February 24, 2021 National Trotguide
Ideally-drawn in gate one and coming off a solid return to winning form, BAD TO THE BONE (1) is poised to continue the wonderful run of success, currently being enjoyed by Steph Lippiatt. Roles in Mates 4 Harness, Team Teal and only a week ago, being named to represent NSW, along with Ashley Hart, in the Australian Ladies Driving Championship, to be held in Launceston in mid-March, to win the Lady Drivers Invitational would be a further boost in her career for the local. And the way Bad To The Bone greeted the judge last week, another reward is a distinct possibility. Contesting his third race since coming under the care of Paul Fitzpatrick, the former Kiwi powered to the line in defeating The Announcer and Lani Kai Beach, despite working outside of the leader. Prior to that engagement the classy 4yo finished 7th in both the G2 Hondo Grattan and the G2 Paleface Adios behind Zeuss Bromac and Expensive Ego, respectively. As always, when a runner from the powerful Emma Stewart faces the starter, they must be respected. This time around that particular runner is ROCKASAKI (7) who will have the services of Emma Turnbull. The mare arrived with solid form back home, prior to having little luck in recording a 6m 8th to her classy stablemate Maajida in the G2 Robin Dundee a week ago. Returning to a suitable assignment, but with a wider gate, Rockasaki can give ‘Emma and Emma’ that ‘winning feeling’. Amy Day will take the reins behind the Amanda Turnbull-trained BUNDORAN (2) who will have admirers on the strength of his stylish win last week when he accounted for Send It and Balducci. Enjoying a kind run behind the leader, the 4yo son of Lincoln Royal was switched wide in making his run, quickly putting paid to his rivals when ‘clear air’ was on offer. From gate two Day will have the chance to present Bundoran with a similar ‘cosy’ run. PIRATE BAY (3) has collected three consecutive placings since scoring at Newcastle, with his latest effort being a 1.3m 3rd to Gimmefiveminutesmore after having every chance in the lead role. Sofia Arvidsson will partner the Jack Trainor 7yo and from the good draw, the son of Washington VC is capable of being in the mix for a long way. Exotic players should expand their combinations to include LETS GO TO BRAZIL (5), with Jessica Prior in the sulky, RED REACTOR (9), who will be driven by Madi Young, while the veteran ELROY JETSON (10) is also in the multiple mix for Ashley Hart.
BAD TO THE BONE 1, Rockasaki 2, Bundoran 3, Pirate Bay 4.
The return to a far better draw and the promise of a ‘kinder’ trip, ROCKIN MARTY (3) is deserving of another chance after finishing in a rearward role last week. Facing the starter from gate 9, the David Hewitt-trained son of Pet Rock was trapped three deep in working forward, prior to finding the role outside of the leader. Over the final stages the talented 5yo had little left, resulting in a creditable 12.3m 8th behind Burnham Boy. Prior to effort, Rockin Marty had collected three wins from his previous four starts, with a solid 2nd to Shoobee Doo in the mix. With the speedy THUNDER DANCE (4) engaged in the race, Brad Hewitt will be keen to find the pegs, then take cover, or at the very least, seek a handy role in the running line, allowing Rockin Marty to stake his claim when the winning post appears on the horizon. ELLMERS IMAGE (5) is coming off a determined win at Bathurst, with Aphorism and Loorrim Creek fighting out the minors. Boasting a record at this venue, the Falcon Seelster 7yo has drawn suitably and that will assist Amanda Turnbull in finding a suitable stalking role, and that will enhance the winning prospects of Ellmers Image. A fitter MARTY MAJOR (1) should be given further attention after coming up with the pole position. Resuming from a spell with a solid win at Tamworth, the Art Major 8yo then worked from a wide draw when a useful 10m 6th to Ashark at Newcastle. With the benefit of those runs, a fitter Marty Major can make his presence felt. Like Marty Major, PITCH PERFECT (11) is under the care of Roy Roots Jnr, who has a date with destiny in a week’s time when The Black Prince steps out for a shot at Miracle Mile Glory. Pitch Perfect has drawn the outside gate and that will be a hurdle, but his form is acceptable, with his latest outing resulting in a 7.9m 6th to The Black Prince in the G1 Newcastle Mile. THUNDER DANCE (4) holds the key to the race as his early gate speed, providing he has his main on the job, will be a big plus. An all-the-way Menangle winner two starts ago, Thunder Dance then raced roughly in the score up, prior to covering ground when a tiring last to The Black Prince at Newcastle. The 8yo is entitled to be included when it comes to the exotics. HIDDEN COURAGE (2), ESCALERA (8) and RUSTY CRACKERS (9) also come under that banner.
