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    Easy money? Here’s your eight winners for Menangle’s biggest meeting of the year Easy money? Here’s your eight winners for Menangle’s biggest meeting of the year

    THE ONE TO BEAT: Kate Gath with Catch A Wave.

    RACE ONE: The JC Caffyn Plate has attracted one of the strongest fields the race has staged and as a result, one of the... Easy money? Here’s your eight winners for Menangle’s biggest meeting of the year

    RACE ONE:

    The JC Caffyn Plate has attracted one of the strongest fields the race has staged and as a result, one of the more open contests. THEE OLD BOMB (5) went more like a Ferrari when he debuted for the Jason Grimson stable a week ago. The 5yo son of Sweet Lou had been competing on the Wagga circuit with a degree of consistency, prior to heading to his new Menangle base following a 12.4m 6th behind Tashs Spartan. Eighteen days later and Thee Old Bomb exploded to the lead from gate 10, then continued to git top gear in scoring by 23.8m over Watch Me React and The Mountain in a time of 1:50.9, with a 26.8 third sectional thrown in for good measure. Cam Hart was in the sulky last time around, but Dwayne Brown will be in the sulky this time and he will have the opportunity to add his name to the JC Caffyn Honour Roll. Also, Thee Old Bomb is now under the care of Ash Hart, who also has the chance to secure an important career win as a trainer. TEAGAN BANNER (2) draws ideally in two and that is a big plus for the Jarrod Alchin-conditioned son of Art Major. Drawing deep last week, Teagan Banner went off-stride in the score-up and lost valuable ground, which resulted in the gelding settling in a rearward role. In all likelihood, Teagan Banner would have been in a similar role anyway, with a six peg role being on offer as the field headed towards the final turn. With the former Victorian,  Hi Manameisjeff carving out sizzling sectionals, the first in 26.6, Teagan Banner and the balance of the field were never in the hunt, with the 8yo posting a 31.3m seventh. In greeting the judge, Hi Manameisjeff recorded a time of 1:48.9. Teagan Banner won’t be required to go that fast this time around. Jack Wade will have the chance to position Teagan Banner is a far more forward role and that will assist in producing a competitive outcome. Jeff Brown will partner the Joe Conolly-prepared ROCKET BOY (7), which will launch his claim from the middle of the line. Runner-up in each of his past two starts at Headquarters, firstly behind Star Major when always prominent, the latter when he drew 10 in coming from four back in the running line in recording a 1.5m effort behind Zambia. That form is good enough to be in the mix when the judge calls a halt. Talented mare HEAVENLY HOLLY (3) has drawn well and will have Lleyton Green in the sulky and that is a big plus as the youngster is driving in fine fashion. The Michael Formosa-prepared 5yo hit the line strongly when a 1.3m 2nd to Im Presi Belle before again coming from a four peg role in posting a 6m 3rd to Stellar Arden and Little Bliss a week ago. When forming multiple transactions MAN FROM BRAAVOS (1) has done enough of late to warrant attention, due to the good draw, KADAR (11) and CRUSADER (10) also have claims, despite drawing wide, with HEZASHADOWPLAYA (8) also in the mix, such is the depth.

    THEE OLD BOMB 1, Teagan Banner 2, Rocket Boy 3, Heavenly Holly 4.

    RACE TWO:

