September 16, 2021 Michael Court
With the benefit of two trials, the latter resulting in a solid 4.5m win over the outstanding Anntonia, with Tasty Delight in fourth spot, ALPINE STRIDE (1) is worthy of attention, especially after drawing gate one. Back in the care of Darren Binskin, following a stint with Anthony Butt and Sonya Smith, the talented son of Rocknroll Hanover has been off the scene since posting an 18.6m 5th behind the classy Mach Dan at Melton back on March 13. The prospect of receiving a kind peg run will go a long way towards Alpine Stride contesting this event as a threat and in the process continuing the good work of runners from the Binskin barn in recent months. Looming as the one to beat is MAJOR BOB (8), which will be looking to make amends for a last-start defeat as the popular pick a week ago. Turn the clock back a few decades and David Aiken, who prepares Major Bob, and DJ were two of Harold Park’s major players, in particular ‘Aikey’ with the pair clashing on numerous occasions from their Bankstown Headquarters. Major Bob scored first-up for Aiken two weeks ago, then drew wide and competed from a rearward role when a fast-finishing 6.6m 3rd to Golden Year and Ziggy Rocks. Ash Hart will again take the reins and the talented sister of Cam will have the son of Art Major in a threatening role on the home turn. UROC SKINNY JEANS (7) did a fine job in recording a 2.5m 2nd behind the classy Rocknroll Angel last week, with the Mach Three mare closing with intent over the final stages. Expect another bold showing from the 4yo, despite drawing wider for this challenge. Back from a month’s holiday, courtesy of the Steward’s, Jack Trainor has two strong dangers in MIGHTY FLYING ART (5) and NEVER BEEN SAID (6), with Jack yet to decide on his steer. Both are racing consistently, but with the slightly better draw Mighty Flying Art looks the main threat following a solid 5.4m 3rd to Major Bob two weeks ago. When it comes to exotic investments, the Peter Russo pair, ALWAYS ROCKIN (2) and JIMMY LOCKE (11) can’t be overlooked.
ALPINE STRIDE 1, Major Bob 2, Uroc Skinny Jeans, Mighty Flying Art 4.
Now three runs into his career on this side of the Tasman and for the powerful Belinda McCarthy team, MIGHTY LOOEE (8) continues to grow in confidence, which was evident following his win here last week. With each appearance the son of Sweet Lou has improved, with the 4yo coming with a well-timed run in defeating Ardens Ace and Metal Rock. On that occasion Mighty Looee drew the outside gate, resulting in Luke McCarthy allowing him to – find his legs – before using the wide-open spaces of the Menangle track to perfection. Mighty Looee has drawn a few spots closer to the pegs, however, ‘Cool Hand Luke’ is likely to again keep Mighty Looee fresh for a late, and successful surge at the major share of the prizemoney. With the benefit of gate one, SOHO TSUNAMI (1) is capable of giving plenty of cheek, which was the case the case three starts back when he led in defeating Bronski Belle and Mighty Looee. Unplaced in two subsequent, trainer Jack Trainor jumps back in the sulky after the 4yo posted a creditable 9.2m 4th to Ardens Ace a couple of weeks ago, with a wide draw being a factor on that occasion. BOMB SUIT (3), which is a stablemate of Mighty Looee’s, is also more than capable of being pro-active in the finish, so monitor the decision by Luke on which of the runners he choices to drive. Bomb Suit was resuming from a lengthy spell when he recorded a gritty 3.9m 4th to Rocket Boy on Aug 31, following a tough trip outside of the leader and eventual winner. Fitter and with a good draw assisting his claims, Bomb Suit is ready to explode into action as he looks to greet the judge for the first time in 10 months. Consistent, but also frustrating in that his win ratio could be better, FAR OUT BRO (4) also has the ability to be a serious threat, especially from his good draw. Hitting peak condition following three runs back, all more than useful efforts, Far Out Bro should be in the thick of the action from the outset. Another Belinda McCarthy runner in THE CROUPIER (5), which re-joins the stable after a creditable stint of racing in Qld, stays in the mix as an exotic player, along with SWAGGIE SHANNON (7) and the ‘Team McDowell’ runners in MAJOR OBAHMA (6) and COURT ON THE EDGE (10).