ROCKIN MARTY 1, Ellmers Image 2, Marty Major 3, Pitch Perfect 4.
The chance to secure spot in the Garrards Miracle Mile is up for grabs when the G1 Allied Express Logistics Sprint is ‘run and won’. First and second will receive an invite, with the major players appearing to be WOLF STRIDE (4) and ALTA ORLANDO (6), who was responsible for an excellent third in the ‘great race’ last year. Anthony Butt and Sonya Smith have WOLF STRIDE racing in the ‘peak of his powers’ and from his ideal draw, the classy son of Rock N Roll Heaven can continue on his winning way. Following his win in the Bendigo Cup, the 5yo posted a sound 11m 3rd to Lochinvar Art in the Ballarat Cup, then a gallant 9.9m 4th in the 2760m Hunter Cup, once again behind Lochinvar Art. Driven aggressively by Zac Phillips in the Terang Cup last week, Wolf stride overcame a back row draw and a three-wide trip in finding the lead, as he powered to the post in defeating Malcolm’s Rhythm and Somewhere Secret. This will be the best draw Wolf Stride has enjoyed in sometime, and legendary reinsman Anthony Butt will be keen to take full advantage of the situation. ALTA ORLANDO (6) can never be taken lightly, and he certainly has some unfinished business to attend to after his superb effort a year ago. The 9yo son of Courage Under Fire has been sparingly-raced by Belinda McCarthy over the past few months, with the veteran being kept fresh. Following his strong win in the G3 Frank and Edna Cup at Goulburn in mid-January, Alta Orlando headed to Melton for his next assignment, the Hunter Cup over 2760m on February 6. Displaying his usual high level of gate speed, Alta Orlando was first to find the pegs before handing that role over to Lochinvar Art. They remained ‘one-two’ from that point onwards with Lochinvar Art saluting the judge with a 6.4m margin to spare over a gritty Alta Orlando. There is an abundance of speed from all angles, but Alta Orlando is bound to be in the mix from the outset. The ‘x-factor’ is the Matthew Craven-trained KOWALSKI ANALYSIS (9) who gives the impression of being a ‘sleeping giant’. The classy 4yo has been competitive in everything he contests, commencing with a number of Cup events back home, en route to posting a solid 2.7m 3rd to Boots Electric in the 4YO Bonanza at Melton. His two runs at Headquarters have been superb, with Sofia Arvidsson doing a wonderful job in the sulky. The pair followed a brave 5.4m 2nd to Expensive Ego in the G2 Paleface Adios, with an equally determined effort when a 3.9m 3rd in the Chariots of Fire a week ago, again behind Expensive Ego. Less one of the reserves and the son of Roll With Joe will leave the machine from gate eight, and with a powerful opening to the race on the cards, Kowalski Analysis could be the one enjoying the ‘power play’ in coming with a late surge. There is little doubt he is deserving of a feature win. MAX DELIGHT (3) is ‘two from two’ since resuming from an 11 month break from racing. The winner of the NSW Derby two years ago, Max Delight has drawn ideally, ensuring that the David Aiken-trained 5yo receives a cosy run. The son of Bettors Delight is definitely worth looking at as a value investment. TURN IT UP (2) was disappointing in the G1 Newcastle Mile when a 6m 5th to The Black Prince after dictating the terms. The 6yo can give cheek from his ideal draw, but this will be a far more action-packed opening to the race, compared to his latest engagement. ‘Team McCarthy’ have MACH SHARD (1), CRUZ (5), BALRAJ (10) and STAR GALLERIA (11) joining Alta Orlando around at the start, and as always, the quartet will be primed for bold showing, with Mach Shard stepping out for his first assignment for the stable after a pleasing career in New Zealand.
