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    Finding winners is certainly no ‘Dieing Art’ Finding winners is certainly no ‘Dieing Art’

    CHASING BACK-TO-BACK MENANGLE WINS: Dieing Art.

    RACE ONE: Quality mare DREAM MAZE (5) will make her Menangle debut, and although confronted by an interesting assignment, the Allan McDonough-trained daughter of... Finding winners is certainly no ‘Dieing Art’

    RACE ONE:

    Quality mare DREAM MAZE (5) will make her Menangle debut, and although confronted by an interesting assignment, the Allan McDonough-trained daughter of Western Terror remains the one to beat. After commencing her career with a win at Launceston a year ago, Dream Maze has contested 13 races for eight wins and two placings, mainly in Victoria. However, her past two wins have been recorded at Hobart, the latter when the mare led throughout in posting a dominant win over Stepping Stones and Miss Papenhuyzen three weeks ago. Less the reserve and Dream Maze will launch her claim from fate four, a suitable starting role for the Victorian. There is speed drawn inside, mainly IM IN TROUBLE (3) and the Seaton Grima-trained soon of Art Major will likely be keen to lead. Although Dream Maze has led in a number of her wins, the sparingly-raced 6yo is capable of sitting behind the speed and being just as lethal. Allan has booked his talented son Bailey to handle the driving duties. IM IN TROUBLE (3) has drawn ideally in two, which is less the reserve, so expect the in-form Harry Ross to have the 5yo quickly into stride and looking for the lead role. Following back-to-back all-the-way wins, firstly at this venue then at Newcastle when he defeated subsequent winner Dadndave, Im In Trouble then worked from a wide gate in finding the front, en route to a gallant photo 2nd to Its Ebonynivory a week ago. The shorter trip of 1609m will suit Im In Trouble. LETSROCKLETSROLL (6) scored at Melton five starts ago and has performed soundly in his past three Menangle starts since trainer David Aiken relocated back to NSW. The 10yo is coming off a 12.2m 7th to Hot And Treacherous over 2300m at this venue a couple of weeks ago and he is likely to find this a far more suitable challenge. The son of Rock N Roll Heaven is capable of recording another competitive showing. The Ash Delosa-conditioned OUR UNCLE JIM (4) has been in superb form of late with the 8yo winning three of his past four, the first here before back-to-back wins at Penrith. The son of Western Terror overcame a back row draw in defeating Foxy Dada and Shades Of Heaven, and although a harder task awaits Our Uncle Jim, a good draw and an abundance of confidence should see him give a good account. MAJOR MAJOR (7) has recorded a hat-trick of wins, then three consecutive solid placings, before a tiring 16m 7th to Don Hugo   when left facing the breeze. The 5yo draws the middle of the line, but he has the gate speed to be in the mix from the outset so don’t ignore the son of Art Major as a potential threat. SMIFFYS TERROR (8) will find this a far more suitable challenge, compared to a creditable 10.8m 7th to Dont Stop Dreaming and a 10.6m 6th behind Hot And Treacherous, respectively. The son of Terror To Love has drawn a touch deep but he can’t be overlooked as an exotic chance.

    DREAM MAZE 1, Im In Trouble 2, Letsrockletsroll 3, Our Uncle Jim 4.

    RACE TWO:

    LOUS DREAM (8) was a shade disappointing last week when a fading 5.8m 5th to Ubetcha Tigerpie, however, the son of Sweet Lou warrants another chance. Second to stablemate Mister robin Hood two starts ago, Lous Dream was caught outside of the leader when a beaten 8.4m in finishing last to Don Hugo, prior to his latest effort. The 4yo will commence the 2300m challenge from the middle of the line and, if Cam Hart can find the front, which is likely, then Lous Dream will give plenty of cheek. The consistent Blake Fitzpatrick-conditioned HE BETTOR STEP ASIDE (6) is entitled to more than a passing thought, especially over the longer trip. After recording a hat-trick of solid placings on the Penrith circuit, the son of Bettors Delight finished strongly in defeating The Texas Ranger and Vamos at Bathurst before again working home with intent when a 5.2m 3rd to Dougs Platter and Promiseland at Menangle a week ago. He Bettor Step Aside will be contesting his 50th assignment at Headquarters, and although he has greeted the judge on just three occasions, a further 12 minor placings and a host of handy efforts, keep him in the mix once again in what appears an open race. DON LOU (4) had his first run for Seaton Grima a week ago, with the 5yo recording a creditable 3.8m 4th to Pas De Cheval. That was his first outing in nearly a month so he will be sharper for this challenge. Luke McCarthy has been booked to handle the driving duties. Suitably drawn Don Lou is capable of being competitive. Despite drawing wide the Darren Binskin-trained SHEFFIELD SPARKY (10) remains in the mix as a contender for the top spot. Placed in three of his past four starts at Headquarters, the 8yo is coming off a solid-finishing 3.5m 3rd to Ubetcha Tigerpie last week when four pegs and held up for a suitable run for the majority of the home straight. Better luck will see the son of Art Major making a bold play for the top spot. When it comes to the multiples, RYANS GANGSTER (9) has claims, despite the wide gate, while GIVE ME A MINUTE (3) and CAULONIA COURAGE (2) stay in the mix after drawing well.