MIGHTY LOOEE 1, Soho Tsunami 2, Bomb Suit 3, Far Out Bro 4.
Another Belinda McCarthy runner in ILIKEMEBETTOR (10) appeals as a suitable investment, but once again, Luke has the choice of drives between the daughter of Bettors Delight and RANGER BOMB (1), which has by far the better draw. Ilikemebettor has drawn deep but the 4yo has a versatile racing pattern and whether he is restrained and kept for one run or allowed to use his gate speed and go in search of a forward position, a competitive showing should be forthcoming. Ilikemebettor has been ‘freshened’ since posting a 7.6m 4th to Uncle Shank, which again scored at AP on Tuesday in fine fashion, at AP back on July 24. A consistent type, Ilikemebettor will again make his presence felt. Jarrod Alchin has an impressive book of exciting talent at his disposal these days and he will again be looking to add to his growing list of wins when MY ULTIMATE STAR (6) steps out for his first assignment since scoring at AP back in mid-July, defeating Make Mine Heaven and The Croupier. With the benefit of a sound Penrith trial outing, the 4yo will be looking to break his ‘home track’ hoodoo, as the gelding is yet to finish in the placings from six previous attempts. ARDENS ACE (8) on the other hand has been a model of consistency since joining the Binskin yard. The Art Major 3yo followed a solid win over Cloud Nine and Major Obahma with a gritty 5.3m 2nd to Mighty Looee recently. A strong performance by Mighty Looee in the second will only highlight the prospect of another strong showing from Ardens Ace. METAL ROCK (2) is proving to be costly of late but from gate two the 5yo stays in the mix, especially when it comes to multiple transactions. RANGER BOMB (1) has been placed in four of his six runs since a break and with the benefit of the pole position, his best starting role for some time, the 4yo son of Sportswriter is capable of being a threat, especially if Luke elects to take the reins. When exotic investments are being considered, in a tough and open race, the likes of MASTER CATCH (4), SCHOUTEN ISLAND (5) and MADAZALWAYS (11) are capable of assisting in that regard.
ILIKEMEBETTOR 1, Ranger Bomb 2, Ardens Ace 3, Metal Rock 4.
Jack Trainor has added the talented mare B K SWY (9) to his books, and although confronted by a tough draw, the daughter of Big Jim is worthy of more than a passing thought as she looks to complete a hat-trick of wins. B K Swy has justified her short quote in scoring with ease at Wagga, then at Leeton when she overcame a back row draw and a tough, three wide trip home in defeating Roscommon Rose and Haveachew. This will be a far tougher test, but the mare is bound to go to that next level under Trainor’s care, and in a race of many chances, she is certainly in the mix. FAIRY TINKABELL (11) returns to home base following a successful stint of racing in Qld for the Belinda McCarthy satellite stable. The 5yo Big Jim mare is coming off a determined 3,4m 3rd behind Wahs Fire Bug and Make Mine Heaven, two well-performed mares. The outside gate is a concern but she definitely is good enough to overcome that hurdle, en route to greeting the judge. DIVINE DIVA (5) has been consistent of late with the mare recording a respectable metre 3rd to Cherishthememories a week ago. Handily drawn, the David Aiken-trained and Ash Hart driven daughter of Mach Three is likely to receive a suitable run so don’t ignore her winning prospects. QUEENOFDANCE (3) went around at ‘cricket score odds’ a week ago and wasn’t disgraced in posting a 10.4m 3rd to Rocknroll Angel. Back to a suitable assignment, Queenofdance is capable of a cheeky display from her good draw. MARIKA SPRINGFIELD (2), HEAVENLY BELLE (1) and ZANADU (6) remain in the mix when it comes to sorting out exotic transactions.
B K SWY 1, Fairy Tinkabell 2, Divine Diva 3, Queenofdance 4.