WOLF STRIDE 1, Alta Orlando 2, Kowalski Analysis 3, Max Delight 4.
The G1 Schweppes Sprint is the final chance for runners to secure their spot in the Miracle Mile and the ‘fizz’ will certainly be there from the outset, courtesy of the reigning Miracle Mile champion, KING OF SWING (2), who is equal or even better, with the latter appearing to be the case, compared to this time last year. Take nothing away from Lochinvar Art, when it comes to the Hunter Cup, but King Of Swing was equally impressive in defeat. A brilliant drive by David Moran resulted in his champ finding the lead role, despite commencing he 2760m contest from the back row, and that paced the way for Lochinvar Art recording his sixth G1 victory. King Of Swing also started from the second row, but he was baulked in making a forward move, prior to again striding forward in finding the role outside of the leader. When the judge called a halt, King Of Swing recorded a 9.4m 3rd, however, his personal sectionals were outstanding and, he was certainly gallant in defeat. From gate two Luke McCarthy will take his champ to the front and from that point onwards, the remaining nine runners will be fighting out the final spot. That runner could be the Victorian WESTERN SONADOR (10), despite drawing deep in gate eight. The highly-talented 5yo son of Western Terror resumed from a spell with a win at Melton back in late November, with his subsequent six runs all resulting in placings, all in feature events back home, prior to his eye-catching effort in the G1 Newcastle Mile. Launching from a midfield role, Western Sonador made up many metres of the final stages in recording a solid 2.7m 2nd to The Black Prince. A kind run back in the pack could see Western Sonador again power his way to the line in snatching a spot in the Miracle Mile. OUT TO PLAY (6) has always shown outstanding ability and although his recent form may look patchy on paper, he has been involved in races won by Lochinvar Art. The latest was the Hunter Cup when the Clayton Tonkin-trained son of Art Major recorded a pleasing 12.2m fifth. The handy draw should see Out To Play taking cover and be exposed in the run home for a late shot at the leaders. BRIGHT ENERGY (9) worked when a game 3.8m 3rd to The Black Prince in the Newcastle Mile, and although this will be a harder test, the 6yo remains in the multiple mix. CASH N FLOW (12) was disappointing last time out, but he is far better than that run would suggest, so don’t leave him out of exotic investments. MAFUTA VAUTIN (7) is also in the exotic mix when it comes to forming multiple combinations.
KING OF SWING 1, Western Sonador 2, Out To Play 3, Bright Energy 4.
The G2 Pink Bonnet is by far the toughest race on the card, with the 2YO Fillies contesting their biggest challenge in their fledgling careers. Co-trainers Anthony Butt and Sonya Smith have been enjoying plenty of success in recent months, especially when the name of the horse ends in ‘stride’. That will again be the case here when they are represented by MARTINI STRIDE (4). After trialling well, the Somebeachsomewhere filly faced the starter for her first assignment over 1710m of the Ballarat track on February 18. Commencing nicely in taking the early lead, Martini Stride was then eased to take a sit by Brad Williamson, prior to racing greenly in recording a creditable 8m 4th to Valour Stride. Race experience, a higher level of fitness, the big track and having Anthony Butt back in the sulky are all positives, and that makes Martini Stride a worthwhile investment. SHES A CARRIBEAN (9) debuted with a handy 2.7m 4th to Pops Gee at Leeton before recording her first win at Junee with a convincing all-the-way win. The daughter of former Chariots of Fire winner, Caribbean Blaster, has drawn deep but her race experience should be a big plus. NELLY BIGTIME (7) debuted with a comfortable win at Penrith when she led throughout. The Nathan Dawson-trained has drawn wider in what should be a tougher test, but she remains in the mix. EYE CAN FLY (12) will need to from the outside gate, however, the Lucky Lodge filly did a good job when she gave plenty of cheek in the lead role, en route to posting a creditable 2nd to All Da Rage when on debut at Penrith recently. Also capable of running well are SILK CLOUD (2), SIANGDI (5) and FINERY (11).
