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    Finding you a winner at Club Menangle Saturday night Finding you a winner at Club Menangle Saturday night

    OPEN WITH A WINNER: Port Au Prince

    RACE ONE: It is impossible to tip against PORT AU PRINCE (2), with his ideal draw only strengthening his grip on the major share... Finding you a winner at Club Menangle Saturday night


    It is impossible to tip against PORT AU PRINCE (2), with his ideal draw only strengthening his grip on the major share of the prizemoney. Boasting six wins and three placings from his 11 home-track appearances, the Lucky Lodge resident went to another level with an eye-catching performance at Headquarters two weeks ago. Following an emphatic win over Lochiel and Loyalist, the latter scoring impressively here a week ago, Port Au Prince went from a NR up to 90, into a NR and up to 120 rating, and did a big job in finishing strongly from a rearward role. The end result was a closing 8.4m 3rd to Sicario and Jilliby Kung Fu. Sicario came out a week later and won as he liked at Young. From gate two Robbie Morris will dictate the terms from start to finish. The battle for the minor money will be keenly contested with ABOUTTIME (7) and GLIDING AWAY (6) being the main players. ABOUTTIME (7) has had the benefit of two runs since November/21, the first on March 2 resulting in a solid neck 2nd to Oh Daddy. The latter was at Young eight days later when the 7yo had every chance in finishing a 12.4m 5th to stablemate Sicario. The son of Art Major has contested just 24 races, resulting in 12 wins and seven placings, but despite his interrupted career, he has always been highly-regarded. Abouttime is one of six top chances trainer Jason Grimson and driver Cam hart have on the card. GLIDING AWAY resumed with a pleasing 1.6m 3rd behind Loyalist last week, the effort in keeping with his ultra-consistent record, especially at Headquarters where he has contested 23 races for six wins and 15 placings, 12 as runner-up. Expect the Team McDowell-trained son of Betterthancheddar to again be competitive. Gate one will assist HE BETTOR STEP ASIDE (1) in his quest to be involved in the finish. The 8yo posted a creditable 9.2m 7th to Loyalist a week ago and he is one of a number of exotic players. LAST TANGO IN HEAVEN (3), who is a stablemate of Port Au Prince, has now had three runs for the stable, the latest a solid 2.3m 4th to Loyalist last week. The 5yo should receive a kind run from the outset. WESTERN STYLE (5), JOE NIEN (8) and BLUE CHIP DELIGHT (9) also warrant attention. DOUBTLESS BAY (10) was one of three winners for Joe Conolly and Seaton Grima a week ago, and although he goes from gate two, out to 10, the 6yo is still an exotic contender.

    PORT AU PRINCE 1, Abouttime 2, Gliding Away 3, He Bettor Step Aside 4.


    This is an open and tough contest but courtesy of drawing ideally, and coming off another solid placing, the Michael Doltoff-trained ROCK OF DELIGHT (2) gains the nod. Placed in five of his past six, Rock Of Delight hasn’t greeted the judge since last April, but he has posted numerous placings along the way and has been unlucky on a handful of occasions. A fast-finishing 2nd to the classy Blazing Home two starts ago, the 7yo son of Art Major then hit the line strongly a week ago, resulting in a 4.5m 3rd to Jimartee. The prospect of receiving another kind run, Rock Of Delight is bound to be involved in the finish. Goulburn mentor Brad Hewitt has been in sparkling form of late and former Kiwi EMMAS BOY (8) is bound to give a big sight, despite drawing wide. The son of former glamour horse Terror To Love produced a solid all-the-way win over a Philandering Chef a couple of weeks ago, the run being his first in a couple of months. According to Brad, Emmas Boy wanted to ‘switch-off’ over the final stages when comfortably clear of his rivals. This will be a harder test for Emmas Boy, however, he has the talent to be a serious threat. SPORTINGJOY (1) has contested eight races since a spell, resulting in two wins and five placings, with four the result of being runner-up. Six of those runs were on the country arena, the latest at Menangle where the mare worked home stoutly for a 4m 2nd to Blazing Banner. The Ellen Bartley-prepared daughter of Sportswriter should have every chance after drawing the pole. THE STAIN (3) has been racing well for trainer Corey Parker and from the good draw he is capable of repeating his latest effort, which resulted in a creditable 10.3m 3rd to Blazing Home. The son of For a Reason has drawn well in three, so he is capable of leaving his mark on this race. Players of the multiples should include I AM MARQUEZ (6), which has won his past two at Wagga and Bathurst, along with LOORRIM CREEK (7), IM BRUCE ALMIGHTY (9) and ALWAYS ROCKIN (11).

    ROCK OF DELIGHT 1, Emmas Boy 2, Sportingjoy 3, The Stain 4.