    LOUS DREAM 1, He Bettor Step Aside 2, Don Lou 3, Sheffield Sparky 4.

    RACE THREE:

    Although coming off a costly defeat in the Canberra Cup last Sunday, OUR VINNIE (5) warrants further attention after drawing handily. The 4yo drew the back row for the 2570m Canberra Cup, but from a midfield role the son of Vincent was unable to catch Zambia and Carlo Gambino, resulting in an 8.8m third. Prior to that appearance, the talented 4yo contested the G1 Chariots of Fire, which resulted in a 13.5m 9th to stablemate Frankie Ferocious. Now four runs into his term of racing since leaving Emma Stewart and joining the Jason Grimson stable, Our Vinnie will be looking to secure his first win since October when he defeated Hes All Torque and Cheerstolou in the SA Derby at Globe Derby. With the benefit of a  suitable draw, Jack Trainor will have Our Vinnie making his presence felt from the outset. The Jarrod Alchin team having been enjoying plenty of success in recent months and CORBIE STUMBLER (3) will be looking to post his second win for the astute Menangle mentor. Scoring first-up for Jarrod when successful over Sheffield Sparky and Ryans Gangster, the son of Betting Line then worked home stoutly when a closing 5m 3rd to the promising I Break The Line last week. With the benefit of a slightly better draw, Cam Hart will be eyeing off a role closer to the action with the 4yo. The Luke McCarthy trained and driven ALIBERTO (1) has drawn ideally and that will allow the consistent son of Somebeachsomewhere to be a factor from the outset. The 5yo was on the verge of a hat-trick of wins when a 5.3m 4th to I Break The Line last week, with Luke breaking the line first, prior to taking a sit on the eventual winner. Aliberto will again loom as a threat before the winning post comes into play. YAHOO (2) overcame a second line draw and a midfield role when he finished strongly in defeating Major Mickey and Ultra Bliss at Newcastle last week. The Michael Stanley trained and driven son of Vincent has drawn ideally for the harder assignment, so don’t write him off, especially when it comes to multiple transactions. Drawing the outside gates, but remaining in the mix as exotic players are SWELL TIME (9), and FREDDY SINGH (10), the pair both performing on a consistent basis. The intriguing runner is the Brad Hewitt trained and driven BLUTO (6), with the son of Sweet Lou drawing the middle of the pack for his Menangle debut. The 4yo contested 12 races back home for four wins and a minor placing, with his farewell race resulting in a win back on February 1. Bluto finished 2nd in a Goulburn trial, and although meeting a number of talented rivals, Bluto should be kept safe, with any positive market move to be respected. Brad has an outstanding strike-rate when it comes to former Kiwi runners. Bluto will also appreciate there is no Popeye in the race.

    OUR VINNIE 1, Corbie Stumbler 2, Aliberto 3, Yahoo 4.