MARTINI STRIDE 1, Shes A Caribbean 2, Nelly Bigtime 3, Eye Can Fly 4.
From the emerging young fillies to the established stars with an outstanding line up of mares facing the starter for the running of the G1 Ladyship Mile. Since arriving from New Zealand to be placed in the care of Jack Trainor, the Mark Jones-trained STYLISH MEMPHIS (9) has gone from ‘strength to strength’ and she now faces the starter for her ultimate assignment. Resuming with a gallant 2nd to Zeuss Bromac in the Hondo Grattan when left exposed outside of the leader, the 4yo daughter of Bettors Delight then powered home from a midfield role when too good for her rivals in the G2 Sibelia Stakes. Facing the starter for the G1 Chariots of Fire last week, Stylish Memphis posted an eye-catching effort, coming from a rearward role in recording an outstanding 4m 4th to Expensive Ego, with the mare cutting back the margin with each powerful stride. Less the two reserves and Stylish Memphis will face starter Todd Clarke from gate seven, and that should suit the former NSW Oaks winner. Versatile in her racing pattern, Stylish Memphis should be able to sit off the speed and allow the ‘power players’ to set a strong tempo which will see Trainor await until the home straight coming into play, prior to lifting the reins in anger. From that point onwards, Stylish Memphis has the ‘fire-power’ at her disposal to get the job done. While Stylish Memphis looks hard to beat, as always, her two main threats in MAAJIDA (5) and BETTOR ENFORCE (7) will take a power of beating. Prepared by Emma Stewart, MAAJIDA (5) has it all, speed, toughness and an abundance of ability, as her record of 18 wins and three placings from 24 starts would suggest. The 4yo daughter of Somebeachsomewhere displayed all those qualities a week ago when she led in proving too tough for Rocknroll Angel and Miss McGonagall in the G2 Robin Dundee. Kate Gath, who is driving in stellar form, will again look to cross to the pegs and dictate, ensuring that BETTOR ENFORCE will be required to work overtime to secure the title. BETTOR ENFORCE is always in for the fight and she will be out to make her presence felt from the outset. Usually the one doing the dictating, the Belinda McCarthy-trained 8yo contested the Robin Dundee was involved in the early ‘scrap’ for supremacy, only to abort that move in gaining the one-one. Grinding away gamely when the final 400m came into play, the mare recorded a brave 1.9m fourth. Her early battle with Maajida will again be intriguing. sitting just outside of the ‘big three’ is the Stephen Clarke-trained MISS MCGONAGALL (8) who can spring an upset. The Modern Art 5yo is rarely far from the action and at her first Menangle outing last week, the mare hit the line with intent from her midfield role, resulting in a solid 1.8m 3rd to her fellow Maajida. Connor Clarke will hope the headline runners turn on the power, which will assist Miss McGonagall and her strong finish. When it comes to the multiples, ROCKNROLL ANGEL (6) is worthy of consideration, along with NO WIN NO FEED (4).
STYLISH MEMPHIS 1, Maajida 2, Bettor Enforce 3, Miss McGonagall 4.
