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    All the winners for Tabcorp Park Menangle Saturday night All the winners for Tabcorp Park Menangle Saturday night

    SOMETHING SPECIAL: Leap To Fame

    RACE ONE: Miracle Mile 2022 will kick off with a race overflowing with chances, and as a result, value should be on offer. With... All the winners for Tabcorp Park Menangle Saturday night

    RACE ONE:

    Miracle Mile 2022 will kick off with a race overflowing with chances, and as a result, value should be on offer. With three runs under his belt, following a three-month break, the Rickie Alchin-trained CAPTAIN CRUSADER (3) has the chance to salute the judge after the son of Captaintreacherous drew suitably in gate three. The 4yo has been contesting tougher assignments, commencing with his first-up ninth to Miracle Mile hopeful Bondi Lockdown in the 4YO Bonanza at Melton on Feb 5, Returning to home base, Captain Crusader then posted an improved 7.6m 6th to Rock N Roll Do, prior to recording a 17.2m 6th behind the brilliant mare Anntonia a couple of weeks ago. Now that his level of fitness is no longer a concern, Captain Crusader should be ready to make a bold bid for victory, and with the prospect of being in the thick of the action from the outset, that should be enough to see Will Rixon guiding him to the 13th win of his career. THE MUSTANG (11), despite coming up with the outside, must be rated highly as his recent form deserves plenty of attention. Runner-up in four of his past six starts, the latest when beaten 5m by Anntonia, the Bernie Hewitt-conditioned son of Changeover is coming off a pleasing 10m 6th to Cash N Flow a week ago when he worked home stoutly from a midfield role. Confronted by a far more suitable challenge after being involved in races won by the above-mentioned couple and the likes of Colt Thirty One, Fouroeight and Bundoran, a Miracle Mile contender, The Mustang will appreciate this assignment. I selected CRUNCH TIME (10) on Monday night when doing the form, and although he disgraced himself, for the second time in as many starts, with a poor score-up, I’ll stick, but only just. Also, under the care of Rickie Alchin, who will occupy the driver’s seat, Crunch Time has finished a distant last in both those outings, the latter in the race won by I Cast No Shadow on Tuesday. However, the 5yo is a lot better than that when he is focused, which was evident when a 10.5m 3rd to Anntonia, the run sandwiched in between his two displays of bad manners. If focused from the outset, then Crunch Time is capable of being pro-active in the finish, however, it is becoming ‘crunch time’ for the son of Somebeachsomewhere. SURFERS DELIGHT (7) hasn’t missed a top-three spot in 11 recent encounters and, as per usual, the 4yo is bound to make his presence felt. Robert Morris, who will take the reins from trainer Roy Roots Jnr, gave the son of Bettors Delight a high-rating for this engagement in an interview for National Trotguide on-line. CARLAS MACH (1), has drawn ideally in one and although up in grade, the Jack Trainor-prepared 5yo is poised to give a good account while Jack’s other runner, IYLAC BEACH (2) also has claims when assessing exotic investments. MARATHON MAN (4) and HANDS ON (8), which comes off the bench, also have claims in that regard.

     CAPTAIN CRUSADER 1, The Mustang 2, Crunch Time 3, Surfers Delight 4.

     RACE TWO:

