Tour in Canada, Latin America and China, as well as the LPGA, it is easy to see that March is a month to be savoured.
Other international markets of interest to some include the NBA and the NHL. Both leagues have multiple regular season fixtures, as the NHL has 31 clubs and the NBA 30, so March is a month where the survival of the fittest comes into play.
Aussies in the NBA, including rookie sensation Ben Simmons, along with veterans such as Joe Ingles, Andrew Bogut Dante Exum and Cameron Bairstow have proven that Australian hoopers can match up against the best in the world.
Nathan Walker is the lone Australian representative in the NHL, but he plays for the Washington Capitals, one of the premier teams in the league, so it is not entirely inconceivable that Walker might have the honour of escorting Lord Stanley’s Cup on a tour of Australia come June or July.