    RACE FOUR:

    Nearly the entire field are capable of taking out the Waratah final, with the draw adding to the degree of difficulty when it comes to finding the winner. Despite drawing deep, TAKE A HIKE (11) warrants a high-rating as the Brad Hewitt trained and driven 6yo, looks to record his first win this preparation after finishing runner-up five of his 11 assignments. The son of Panspacificflight was grounded for a period of five unplaced efforts before showing a return to form with back-to-back placings at Bathurst. Drawing wide and competing from the role outside of the leader, Take A Hike posted a gritty 4.2m 4th to Satin Banyula at Goulburn before racing prominently in recording a 5.4m 2nd to Nifty Ronald at Wagga a week ago when he looked a shade unlucky. When it comes to a salary cap for owners, a mixture of current and retired rugby league starts in Jarrod Croker, Adam Elliott, Matt Frawley, Nick Cotric, Jack Wighton, Sam Williams and Zac Woolford feature, with champion jockey Tommy Berry also in the ownership, with a host of other owners. If Brad can secure a suitable run with Take A Hike, there will be no need to go to the video referee to assist in the decision. BEE SEVENTEEN (7) graduated to this race courtesy of a solid display in defeating Country major and Triple Emm, courtesy of a well-time run from Caitlin McElhinney. A member of the successful Tom Ison team, the 9yo, like a number of these runners, will be having his first Menangle challenge and that can always be a daunting factor. However, the veteran is racing well and is capable of being involved in the finish. Trainer Corey Parker has NIFTY RONALD (5) racing with plenty of confidence and as a result the 9yo son of Stoneridge Scooter looms as a threat. With Taylah Osmond in the sulky, the Stoneridge Scooter 9yo has won his past at Goulburn and Wagga, respectively, the latter defeating Take A Hike after a well-judged front-running drive. With a suitable draw assisting his claims, Nifty Ronald will be in the mix from the outset and that will enhance his claims of collecting the prize. EXPLOSIVE BRONSKI (3) has drawn well and with placings in three of his past four starts so don’t write him off while COUNTRY MAJOR (4) and KING BOBBIE (8) are racing consistently and claims as exotic runners should be considered.

    TAKE A HIKE 1, Bee Seventeen 2, Nifty Ronald 3, Explosive Bronski 4.

    RACE FIVE.

    Lightly-raced 7yo DIEING ART (7) is still learning her trade, but that hasn’t stopped the mare winning creating a big impression in just five starts. Formerly under the care of Victorian conditioner Mark Thompson, Dieing Art commenced her career just a few months ago on January 16, with a an eye-catching and unlucky 13m 2nd coming her way behind Goodtime Cracker. Starting favourite, the mare raced roughly after the start from her second row draw, then settled midfield in working home stoutly. With that run and experience under her belt, Dieing Art then went on a winning spree, greeting the judge in fine fashion at Shepparton, Echuca and Wagga, respectively. The decision was then made to send the daughter of Art major to the stables of Jarrod Alchin and the pair enjoyed immediate success. Working three wide from the 1000m in finding the role outside of the leader passing the 800m marker, Dieing Art, with Cam Hart holding the reins, powered to the lead on straightening in proving too good, too classy for Maria Allegonda and Speed Dial, with move by Cam, mid-race, proving a master stroke. Dieing Art has drawn the middle of the line, and although she hasn’t displayed gate speed to date, for one reason or another, that’s not to say she can leave the machine with purpose if called upon. Regardless, Dieing Art remains the one to beat. MARIA ALLEGONDA (1) has also shown above-average talent in three runs for David thorn and with gate one being a big plus, the former Kiwi looms as the one to beat once again. Successful on debut for David in late February when she recorded a stylish win, Maria Allegonda looked extremely unlucky when 2nd to Youtakemybreathaway at Penrith before home stoutly when a closing 4.6m 2nd to Dieing Art last week. The draw will allow Jack Trainor to present the Sweet Lou mare with a kind run in the hope of turning the tables on Dieing Art. Talented mare ILLAVABUBBLES (11) has drawn the outside gate and that is a negative when your two main rivals have drawn suitably. After winning five-straight for her new mentor Jason Grimson, the bubble burst when a gallant 4m 3rd to Manhattan and Braeview Kelly in the Baby Bling Stakes at Menangle a couple of weeks ago. The Always B Miki mare wasn’t disgraced by her determined effort in defeat. However, this will also be a tougher test of her character, although Manhattan and Braeview Kelly, either one, would take a power in this field so Illavabubbles must be treated with respect. The top three are clearly the power players so the rest will be fighting it out for a minor exotic role. ROLL WITH SLOY (8) resumed with a tiring 40.6m last to Golden Bay last week, however, driver Josh Gallagher wasn’t disappointed with the run. On the clock and against older and fitter rivals, the 4yo daughter of Roll With Joe did a creditable job, according to Josh and she will strip a lot fitter in a race against her own sex. MALUKA MISS (6), OURSOUTHERNSTAR (5) and SMOKESHOW (2), which resumed from a spell with an 11m 5th to Ambiguous at Wagga last week, fall into that ‘value’ exotic category.