    Although we haven’t seen the brilliant Kiwi KRUG (5) at his sensational best, the 4yo son of Bettors Delight deserves another chance. Expected to be one of the featured artists during the Miracle Mile carnival, the Cran Dalgety-trained entire announced his arrival with a 1:49.9 display in scoring back on Jan 22. However, from that point onwards, things have gone ‘pear-shaped’ for the Kiwi, with a distant last to Titian Raider in the Hondo Grattan, courtesy of an early break, prior to bouncing back with a solid 2nd to Rock N Roll Doo in the Paleface Adios when he led until the final stages. That effort resulted in a spot in the Chariots of Fire, his main assignment when he crossed the Tasman. From the role behind the leader, Krug kept grinding away, without threatening, when a 13m 5th to Better Eclipse. At this stage, with a reserve missing, Krug will occupy gate four, a suitable starting role, plus the extended trip of 2400m should also be a plus. Required to drive his own runner BE MAJOR THREAT (9), Jack Trainor has been replaced by Anthony Butt, who is no stranger to guiding Krug to victory. ALTA ORLANDO (8) is first-up from a spell, with the veteran son of Courage Under Fire last appearing in the Inter Dominion Grand Final on Dec 11, with a gallant 6.5m 3rd to Boncel Benjamin and Expensive Ego coming his way. The Belinda McCarthy-trained 10yo has trialled well in readiness for his return and he will again be a force to be reckoned with, as per usual. BE MAJOR THREAT (9) is a ‘value’ threat to the other pair, as both his runs for Jack Trainor have been more than pleasing. Hitting the line strongly in recording a 5.4m 5th to Majestic Prince, the run his first in a month following a 41.8m 7th to Lip Reader in the 3020ss Devonport Cup, Be Major Threat was always prominent in posting a 3.3m 3rd to Jay OK and Zeuss Bromac at Headquarters a couple of weeks ago. That form must be given more than just a passing thought. MALCOLMS RHYTHM (11) and LETSROCKLETSROLL (6), both prepared by David Aiken, should be linked to multiple investments, along with YOUAREMYSUNSHINE (4), which disappointed here last week, but is definitely a lot better than that run would suggest.

     KRUG 1, Alta Orlando 2, Be Major Threat 3, Malcolms Rhythm 4.

     RACE THREE:

    Interesting race for the mares, with at least three definite contenders, which includes the Corey Peterson trained and driven SMOOTH RYE (8), with her mentor having a big opinion of the TinTin In America 5yo. Since arriving from WA, Smooth Rye has done nothing but improve, and four runs inti this preparation the mare managed to post a stylish win over Shanlou and Soviet Stunner, both subsequent winners. Smooth Rye races best when able to sit off the tempo, so expect to see her driven in that manner, avoiding the early ‘hustle and bustle’ in preparation for a final 200m burst. SHANLOU (7) continues to be a consistent performer for Tony Bertwistle with the Sweet Lou mare heading into this challenge on the back of a comfortable all-the-way win at Newcastle on Monday. Handily drawn in the middle of the line, Shanlou will again look to dictate, a role Darren Binskin enjoys so expect Shanlou to give this a big shake. PEARL HARBOUR (9) has had four runs for Blake Fitzpatrick since coming from NZ, with a first-up Penrith win, followed by two respectable unplaced runs coming her way in races won by Be My Rose and The Honey Queen, respectively, with either one of those two winners, starting very short in this field. The 5yo daughter of Somebeachsomewhere then hit the line strongly in defeating Cherishthememories and Total Diva. When building exotic investments, a fitter CHERISHTHEMEMORIES (11), despite drawing badly out wide, is a worthy player while SPORTING ROBYN (6), KAYLA MAGUIRE (5) and TOTAL DIVA (12) also warrant attention in that regard.

     SMOOTH RYE 1, Shanlou 2, Pearl Harbour 3, Cherishthememories 4.

     RACE FOUR:

    When TOUGH MONARCH (1) steps onto the track for the running of the G1 Trotters Mile, the son of Monarchy will do so for the 100th time in what has been a brilliant career to date. And 34 of those assignments have been successful, 25 at this particular venue from 51 starts. Courtesy of drawing the pole position for the 1609m challenge, the son of Monarchy must be favoured to again reign over his rivals, which has been the case in each of his past two starts, the latter when he led in defeating Aleppo Murphy and Son Of Patrick a couple of weeks ago. Trainer Rickie Alchin, who drove Tough Monarch in the first of those two wins, prior to handing the reins over to Robert Morris, will again step aside in giving the drive to Morris. Star Kiwi TEMPORALE (11) looms as a definite threat, despite the 9yo, who is also a son of Monarchy, drawing out deep. Temporale has been campaigning in Victoria in recent months with his stats including a win in a heat of the Great Southern Star, followed by a respectable 11m 5th to Majestuoso in the Final. Temporale then finished 2nd to Majestuoso in the Knight Pistol before a gritty 7.5m 3rd in the Grand Prix a week ago, with Majestuoso again successful. Chris Alford takes over the driving duties. SON OF PATRICK (3) posted an encouraging 6m 3rd to Tough Monarch when first-up for Paul Fitzpatrick from NZ, then contested a far easier event here on Tuesday, only to record a costly half-head 2nd to On Advice. Suitably drawn the 4yo son of Father Patrick remains in contention when it comes to the multiples. Others to include when forming investments are CREDIT MASTER (6), ALEPPO MURPHY (12) and DOFF YOUR CAP (9), which was impressive when successful in a Tuesday event a couple of weeks ago when debuting for the Jarrod Alchin team.

     TOUGH MONARCH 1, Temporale 2, Son Of Patrick 3, Doff Your Cap 4.

     RACE FIVE:

    Champion Queensland trainer-driver Grant Dixon holds the key to the NSW Derby, courtesy of LEAP TO FAME (8) and TIMS A TROOPER (12) following their dominant heat wins. Dixon will again take the reins behind Leap To Fame while Robert Morris will look to continue his wonderful association with Tims A Trooper. Contesting just 13 races to date, Leap To Fame has recorded 10 wins while finishing runner-up twice. Little wonder Dixon has such a high opinion of the Bettors Delight colt. Spelled after back-to-back wins at Albion Park back in November, Leap To Fame resumed with a gritty win at AP on Feb 15, prior to heading south for a heat of the NSW Derby a week ago. Always prominent, Leap To Fame appeared under pressure soon after sighting the winning post, however, as the 360m run home unfolded, the 3yo kept finding another gear, eventually pulling clear for an impressive and stylish 12.2m defeat of My Ultimate Byron. Despite drawing wider in what will be a tougher test, Leap To Fame will again be prominent and with his fitness going to another level, the Queenslander is poised to take a power of running down. Robert Morris is certainly confident that TIMS A TROOPER (12) is more than capable of doing exactly that, despite the fact that the outside gate will see him ease the of Tintin In America out of the early charge for prominent roles. Like his stablemate, Tims A Trooper has had two runs back, both successful, the first when  he led for a big win at AP, prior to leading throughout for an easy heat win. Tims A Trooper has a 2YO G1 title to his credit and this venue, and on that occasion the gelding came from well-back in greeting the judge. Robbie is confident that Tims A Trooper is capable of an encore performance. MAJOR PERRY (2) will launch his claim from the pole and that is a big plus, compared to a wide gate when he kept grinding away in defeating Captain Ravishing and Solesseo Matuca in his heat. The former Kiwi is now under the care of Paul Fitzpatrick and he is bound to create further attention as the ‘wraps’ were big heading into the heats. MY ULTIMATE BYRON (3) has been runner-up in each of his three runs since a spell and a brilliant juvenile season. Ideally drawn, My Ultimate Byron is poised to receive a kind run and it will come as no surprise if he goes one better. The outstanding Victorian trio, SOLESSEO MATUCA (6), CAPTAIN RAVISHING (1) and HEZA SON OF AGUN (11) should be linked to exotic transactions.

     LEAP TO FAME 1, Tims A Trooper 2, Major Perry 3, My Ultimate Byron 4.