This is the most intriguing race on the card with three exciting trotters set to ‘strut their stuff’. Heading the list is the KerryAnn Morris-trained rising star, FUNKY MONKEY (10), which boasts a run of seven-straight wins, the past six since crossing the Tasman and linking up with Lucky Lodge. Rapidly becoming a fan favourite, Funky Monkey resumed from a spell two weeks ago when she powered past Drop The Hammer in recording a stylish win, with the consistent Monaro Mia back in third spot. On that occasion the daughter of Monkey Bones drew gate two, which allowed Robert Morris two present the 4yo with an ideal run behind Drop The Hammer. This time around the outside gate awaits Funky Monkey, but a higher level of fitness will help off-set that hurdle. Funky Monkey has led in most of her encounters at Menangle, and although this will be an an interesting challenge, Robbie won’t waste any time in making his presence felt. DROP THE HAMMER (7) had every chance in his latest clash with Funky Monkey as trainer-driver Darren Hancock rated the 6yo to perfection after taking the role of pacemaker away from the winner. Rarely out of the placings when he goes around on his favourite circuit, Drop The Hammer will again take a power of beating. Now the ‘x-factor’ comes into play, courtesy of the Belinda McCarthy-trained, former American-based mare ALDEBARAN REVANI (9). Following a pleasing debut second for the stable on June 29, the 4yo daughter of Donato Hanover has gone from ‘strength-to-strength’ in enhancing her reputation with a quartet of exciting wins, the latest when she accounted for Indefensible and Agent Maori on Aug 31. Each time the mare faces the starter, she greets the judge in a quicker time than previously and while this will be her toughest test to date, there is no telling just how good she is, or could be. Jack Callaghan maintains the drive behind Aldebaran Revani, despite the Luke being back in action, which is a big show of confidence by the stable in this rising star. MONARO MIA (2), as per usual, will run another honest race after drawing ideally in two while a better showing from ONE MAJIC KENNY (6), which debuted for the Blake Fitzpatrick stable with a grinding 24.6m 5th to Indefensible a week ago. The former Kiwi found the 20m hcp a ‘bridge too far’ in grinding out a useful effort at his first encounter since June 6. Keep One Majic Kenny in the mix when it comes to the exotics while SOBOMBA (1), CONON BRIDGE (4) and EMPIRE BAY (8), all from the Team Rando barn, also have claims when it comes to multiple combinations.
FUNKY MONKEY 1, Drop The Hammer 2, Aldebaran Revani 3, One Majic Kenny 4.
Fresh from a successful Queensland campaign and a five-week break from racing, ALTA ORLANDO (10) should prove too classy for his rivals, despite drawing deep. Contesting the past two Miracle Mile’s, the former resulting in a 3rd to King Of Swing, the latter a creditable 8.6m 5th, once again behind his stablemate, Alta Orlando has remained a tough competitor for the Belinda McCarthy stable. After a 16m 8th to Copy That in the Garrards Sunshine Sprint at AP on July 17, the 9yo son of Courage Under Fire greeted the judge in his subsequent two outings, the latter defeating local Queensland idol, Colt Thirty One on Aug 7. From similar wide starting roles, Alta Orlando has been driven aggressively from the outset, and in this company, that plan is likely to be put into place. With the benefit of a pleasing effort at Headquarters last week, Victorian BONCEL BENJAMIN (6) has joined the Jason Grimson team. Dictating the terms from the outset, Boncel Benjamin recorded a solid 5.4m 3rd to Malcolms Rhythm and Rusty Crackers, the roles at the finish reversed after a successful protest. The reduced trip from the 2300m back to the sprint course will assist Boncel Benjami in his quest of giving Alta Orlando a run for his money. MAFUTA VAUTIN (8) appreciated the drop in grade when he proved far too good for Power Of Red and Warfare a couple of weeks ago. The veteran had been racing consistently in races of this nature prior, so don’t write him off when it comes to ‘springing’ an upset. PUMP THE BRAKES (11) has drawn the outside gate but his past two runs, both from wides gates, have been respectable with the latter resulting in a closing 5.3m 5th to Majestic Cruiser two weeks ago when he came from a deep peg role. When it comes to the multiples, Pump The Brakes is capable of adding value to the return. ZIGGY ROCKS (9) and RAYS CHOICE (5), along with ZAHVEN BANNER (7) also have claims in that regard.