    DIEING ART 1, Maria Allegonda 2, Illavabubbles 3, Roll With Sloy 4.

    RACE SIX:

    With races such as the Rising Sun in Queensland and the Eureka at Menangle on his radar, DOUGS PLATTER (9) must continue on his winning way to keep his name prominently placed on the list of candidates for these elite events. The Kevin Pizzuto-trained 4yo has won his past two in fine style at Headquarters, the latter a week ago when driven to perfection by Josh Gallagher. Contesting the 1609 metre challenge from gate six, Dougs Platter managed to secure the one-one, prior to Josh making his move out three deep with 400m left to run. Pulling clear over the final stages the son of Betterthancheddar comfortably accounted for Promiseland and he Bettor Step Aside. The same trip applies but from a wider gate, eight at this stage, however, Dougs Platter should be able to handle this assignment. GOLDEN BAY (3) also won a heat of this race a week, the Autumn Gift, and from gate three the 4yo is bound to take a power of beating. Prepared by Jason Grimson and to be driven by Cam Hart, the son of Downbytheseaside will be looking to dictate the terms from start to finish, which was the case a week ago when he proved too good for an unlucky Blazing Home and Celestial Gossip. Since making the trip south to be based at Menangle, Golden Bay has recorded two wins and the same number of placings from his four engagements and the 4yo can be expected to produce another strong showing. I BREAK THE LINE (4) was also a  heat winner, and although his margin was only a half-head, the Michael Xuereb-conditioned 4yo was gallant in greeting the judge. The Golden Guitar winner managed to stretch is winning sequence to four when he led in defeating Outside Fighter and Corbie Stumbler. Boasting seven wins and five placings, all as runner-up, the son of Betting Line has been a ‘betting delight’ for his supporters and from the good draw I Break The Line will be looking to continue on his winning way. Josh Gallagher also guided I Break The Line to victory and has had a wonderful association with the gelding, so it will be interesting to see which classy 4yo he decides to partner. UBETCHA TIGERPIE (7) secured his role in the final with a strong-finishing display in coming from a midfield role in defeating Rockokoko and Sheffield Sparky. The Michael Stanley trained and driven 5yo, which is also a son of Betting Line, has been in the mix on a regular basis, and although a harder task awaits, the Victorian is more than capable of making his presence felt. PROMISELAND (1) has drawn ideally in the pole position and hits peak fitness following four runs back. The mare is coming off a gritty 5m 2nd to Dougs Platter and with the prospect of receiving a kind, peg run, courtesy of Jack Trainor, the consistent 4yo daughter of Bettors Delight is capable of springing a surprise result. Exotic chances include BLAZING HOME (12), which certainly has the ability to be a threat, however, his bad manners have left him facing the starter from the outside gate. Now with Jarrod Alchin following his eye-catching effort last week in finishing a 2.4m 2nd to Golden Bay after the 4yo ‘blew’ the start in losing considerable ground. A more settled Blazing Home can’t be taken lightly.

    DOUGS PLATTER 1, Golden Bay 2, I Break The Line 3, Ubetcha Tigerpie 4.

    RACE SEVEN:

    Only six runners will face the starter, however, this is an intriguing race as four of the runners have definite claims when it comes to greeting the judge. FIRE FOX (6) is worth the gamble as he looks to bounce back from a disappointing effort. Now under the care of Seaton Grima, Fire Fox opened his latest term of racing for the young mentor with a couple of stylish wins, the latter when he powered home in defeating Taipo and Rock N Roll Doo, impressively. Contesting the G2 Cordina Sprint, a qualifying race for the Miracle Mile, the 7yo son of Sweet Lou began swiftly, but was caught without cover, prior to receiving the one-one. However, Fire Fox tired on his run and crossed the line a well-beaten 9th to Speak The Truth. With the benefit of a few week off, Fire Fox will be ready to produce a bold showing once again. The small field is also likely to suit Fire Fox, which will be driven by Will Rixon as Seaton is on the sidelines for the time being. Luke McCarthy will be represented by two of the major players in EXPENSIVE EGO (5) and BONDI LOOCKDOWN (4), the pair both below their best these days, however, they must be respected. Luke will take the reins behind Expensive Ego while Jack Callaghan will partner Bondi Lockdown. Expensive Ego has been unplaced in each of his three runs since a spell, with useful efforts behind Dont Stop Dreaming and Hi Manameisjeff, respectively, the latter resulting in a 7.3m fourth after doing his fair share of the hard work outside of the leader. Contesting the 2300m G2 Light Horse FFA on Miracle Mile night, the 7yo settled in a midfield role, prior to failing to make an impression when a 13.5m 8th to Its Merlin. This is the type of race which should suit Expensive Ego at this stage of his career. BONDI LOCKDOWN (4) resumed from a spell with a solid win here back in early December, however, the 6yo has been mixing his form in six subsequent starts, with the son of Somebeachsomewhere finishing runner-up on two occasions. Following a pleasing 8m 7th to Speak The Truth in the G2 Cordina Sprint, the 6yo then enjoyed a kind run behind the leader in finishing a 5.2m 2nd to Hot And Treacherous a few weeks ago. The 6yo is bound to be in the mix from the outset and is certainly deserving of further attention. The fourth and final contender for the top spot is HOT AND TREACHEROUS (7), which has won two of his four starts since a spell, and is entitled to be regarded as a major player once again. Taking full advantage of gate one, the 6yo was rated to perfection by Cam Hart when a comfortable winner over Bondi Lockdown and Cantfindabettorman at this venue on March 9. The 6yo son of Captain Treacherous is bound to be driven with aggression once again. Of the remaining two runners, DOUBLE ENCOUNTER (3) is the one most likely to stake a claim for a minor exotic role.

    FIRE FOX 1, Expensive Ego 2, Bondi Lockdown 3, Hot And Treacherous 4.

    RACE EIGHT:

    Following an emphatic display in scoring at Canberra last Sunday, ROYAL DAN (6) will again face the starter as the one to beat. The classy 5yo trotter enjoyed a successful career when under the care of Emma Stewart, prior to his move to Jason Grimson. The lightly-raced 5yo son of Orlando Vici has contested only 11 races for five wins and the same number of placings, four as runner-up. Following a costly head 2nd to Easy Pickings and Aldebaran Demi at Melton on March 2, Royal Dan crossed the border to continue his promising career. Despite the presence of a back row draw at Canberra, Royal Dan had little difficulty picking off his rivals in finding the lead, then turning the 2570m event in a ‘one act affair’ as he cruised home with a margin of 37m to spare, it could have been more if Cam Hart so desired, in defeating Jungle Eyes and Viksun. Handily drawn on the front line, Royal Dan will be confronted by the Luke McCarthy trained and driven CONSTANTINOPLE (8), the winner of eight of his 10 assignments at this venue, with a second thrown in for good measure. Following a hat-trick of wins at Headquarters the 7yo son of Trixton bumped into the exciting Anton Golino-trained Callmethebreeze in the G1 Hammerhead Mile at Menangle on Miracle Mile night. Left facing the breeze after drawing wide, Constantinople tried hard, but was no match for the former French star, which had 12.8m to spare when the judge called a halt. Constantinople wasn’t disgraced in running second. The clash between Royal Dan and Constantinople will be intriguing end to the card. FUNKY MONEY (5) collected a cheque as runner-up on four-consecutive occasions before a 22m 6th behind Callmethebreeze here a few weeks ago. The 7yo mare will find this an easier assignment and should make a play for a role in the finish as a minor exotic player. VICTREE (7) did a fine job in finishing a 16.4m 3rd to Callmethebreeze, which followed a solid win here when the 7yo overcame a 10m handicap in defeating Scruffy Doolan and Affaire De Cover. Victree Hill should be linked to the multiples while AFFAIRE DE COVER (4), CHIEF RUNNINGCLOUD (3), JUNGLE EYES (9) and SUNNY GEE (2) are in the mix when looking for value.

    ROYAL DAN 1, Constantinople 2, Funky Monkey 3, Victree Hill 4.

      – FORM ASSESSED BY MIKE KO’CASS

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