     RACE SIX:

    Champion mare STYLISH MEMPHIS (9), rightly or wrongly, will face the starter for the running of the G1 2400m Ainsworth FFA, instead of taking her place in the Miracle Mile, a decision which has certainly been received with a vast array of opinions. The Jack Trainor prepared and driven mare is undefeated in four runs since crossing the Tasman, culminating with her gallant effort in winning the Queen Elizabeth II last week, aka, the G1 Ladyship Mile, which she achieved last year in securing a Miracle Mile role. The wide draw won’t be a negative as the daughter of Bettors Delight will be allowed to settle in a rearward role, allowing her to be saved for the testing, final 360m of the 2400m challenge. There is no doubt that Trainor will be keen to prove that his brilliant mare deserved to be going around in the next race on the card. With the benefit of three runs back from a year-off, MACH SHARD (3) is ready to play a pro-active role in the finish. Resuming with a safely held last to Majestic Cruiser, the 7yo did a fine job in finishing a 4.4m 6th to Jay OK, prior to hitting the line strongly in the G1 Allied Express, which resulted in a 4.5m 4th to his illustrious stablemate, King Of Swing. Apart from the higher level of fitness, Mach Shard will enjoy gate three, plus the longer trip. BALRAJ (2) will also occupy a far more favourable draw after starting the Allied Express from gate nine. After being involved in an explosive 24.9 opening quarter, which resulted in him taking a sit, Balraj had little in reserve in posting a tiring 15.2m 8th to the ‘King’. Following a pleasing 19.5m 7th to Boncel Benjamin in the ID Final, the Art Major 6yo had a couple of months before resuming with a solid neck 2nd to Mach Dan in the Newcastle Mile. Fitter, Balraj is capable of bouncing back strongly so don’t ignore him as a threat. LIKE A WILDFIRE (5) is coming off another solid effort in posting a 9.2m 3rd to Spirit Of St Louis in the Schweppes Sprint. The Emma Stewart-trained 7yo is racing in fine style and another competitive showing is on the cards from his good draw. Both ZEUSS BROMAC (8) and JAY OK (11) are racing with plenty of confidence so include the pair in exotic combinations, along with TRIPLE EIGHT (10), which has been a shade below his best in recent starts.

     STYLISH MEMPHIS 1, Mach Shard 2, Balraj 3, Like A Wildfire 4.

     RACE SEVEN:

    Will the history books feature KING OF SWING (1) as the first horse to win the Miracle Mile on three occasions, and a hat-trick of trophies in the process ? I’m tipping history will be made. Regardless, of his draw, King Of Swing would ahead around to the start of the great race as the horse to beat. Gate one just strengthens his grip on the trophy. Although Luke McCarthy in an interview for National Trotguide, did say gate four would be to his liking. The ‘King’ dictated the terms in the 2760m Hunter Cup, leading throughout in comfortably defeating Spirit Of St Louis and Amazing Dream. The 7yo did so from gate one, but there will be more pressure applied this time around. Which was the case a week ago in the Allied Express Sprint when King Of Swing, Balraj and Boncel Benjamin were involved in an explosive 24.9 opening quarter. Electing to abort the speed battle, Luke had King Of Swing easing back, allowing Boncel Benjamin to secure the lead role from Balraj. When the dust settled to some extent, King Of Swing made his presence felt, joining Boncel Benjamin in a show of force. As the field headed towards the 400m marker and the home turn, King Of Swing was still flexing his muscles while those around where starting to wilt under the sustained pressure. Despite being vulnerable over the final gruelling 200m, King Of Swing displayed all of his championship qualities in reigning supreme. Luke will go in search of the lead role and such a role will lay the foundations for another trip to the presentation arena. Stablemate SPIRIT OF ST LOUIS (2), along with his star young reinsman Jack Callaghan, has come a long way since contesting the Inter Dominion series, which has turned out to be the making of the Sweet Lou 5yo. In recent months the ‘dynamic duo’ have won the Bendigo, Shepparton and Ballarat Cups, while finishing a brave 2nd to King Of Swing in the Hunter Cup. From the one-one, Spirit Of St Louis was lethal in taking out the Schweppes Sprint in a time of 1:48.2. Gate two awaits and Jack will be keen to find the back of the ‘champ’ and that will allow him to save Spirit Of St Louis for a big effort over the final 200m. There will be plenty of pressure from the outset, courtesy of BONDI LOCKDOWN (9) in particular, so in looking for a value player to boost the exotic dividend, MAJESTIC CRUISER (3) appeals as that runner after drawing three. Cam Hart, who is cool, calm and collected young man, has the composure to handle such a situation. The prospect of receiving a stalking role will allow Majestic Cruiser with the opportunity to go in search of a role in the multiples. EXPENSIVE EGO (6) has been below his best in both the Newcastle Mile and the Schweppes Sprint, unplaced in both the latter when a 9.2m 4th to Spirit Of St Louis. Runner-up last year, Expensive Ego was being ‘hailed’ as next in line for Miracle Mile glory. That may still apply, but he will need to produce a similar effort, if not more, to go one better this year. BONDI LOCKDOWN (9), despite the draw and his tender years, will be in for the for the fight. Tough, tenacious and with a great will to win, the son of Somebeachsomewhere won five-on-end before his gallant 2nd to Better Eclipse in the Chariots of Fire. Trainer-driver Aaron Dunn isn’t one to sit back and wonder later, ‘what if’, so expect to see him leaving the mobile with plenty of intent. BUNDORAN (4) has come a long way over the past 12 months and is worthy of exotic attention while Chariots of Fire winner BETTER ECLIPSE (10) has little option but to ease out of the early charge and play the ‘waiting game’, and nobody does that better than Greg Sugars. A big price exotic contender as the Jess Tubbs-trained son of Betterthancheddar will be sneaking home, probably courtesy of the markers.