    The 2YO Fillies will step out for the G2 Cobbitty Equine NSW Breeders Challenge Blue Final, the first of four such races for various ages and sex. With the benefit of race experience at Menangle, the Darren Weeks-trained SOAP OPERA (5) will make for compulsive viewing this time around. The promising Queensland daughter of Warrawee Needy is yet to miss a place in seven appearances, with two wins next to her name. Contesting a heat of this series at Headquarters a couple of weeks ago, Kylie Rasmussen dictated the terms when the filly was run down late by Aromet Girl. With an inclination to drift about down the long and testing Menangle straight, Soap Opera will benefit by that outing, and although this will be a harder challenge, it isn’t out of the reach of the visitor from the Sunshine State. The Bernie Hewitt-conditioned LADY KINGSCLAIR (7) opened her latest term of racing with a stylish all-the-way win when rated to perfection by Doug Hewitt, who has a glowing opinion of this filly. The daughter  of Modern Art comfortably accounted for Modern Sheen and Shes Got A Reason in making it three wins from four starts. Although impressive in leading last time, Doug is of the opinion Lady Kingsclair is best served when able to stalk the speed. A fitter STYLISH LAZARUS (4) has drawn handily with the Lazarus filly bound to improve on her solid 4.3m 3rd to Aromet Girl as the outing was her first since mid-April. Stylish Lazarus has always shown potential, but the time has arrived to step up to the plate. Trained and driven by Michael Hardy, SHES GOT A REASON (3) battled on stoutly when an 8.3m 3rd to Lady Kingsclair and with a good draw assisting her, the daughter of For A Reason should again be competitive. AROMET GIRL (12) will be required to overcome the outside gate to collect the trophy, however, while that is a hurdle, the daughter of Salta Christiano did win her heat in fine style. Prepared by Garry Harpley at Temora and to be driven by Cam Hart, and that is always a help, Aromet Girl will also strip fitter for two runs back from a spell. PAYROLL (8) has done enough to suggest claims when it comes to the exotics.

    SOAP OPERA 1, Lady Kingsclair 2, Stylish Lazarus 3, Shes Got a Reason 4.

    RACE THREE:

    This G2 Final is set aside for the 3YO Fillies and it is hard to go past TIN TIN JO (5) following an emphatic heat win. The daughter of Tintin in America dominated proceedings from start to finish in defeating Dougs Rules and Fe Fe On Fire, with the filly closing off her work in 27.3 and 27.4 sectionals. Formerly with Jason Grimson and now another important addition to the stables of Ash Hart, who will hand the reins over to brother Cam, Tin Tin Jo should prove hard to beat once again. The main threat will come from SHEZ THE REASON (12), despite the daughter of For a Reason drawing badly. A member of the in-form Brad Hewitt team, After taking out the Queensland Oaks consolation, then the Pink Diamond on returning to Menangle, Shez The Reason then led in scoring a comfortable heat win over Tintin Magic and Killara Dragon. Brad allowed the filly o zip home in 27.4 and appeared to have more in reserve. The winner of five of her nine starts, Shez The Reason will make her presence felt from the outset. The Final does appear to be a race in ‘two’, with TINTIN MAGIC (2) capable of a bold showing after the Nathan Turnbull trained and driven daughter of Tintin In America came up with gate two. The filly battled on stoutly when an 8.7m 2nd to Shez The Reason and with the prospect of a kind run near the pace, the Bathurst visitor should give a good account. KILLARA DRAGON (8) retuned from a spell, following back-to-back Newcastle wins in June, with a creditable 9.5m 3rd to Shez The Reason so include the Elizabeth Heath-trained daughter of Fear The Dragon in exotic investments. LIMBO LILLY (1) and FE FE ON FIRE (3) are value players, due to drawing well, when it comes to the multiples.

    TIN TIN JO 1, Shez The Reason 2,Tintin Magic 3, Killara Dragon 4.

    RACE FOUR:

    Now the boys will now go on display and the 2YO Colts & Geldings will be first-up. The Chris Judd-conditioned VITE MONET (2) has always shown above-average talent, although he did win on debut as a $51.00 chance. Contesting a heat of the APG Gold Bullion at his next start, the son of Warrawee Needy posted a pleasing 3.5m 2nd to Ravishing Sloy before finishing a 15.4m 8th to War Dan Buddy in the Final. Stepping out for his first assignment since that encounter in late April, Vite Monet had cruised to the lead at his first run back on August 15, only to jump a shadow and lose all chance when a 16.4m 6th to The Greek General. Contesting a heat of this series six days later and Vite Monet led, and this time here was little need for concern as the youngster accounted for Sir Knight and Kick The Switch, completing the task with a stylish 26.9m final 400m. Will Rixon, courtesy of drawing ideally in gate two, will look to again dictate on his way to greeting the judge. Looming as the main threat will be MISTERFOURTHOUSAND (3),which has also drawn well in here. Trained by Steve Turnbull and to be driven by son Mitch, the Bathurst-based son of Warrawee Needy has won his past two, the latter being his heat when he led in defeating Double Fear and Dangerous Threats. The early battle for supremacy will be interesting and may well decide the outcome. An early battle will certainly suit PARADISE POINT (7). The Jamie Cassar-prepared son of For A Reason hit the line strongly in defeating Lettuce Nipya and Our Goat in his heat. Following a promising start to his career on his home track of Newcastle, the colt had little luck when unplaced for the first time in his brief career. Contesting the 2YO NSW Bred Final at this venue on August 5, Paradise Point drew wide and drifted back to a five peg role as a result, en route to posting a 17.8m 6th to I Told You. Jack Callaghan, who had the reins last time out, will again be in the sulky. DOUBLE FEAR (1) has drawn ideally in gate one and that is a big plus for the Steph Morris-trained Fear The Dragon youngster. Resuming from a spell with a solid win at Menangle, Double Fear qualified for the Final with a 2.6m 2nd to Misterfourthousand. The prospect of a kind trip from the outset will certainly give David Morris the opportunity to have Double Fear ready to play a role in the outcome. The consistent EDWARD JAY (5), who is looking for his first win after 13 previous attempts, has exotic claims, along with THE GREEK GENERAL (6), which has been tough in winning his past. LETTUCE NIPYA (12) led and had every chance when a costly 4.4m 2nd to Paradise Point, and the outside gate hasn’t made this task any easier, however, the Brad Hewitt trained and driven son of Tintin In America has the talent to play an active role in the finish so don’t write him off due to the draw.