Local mentor David Thorn couldn’t hide the joy after his star filly ANNTONIA (1) qualified for the G1 John Gibson Memorial NSW Oaks with an outstanding display in her heat, despite crossing the line in second spot. Stepping out for just her second engagement since a spell, which came on the back of an exciting 2yo career, Anntonia, who had previously resumed with an emphatic victory at Penrith, clearly showed she was back, bigger and better than ever. Left facing the breeze when posted outside of the Emma Stewart-trained Beach Music, Anntonia loomed up strongly at the 200m, and maybe for a stride or two, poked her nose ahead of the classy Victorian, only to see David Moran his filly in regaining the lead and the major share of the prizemoney. With a 26.4 final quarter, both fillies did a marvellous job, but reverse the roles and the result is also reversed. Anntonia will take a great deal out of that encounter and with an ideal draw next to her name, plus a higher level of fitness, little wonder that Jack Trainor was confident that the filly was on target for NSW Oaks stardom. TOUGH TILLY (10) was also brilliant in winning her heat, and although the Captaintreacherous filly has drawn deep, no matter where she starts from, this pocket-dynamo will cause her rivals plenty of heartache. Like her name suggests, Tough Tilly was too classy, too tough and too determined in keeping Chrissy Chic and Rogue Wave at bay last week. Kate Gath will be keen to occupy a forward role from the outset, and like she has done so often in her 13 starts, which has resulted in six wins and six placings, Tough Tilly will look to out-muscle her rivals. JOANNA (9), like Tough Tilly, is under the care of Emma Stewart and while she doesn’t have the same profile as her stablemate, the Somebeachsomewhere filly is rarely far away at the serious end of proceedings. Qualifying with a gritty all-the-way win, Joanna has drawn deeper this time around, but it is hard to ignore her as a threat. BEACH MUSIC (7) adds to the Stewart fire-power, along with ROGUE WAVE (11) and PLATINUM SPARKLE (12), the latter responsible for a brave 2nd to Joanna last week. CHRISSY CHIC (2) answered the call last week when she stepped up in grade, resulting in a gallant 2nd to Tough Tilly. Drawing ideally in two the Major Art filly is likely to receive a handy peg role, courtesy of Cameron Hart, so don’t rule her out as a value exotic player.
ANNTONIA 1, Tough Tilly 2, Bettor Enforce 3, Joanna 4.
Now to the ‘boys’ with three heats of the NSW Derby to wrap up proceedings. Already with the champ Lochinvar Art in his care, star Victorian trainer-driver David Moran has another rising star on the books in the shape of PATSBEACHSTORM (1). The winner of four of his six starts, Patsbeachstorm was surprisingly beaten into 2nd spot behind Bondo Lockdown in the Caduceus 3YO Classic at Melton on January 30, prior to heading north for his tilt at ‘blue ribbon’ success. Stepping out over the 2550m of the Newcastle track last week, the exciting son of Somebeachsomewhere sat back in the field before unleashing a devastating turn of speed, which paved the way for an effortless 20.7m win over Western Hilo and Sir Richard Lee. As the $1.15 favourite, Patsbeachstorm was expected to win in such a manner, but it was still an impressive display in readiness for this event. Ideally drawn in gate one and the gate speed to take full advantage of the situation, Patsbeachstorm will also enjoy the 2400m and the spacious circuit. While Patsbeachstorm looks the one to beat, his fellow Victorian, ACT NOW (6) will ensure an enthralling contest. Another from the stables of leading mentor Emma Stewart, the outstanding colt has won seven from 12 while collecting three placings along the way. Act Now is coming off a stylish all-the-way win over another quality type in Idyllic, who take a power of rolling when it comes to the second hear. From gate six the Somebeachsomewhere colt will again be in for the fight from the outset. WATTS UP SUNSHINE (5) is one of the top fancies when it comes to the locals, with Rickie Alchin preparing the son of Sunshine Beach. Back from a creditable Victorian campaign last November, Watts Up Sunshine contested the G2 Simpson Memorial when resuming and, after attempting to lead throughout, recorded a useful 10.8m 4th to He Aint Fakin. With that run under his belt, Watts Up Sunshine was untroubled in greeting the judge with a margin of 24m to his nearest rival. Handily drawn, Cameron Hart will be looking to use Watts Up Sunshine’s gate speed in finding a suitable role close to the action. When forming exotic investments OCTOBER REIGN (7) should be included in the mix after breaking his maiden status with a big win at Hamilton back in mid-December. Two solid Menangle trial wins has the Matthew Craven-trained, Sportswriter colt ready to give a good account. JUSTA LITTLE BIT (2) and STYLISH JOE (3) appeal as value exotic players.