     KING OF SWING 1, Spirit Of St Louis 2, Majestic Cruiser 3, Expensive Ego 4.

     RACE EIGHT:

    From the established stars to the future, with the running of the G2 Sapling Stakes. The Rickie Alchin trained and driven TARDELLI (11) will face the starter unbeaten following two stylish displays, and although the Huntsville colt has drawn deep, he remains the one to beat. Tardelli opened his career with an easy win at Menangle when he ‘stalked’ the leader in proving far too good, then at Goulburn the youngster overcome a scare or two in easily greeting the judge. Showing versatility to date, Tardelli appears to have every base covered. SHANTILLY (12) has the outside gate but the Brian Portelli trained and driven juvenile has also been impressive in winning both starts, leading throughout each time, the first when successful at Menangle, the latter defeating Threebushelsofoats and Haveyoucheckedin at Newcastle. Portelli doesn’t like wasting any time and Shantilly will be in the thick of the action from the outset. NATURALLY GIFTED (2) showed plenty of improvement when successful at Penrith and with gate two a big plus, the Sweet Lou youngster is poised to give this a big shake. MICK DANGER (1) debuted with a pleasing win at Bathurst and from the pole trainer-driver Brad Hewitt will give the Captaintreacherous youngster every chance to record a productive display. SARGEANT (5), OUR SUNSET DELIGHT (6) and SATELLITE SIMBA (7) should be linked to exotic transactions.

     TARDELLI 1, Shantilly 2, Naturally Gifted 3, Mick Danger 4.

     RACE NINE:

    Open race to end proceedings with the David Hewitt-trained IM BRUCE ALMIGHTY (6) worthy of attention after two fine efforts to open his latest term of racing. Stepping out for his second assignment, Im Bruce Almighty was able to dictate the terms in scoring at Wagga a week ago, defeating two of his rivals in this particular field, Barrett and Im Feeling Firey. The son of Pet Rock did draw one on that occasion, and although a wider gate awaits, the 6yo will again prove hard to beat. GIVE ME A MINUTE (4) has won his past two starts at Newcastle and with the prospect of being in the thick of the action from the outset, the son of Raging Bull will have every chance to complete the hat-trick. JOHNSON STEP (3) continues to race with a high level of consistency and gate three will ensure another bold display while EAGLE COMMANDER (5) completed a hat-trick of wins with a strong showing at Bathurst so don’t ignore his claims. MISTERHINDMARSH (8) is in fine form and has at least exotic claims while BARRETT (10) and ANGEL SHARK (11) also fall into that category.

     IM BRUCE ALMIGHTY 1, Give Me A Minute 2, Johnson Step 3, Eagle Commander 4.

      -MICK KO’CASS

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