    BLAZING BANNER (7) has won four of his five starts since resuming, his only failure being a costly 7.4m 8th to Dont Need An Excuse on Feb 4, when the 4yo had an excuse when checked early stages. Another member of the Brad Hewitt team, Blazing Banner is coming off a strong all-the-way win over this course and distance when he comfortably accounted for Sportingjoy and Im Bruce Almighty. Both Sportingjoy and Im Bruce Almighty will go around in the second, and competitive displays from the pair will add further strength to the claims of Blazing Banner. The former Kiwi NO TIME LIKE NOW (4) has had the benefit of three runs since joining the Belinda McCarthy team and from a good draw, the son of Johny Rock should be a serious threat. The 5yo finished a pleasing 7.7m 2nd to Port Au Prince at his first run on this side of the Tasman, prior to a gritty 10m 3rd to the classy Ripp. No time Like Now led when a fading 11.8m 4th to Blazing Home last time out on Miracle Mile night, but he should find this a more acceptable contest so he is worthy of another chance. ANANAIS (5) greeted the judge at his second run back from a spell before posting a creditable 8.7m 4th to Heaven On High last week. Peaking in condition the consistent son of Bettors Delight should again make his presence felt. Exotic combinations should include HIDDEN COURAGE (3), who is coming off a handful of useful efforts, TIMELY SOVEREIGN (6), FIRESTORM RED (8), YUKO (1) and CASSIUS DECK (10).

    BLAZING BANNER 1, No Time Like Now 2, Ananais 3, Hidden Courage 4.


    Following a successful return to racing last week, the David Thorn-trained HEAVEN ON HIGH (10) will again face the starter as the one to beat, despite the move to the back row. Enjoying a kind, stalking role, behind the leader, the 5yo gained an inside run soon after straightening which enabled him to account for Im Bruce Almighty and Beach Villa. The son of Rock N Roll Heaven ended his previous term of racing on a stylish win so with a higher level of fitness going into this assignment, the former Kiwi looks poised to complete the hat-trick. UNFAZED (6) has been leaving his good manners at home lately, but if he was focused on the task at hand from the outset, then the Charlie Pollicina-trained son of Auckland Reactor would give this a big shake from his handy draw. Since scoring a tough win here last November, Unfazed has been unplaced in six subsequent appearances, with bad manners playing a role in some of those defeats. Such was the case two starts ago when 22.4m 7th to Port Au Prince, and again a week ago, when he lost all chance at the start, which resulted in a 25.4m last to Triple Four. DOUBLE ACT (3) is in a similar boat to Unfazed in that he has the talent, but he has also being doing the odd thing wrong. The Harry Martin-trained 5yo did a big job in scoring at Newcastle two runs back, then didn’t have the best of luck from the outside gate when he worked in finding the role outside of the leader in posting a tiring 17m 9th to Heaven On High last week. A far kinder gate awaits Double Act so expect a far more competitive showing. The consistent RED REACTOR (8) is in the mix when it comes to forming multiple transactions while TEAGAN BANNER (11), despite drawing the outside gate, also has claims in that regard as the former Queenslander looks to improve on his 8m 3rd to Uncle Jay at Penrith a couple of weeks ago. That was his first run for Jason Grimson so expect improvement. CAPTAIN DORIAN (4) and THATS ART (5) also have claims in that regard.

    HEAVEN ON HIGH 1, Unfazed 2, Double Act 3, Red Reactor 4.


    The intriguing runner is SUGAR APPLE (112), which has been off the scene since finishing a 29.9m 9th to Leap To Fame in the 2022 edition of the Queensland Derby. The former Kiwi has contested 13 races for Jason Grimson, with the son of Sweet Lou winning three-straight before a run of four unplaced efforts. Sugar apple will go into this race without a trial and drawing the outside gate, however, he attracts attention as the one to beat. LOCHIEL (8) has been a consistent performer for trainer Leon Jurd and looks to be the main threat. Runner-up to the classy Port Au Prince two starts ago, the 6yo son of Lincoln Royal then recorded a creditable 10.2m 6th to Heaven On High last week. Despite the wider draw, Lochiel should be competitive. Courtesy of a superb drive by Scott Hewitt last week, TRIPLE FOUR (4) improved on recent efforts in defeating Loorrim Creek and Cassius Deck. Mentor Brad Hewitt will occupy the driver’s seat this time around and the son of American Ideal is more than capable of again making his presence felt. After three appearances as runner-up, EVERYBODYLOVEDRAY (6) posted a 20m 5th to Jimartee a week ago. The 8yo is usually thereabouts and he again stays in the mix when it comes to exotic combinations. Other chances when it comes to multiple transactions include OH DADDY (1), UNCLE MIKI (2), ROMANEE (3) and ROCK FISHERMAN (5).

    SUGAR APPLE 1, Lochiel 2, Triple Four 3, Everybodylovedray 4.