    VITE MONET 1, Misterfourthousand 2, Paradise Point 3, Double Fear 4.

    RACE FIVE:

    The 3YO Colts & Geldings Final can be summed up in four words, BETTER BE THE BEST. The star Bathurst colt has contested 17 races for a dozen wins and two placings, both as runner-up, and it will take a mighty performance from one of his talented rivals to ‘knock him off his home circuit, the aptly-named Better Be The Best drew gate one in his particular heat, and after dictating the terms, the colt was allowed to stretch his legs in the straight, which resulted in a 16.7m winning margin and a 26.7 final 400m. Despite the draw, Nathan and his star 3yo will be looking to ‘bully’ their way            to the front. The battle for minor prizemoney will be intriguing. The pole position will enhance the claims of the Trevor Munday-trained FRANCO FORZA (1). Since resuming from a spell the son of Live Or Die has been performing consistently, with three wins coming his way from eight appearances. The 3yo started an odds-on elect in his heat, which resulted in a gritty 2m 2nd to Bretts Red after Cam Hart attempted to dictate the terms from start to finish. Cam will again be looking to hold the peg running while awaiting for Better Be The Best to arrive on the scene. KASH TIN (3) did a big job, despite the margin of 16.7m, in running a game 2nd to Better Be The Best in his heat. Prepared by Bernie Hewitt and to be driven by son Doug, the Tintin In America gelding has always shown ability and another competitive showing is a distinct possibility after drawing handily in three. BRETTS RED (6) has won his past two in fine fashion and can be expected to be in the mix when it comes to exotic investments. JUST A DRAGON (5) has done enough to warrant attention as an exotic contender while KAITOA (10) and DONNIE MAC (12), who are both members of the Kristie O’Sullivan team, also have claims as value exotic contenders.

    BETTER BE THE BEST 1, Franco Forza 2, Kash Tin 3, Bretts Red 4.

    RACE SIX:

    The G1 Len Smith Mile is entitled to top billing on any another night, but on a card which features the $2m Eureka. The draw will see SPIRIT OF ST LOUIS (1) leave the machine from the prized pole position. The Belinda McCarthy-conditioned son of Sweet Lou bounced back strongly, following a disappointing effort in the Blacks A Fake at Albion Park on July 22, when he led throughout in taking out the Kevin Newman FFA a week ago, defeating Zeuss Bromac and Nerano in the process. A controlled front-running drive by Jack Callaghan resulted in the star 6yo completing his mission in a 26.9 final quarter. Boasting an outstanding record at this venue which consists of eight wins and seven placings seven as runner-up, the multi-award winning gelding had an off night when 10th to Swayzee in the Black A Fake, despite Jack presenting him with the one-one. With such a brilliant line-up facing the starter, the ‘power switch’ will be activated from the outset, so whether jack will pursue the lead or take cover, will be intriguing. The former will no doubt be his first option. The Jess Tubbs-trained BETTER ECLIPSE (5) will start from four, providing the second reserve, CASH N FLOW (4), which is one run away from 100 starts, remains benched. The classy 5yo son of Betterthancheddar resumed following solid New Zealand campaign back in April, which ended in a gallant 3.2m 3rd to Self Assured and Copy That over 2700m at Alexandria Park. Resuming with a narrow, but solid win at Melton on August 5, when a shade too good for Hurricane Harley and Yambukian, Better Eclipse came from a seven peg role in posting a respectable 8.2m 7th to Encipher in the Westburn Grant two weeks later. With his level of fitness now reaching an acceptable level, and the prospect of a keenly contested race from the outset, the cool, calm nature of Greg Sugars will come to the fore in allowing Better Eclipse to play the ‘waiting game’ before making his presence felt. HURRICANE HARLEY (10) has contested three races since a respectable 14.4m 4th behind Catch A Wave in the Miracle Mile back on March 4. Spelled after that G1 assignment, the Emma Stewart-trained 7yo resumed with a stylish all-the-way win at Melton on June 3 before again heading to the paddock. Resuming from a spell, with a second row draw next to his name, the son of Bettors Delight worked through the middle stages in racing outside the leader when a gallant head 2nd to Better Eclipse. In readiness for his trip to Menangle, Hurricane Harley again caught the eye when a fast-finishing half-head 3rd to Encipher and Rock N Roll Doo in the Westburn Grant at Melton on August 19. The Victorian has drawn deep but he could be the one to powering home over the final 200m. The Michael Stanley trained and driven ROCK N ROLL DOO (8) had a patchy period in late 2020 and early 2023, but the classy 5yo resumed from a spell at Melton recently with a superb effort, indicating that the son of Rock N Roll Heaven had again found his ‘mojo’. Hitting the line with intent over the final 100m, Rock N Roll Doo recorded a photo 2nd to Encipher. Fitter for that run and boasting an exciting degree of talent, Rock N Roll Doo is worthy of more than a passing thought. SOUTH COAST ARDEN (3) is racing in the ‘peak of his powers’ and must be regarded as a serious threat from his good draw while MACH DAN (2) has drawn ideally and will no doubt be in the mix from the outset in making his presence felt.

    SPIRIT OF ST LOUIS 1, Better Eclipse 2, Hurricane Harley 3, Rock N Roll Doo 4.

    RACE SEVEN:

    From the moment the Eureka concept went from being an idea to becoming a reality, LEAP TO FAME (13) has been earmarked as the winner, closely followed by CATCH A WAVE (12) and CAPTAIN RAVISHING (11). While Captain Ravishing has had a fallen behind the other pair, LEAP TO FAME and CATCH A WAVE have continued to dominant discussions. Both are ’super stars’ and by the time they hang up the ‘hoofs’, the word champion will apply to both the Queenslander and the Victorian. CATCH A WAVE knows what it takes to win a major at Menangle, the toughest track in the southern hemisphere to master, and the son of Captaintreacherous has done achieved that in the possible way, winning the G1 Chariots of Fire on his way to brilliantly taking out the G1 Miracle Mile, leaving Spirit Of St Louis and Honolua Bay to fill the placings. The 4yo has been astutely prepared by Andy Gath while Kate handles pressure situations with the minimum of fuss. From the deep draw, no doubt, Catch A Wave will attempt to make his presence felt from the outset, with Grant Dixon to keep them well within his sights after drawing one spot wider. Peaking in condition following two runs back, the latter resulting in a sensational display at Melton, Catch A Wave wrapped up his ‘date with destiny’ with a solid trial hit-out at Melton on Tuesday, with a third to Captain Bellasario and Outlaw Man. The last half was covered in 54.10, the final 400m in 26.21.