PATSBEACHSTORM 1, Act Now 2, Watts Up Sunshine 3, October Reign 4.
Another Victorian looks poised to take heat two of the NSW Derby with the Clayton Tonkin-trained IDYLLIC (3) the one to beat after drawing ideally in three. After a hat-trick of wins, Idyllic has had to settle for being runner-up in each of his past two engagements, the first when beaten 6m by Kimble in the 2YO Vicbred C&G’s Final at Melton, prior to working home stoutly when beaten by the classy, Act Now a couple of weeks ago. Luke McCarthy will take the reins and from his perfect draw, Idyllic looks the one to run down. HE AINT FAKIN (7) returned to racing with a big win in the G2 Simpson Memorial, then was never a factor when a 23.5m 5th to Tasty Delight over the 2300m. The comfortable tempo didn’t suit the talented son of Art Major, who raced in a rearward, despite the fact the race contained just six runners. Expect a far stronger showing from the Bathurst visitor over the longer trip, with the tempo expected to be far more favourable. LYRICAL GENIUS (8) has drawn the outside gate in the field on eight, with the sparingly-raced Amanda Turnbull trained and driven 3yo a worthy inclusion in exotic investments. Following a hat-trick of wins on the country circuit, Lyrical Genius stepped up sharply in grade when a 10.6m 3rd to He Aint Fakin in the Simpson Memorial. His latest effort resulted in a 7.8m 4th to Tasty Delight, and although a harder task awaits, Lyrical Genius is on the improve with race experience. ELECTRIC EYE (2) has won his past two at Shepparton and Cobram so keep the David Aiken-trained colt in the multiple mix, along with the polemarker, CAPTAIN CRUSADER (1).
IDYLLIC 1, He Aint Fakin 2, Lyrical Genius 3, Captain Crusader 4.
While the Vic’s look strong in the opening two heats, the Bathurst Gold Crown winner in TASTY DELIGHT (3) will be out to make a statement. Stepping out for his first assignment as a 3yo, Tasty Delight was left facing the breeze when a game 4.8m 2nd to He Aint Fakin in the Simpson Memorial. Known to race keenly at times, trainer-driver Brian Portelli was anxious to see his star youngster relax over the longer trip, and that was the case when he stepped out over the 2300m a couple of weeks ago. Dictating and relaxing nicely from the outset, Tasty Delight proved too good for Justa Little Bit and Wow Hes A Rock, the race topping him off nicely for his shot at NSW Derby glory. JACKS HAWK (5) will continue the southern assault, and also give Emma Stewart another definite winning chance on the program. The Art Major colt didn’t enjoy the best of luck when a 23.5m 9th to Idyllic in a semi-final of the Vicbred 2YO C&G’s, prior to dictating the terms when successful at Bendigo on December 29. Handily drawn in five, expect to Jacks Hawk swooping on a favourable, forward role. KIMBLE (2) is an improving type from the Matthew Craven stable. Ten starts into his career the son of Western Terror greeted the judge as a $1.04 chance, prior to making it back-to-back wins when he won the Vicbred 2YO C&G’s title at Melton, as a $99.00 chance. On that occasion he finished strongly in defeating Idyllic and Major Moth. Kimble has a couple of sound Menangle trials under his belt so from gate two don’t dismiss him as a potential threat. KASHED UP (1) resumes from an ideal gate and with the benefit of a sound trial win at Bathurst, the Gemma Hewitt-trained son of For A Reason appeals as a value exotic player. MY BUZZ LIGHTNING (4) and WESTERN SHILO (7) also have claims in that department.
TASTY DELIGHT 1, Jacks Hawk 2, Kimble 3, Kashed Up 4.
– MICK KO’CASS