    Despite drawing awkwardly out in gate nine, which will be the case if the reserves remain benched, CAPTAINS QUEEN (11) looks the one to beat. Prepared by Nathan Jack and to be driven by Amanda Turnbull, the mare has won three of her five Menangle encounters, the highlight being the G1 APG 2YO Fillies title 11 months ago. The daughter of Captaintreacherous has had a checked career since, but at her second run back from a long spell, the mare looked good in leading throughout in easily defeating Good Time Nedra and Infinity Beach in a heat of this final at Wagga on March 3. While meeting a strong line up of talented mares, Captains Queen has always shown that little bit extra and that should be the difference this time around. Former Victorian PATSY VALENTINE (4) enjoyed immediate success for new mentor Alex Alchin when she led throughout for an easy win at Newcastle. This will be a harder test but from the good draw, and with a higher level of fitness, the American Ideal mare should give a good account. PROMISELAND (2) is a filly taking on the mares, but with six wins and four placings from her 10 trips to the races, the 3yo daughter of Bettors Delight has always been a talent. Promiseland, despite working, proved a shade too good for a fast-finishing Paintmeareason and Jo an Jo at Penrith when she also overcame a back row draw. Ideally drawn for this challenge, Promiseland is capable of being active in the finish. PAINTMEAREASON (6) has contested three races since a break, all at Penrith with the For a Reason chalking up three solid placings. Although unplaced in each of her two runs here, the John Wheeler-trained mare is worthy of more than a passing thought. CORAL STRIDE (7)is coming off a solid Bathurst win and she isn’t out of the mix while JO AN JO (9) is building towards a win and must be respected.

    CAPTAINS QUEEN 1, Patsy Valentine 2, Promiseland 3, Paintmeareason 4.


    The Jason Grimson and Cam Hart combination will again take a power of beating, this time FIRE FOX (6) appeals as the one to beat. Placed in four of his past five starts, Fire Fox gave subsequent Miracle Mile winner Catch A Wave a run for his money at Melton on Feb 3. Contesting the Mercury80 over 1200m, Fire Fox, with Cam in the sulky, gave plenty of cheek in leading, only to see Catch A Wave and Kate Gath power past them over the final 100m. The 6yo son of Sweet Lou had his next assignment at Menangle and, from a cosy three peg role, he hit the line with intent, resulting in a 3.2m 3rd to Bundoran and Huli Nien. Drawing the middle of the line, Fire Fox will have the opportunity to make his presence from the outset. In a race of many chances, Fire Fox is definitely in the mix when it comes to greeting the judge. Robert Morris surprised the majority when he crossed the face of the field and dictated the terms with PETES SAID SO (8) last week. After carving out a solid 26.8 open quarter, the consistent son of Well Said kept the pressure on his rivals but was unable to fend off a fast-finishing Jimmy Locke, with the 7yo posting a gritty 1.6m fourth. The 7yo has drawn wide again, however, Morris is unlikely to adopt the same tactics as Petes Said So is far more comfortable following the pace and not setting it. BUNDORAN (7) followed an all-the-way win at this venue, with a solid display in finishing a 3m 5th to Jimmy Locke last week. The 6yo did have every chance in the one-one in running his typical honest race. Expect the Bathurst visitor to again be a threat. MAJOR JELLIS (5) has been thereabouts in recent encounters and is entitled to exotic consideration while ALTA ORLANDO (9), who did a fine job in running 2nd to Jimmy Locke, and STINGRAY TARA (4) should also be included in multiple transactions.

    FIRE FOX 1, Petes Said So 2, Bundoran 3, Alta Orlando 4.


    After starting the meeting with a ‘best bet’, we can now end the card with another ‘special’ as the classy mare TAY TAY (8) will take a power of beating, and, once again, the Jason Grimson-Cam Hart combinations comes into play. Runner-up behind Amore Vita and Tough Tilly, respectively, Tay Tay then recorded a respectable 11m 6th to Braeview Kelly in the G1 Queen Elizabeth 11 Mile at Menangle on Miracle Mile night. The 5yo mare has drawn the outside gate in the field of eight, but that won’t be enough to prevent the daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven collecting her fifth win from nine starts at Headquarters. PUNT AWAY (4) found the Queen Elizabeth 11 challenge a ‘bit rich’ in recording a 28.9m 8th, but her previous form was good enough to result in a bold showing this time around. ORCHID STRIDE (6) has been freshened since a 14.9m 9th behind Tough Tilly in the G3 Robin Dundee a month ago. Prior to that run the mare resumed with a nose 2nd to Ziggy Rocks at Newcastle. The talented daughter of American Ideal is capable of playing a role in the finish so include her in exotic combinations. AUNTY BELLA (5) has been off the scene since finishing a distant last to Ladies in red in the 2760m Queen of the Pacific at Melton last October. Two recent handy Bathurst trials and the 5yo Western Terror mare ready to give a good account. BRIDWOOD BELLA (1) and AALESUND (2) have drawn close to the pegs and that will assist the exotic prospects.

    TAY TAY 1, Punt Away 2, Orchid Stride 3, Aunty Bella 4.

      – Form assessed by Mike Ko’cass


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