    Boasting five G1 trophies, Catch A Wave will again take a power of beating. It is hard to fault the career of LEAP TO FAME who has six G1 titles, which includes wins in the NSW, Queensland and Victorian Derbies. Apart from his success in the NSW Derby, the son of Bettors Delight also greeted the judge in the G1 NSWBC 3YO C&G’s Final. Menangle holds no fears, as far as, Leap To Fame is concerned. Leap To Face will face the starter as the most experienced runner, courtesy of 30 starts, 23 as number one, while six placings also appear on his stats sheet, five as runner-up. And that is a remarkable achievement by both Leap To Fame and his champion mentor. Outside of the two feature artists, As always, when it comes to major titles, the powerful Emma Stewart stable rises to the occasion and the Eureka will be no different as THE LOST STORM (4) and ENCIPHER (5) will do the Victorian’s proud. THE LOST STORM has won seven-straight, the past four since resuming from a spell in superb style. The son of Captaintreacherous gave nothing else a chance in winning the G1 Queensland Derby two starts ago, then overcame a bac row draw in posting a determined win at Melton. Suitably drawn, The Lost Storm will have the opportunity to secure a run which could see him play an active role in the finish. ENCIPHER is the only member of the fairer sex to take her place in the field, and while that may be daunting in itself, this tough, tenacious daughter of Captain Treacherous has never backed down from a challenge. Four G1 titles are included in her 16 wins from 26 starts, which also includes eight placings, so she knows how to get the job done. CAPTAIN HAMMERHEAD (1) converted the pole position into a decisive win in The Singo, hence, his inclusion in the Eureka. Trainer-driver David Moran will again be looking to produce a similar superb display in the sulky, and if that scenario plays out, then Captain Hammerhead who is the least experienced runner in the field, will give another god account. CAPTAIN RAVISHING (11) has been causing a concern or two his mentor Ahmed Taiba, however, a solid trial hit-out at Menangle on Tuesday has the classy Victorian back on track. If Captain Ravishing, who will be having his first outing since his 18.2m 7th to Catch A Wave in the Miracle Mile back in early March, brings his ‘A game’, then it adds another dimension to the race.

    CATCH A WAVE 1, Leap To Fame 2, The Lost Storm 3, Captain Hammerhead 4.

    RACE EIGHT:

    Following a valiant display in The Singo, in an attempt to secure the final spot in the $2m Eureka, NATURALLY GIFTED (1) is bound to take a power of beating, especially after drawing ideally in the pole position. The G2 Bottlemart Stockade is a consolation for horses that missed the headline event and, as a result, the race is boasting plenty of outstanding talent. Naturally Gifted has been runner-up in three of his past four starts, with is only failure coming in the G1 Queensland Derby when a 23m 6th to The Lost Storm. According to his mentor and driver Jack Trainor, the son of Sweet Lou wasn’t himself and the run was out of character. Returning home with a fast-finishing 2nd to Horn Player, Naturally Gifted was brave in defeat when beaten 2.6m by Captain Hammerhead in The Singo, with the classy 3yo working three wide in racing outside of the leader. Jack will be able to present Naturally Gifted with a kind run from the outset, with the option of dictating the terms or taking a sit over the 2400m. Either way, Naturally Gifted will be a factor. SURE THING CAPTAIN (2) has also drawn ideally in two and that will ensure that the Shannon Price-trained son of Captaintreacherous will be in the fight from the outset. Two starts back and the Queenslander led in defeating Dangerous and Montalbano in a heat of the Nutrien Equine 3yO C&G’s series, prior to contesting the Final at Bendigo on August 11, which resulted in a solid 5.3m 3rd to Eureka hopeful Captain Hammerhead and Dangerous. HEZA SON OF AGUN (10) strips fitter for two runs back, the latter a pleasing 6.2m 3rd to Captain Hammerhead and Naturally Gifted at this venue. The added fitness will help off-set the wide gate so respect the claims of the Matthew Craven trained and driven son of Art Major. TIMS A TROOPER (9) can never be left out of the equation and that again applies. The Grant Dixon trained and driven 4yo led and had every chance in The Singo, but faded to finish an 8.9m 5th to Captain Hammerhead. The wider draw is hurdle but may also give Grant the chance to drive the son of Tintin In America back in the pack, which will allow Tims A Trooper to come with a late surge. Exotic investors should also consider MAHOMES (11) as the 4yo showed a glimpse of his true ability when a creditable 20.6m 3rd to Hi Manameisjeff at Headquarters last week. CAPTAINS KNOCK (5) has plenty of natural talent and he will strip fitter for a comfortable win at Wagga recently. The 3yo is a member of the in-form Brad Hewitt team, and although this will be a tough assignment at this stage of his preparation, a bold showing wouldn’t surprise.

    NATURALLY GIFTED 1, Sure Thing Captain 2, Heza Son Of Agun 3, Tims A Trooper 4.

      – FORM ASSESSED BY MIKE KO’CASS

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