ALTA ORLANDO 1, Boncel Benjamin 2, Mafuta Vautin 3, Pump The Brakes 4.
With the benefit of two solid efforts since a spell and a handy draw, SUMMIT SPECIAL (5) is capable of reaching new heights, en route to greeting the judge. The David Thorn-trained son of Mr Feelgood commenced his latest term of racing on July 10, with a 6.3m 4th to Hidden Courage. Kept off the scene for another two months, the 6yo stepped out for his next assignment a week ago and, with the speed on from the outset, Summit Special found himself settling, seven back along the pegs, before being one off the markers and in a midfield role on straightening for home. Closing strongly over the final 200m, Summit Special recorded a solid 3m 3rd to Under Worked. With his level of fitness on the improve, Summit Special appears to have struck a suitable assignment. The Jarrod Alchin-trained ESCALERA (10) didn’t perform up to expectations in four runs north of the border, prior to returning home and posting a useful 9.6m 4th to Warfare on Aug 24. Prior to his Queensland sojourn, the 5yo son of Bettors Delight had been performing in fine style and despite the presence of a wide gate, expect a far better showing from Escalera this time around. HIDDEN COURAGE (11) has the outside gate to overcome if success is to come his way, however, the Jason Grimson-trained 7yo is capable of such an achievement on the back of two solid placings. Following a pleasing 3.2m 3rd behind Majestic Cruiser in the G3 Kevin Newman, the son of Courage Under fire was sent out a $1.30 chance in an easier challenge a week ago, but was never a serious factor in coming from a rearward role in finishing a 1.9m 2nd to the long-shot, Under Worked. With Cam Hart taking the reins behind Escalera, Jack Trainor jumps back in the ‘bike’, with Hidden Courage and Trainor enjoying success back on July 10. BEAU CISHOLM (4) will appreciate his good draw and with a recent win to his credit and a last-start 4.2m 4th to Under Worked being a solid display, the Peter Russo-trained 10yo son of Elsu is bound to produce another competitive display. LEFT TENNANT (7), POWER OF RED (9) and HICKSTEAD (6) stay under notice when it comes to exotic investments.
SUMMIT SPECIAL 1, Escalera, Hidden Courage 3, Beau Cisholm 4.
Open race to wrap up the card, with the James McPherson-conditioned ROCKY CREED (5) capable of providing his rivals with a ‘knock-out’ blow. With McPherson now part of the Menangle training scene, the talented former country-based mentor will be looking to enjoy early success with the talented son of Pet Rock. Although unplaced in his past three assignments at Headquarters, Rocky Creed has posted creditable displays in each of his past two encounters, the former resulting in a 9.5m 4th to Madazalways while the latter was a solid 5m 4th behind Major Obahma a few weeks ago. Handily drawn, Rocky Creed has the chance to play a far more productive role in the finish this time around. THE GOLDEN CROSS (6) was having his first run since early June, and for Peter Russo when he met with good support in finishing a 2.6m 2nd to Bracken Knight a week ago. Drawing a midfield marble once again, but stripping fitter, the 8yo son of Bettors Delight will again be in the mix from the outset so respect his claims. OUR MADIBA (3) continues to be around the money, despite being unplaced in his past six outings. Contesting a similar event last week, Our Madiba enjoyed a kind run behind the leader, en route to posting a 6.7m 5th to Bracken Knight. Despite his shyness when it comes to having his photo taken with the winning post of late, the 7yo can’t be ignored as a threat. Veteran performer JEDI MIND (4) will be hoping to use the ‘force’ to his advantage in the quest of pursuing his mission on a successful note. The 10yo son of Real Desire has been placed in three of his past five, the latest when he battled on stoutly in finishing a 3m 2nd to Prosecution Witness, which stated his case for victory with plenty of authority. The race is certainly open to numerous chances and Jedi Mind is certainly one such runner. DEE DOUBLE YOU (7), KATCHAR SHOOBEE (9) and TEAM OF STARZZZ (11) could throw some extra value into the exotic returns.
ROCKY CREED 1, The Golden Cross 2, Our Madiba 3, Jedi Mind 4.