February 2, 2023 National Trotguide
Despite drawing the outside gate, PERFECT STRIDE (10) is clearly the one to beat. The classy son of Bettors Delight contested the Inter Dominion series back in late November, early December, and his efforts were certainly respectable, with his final heat appearance resulting in a solid 2nd to Honolua Bay at Geelong. Following a six-week break, the Jack Trainor-prepared 6yo resumed with a an eye-catching 6.6m 4th to Petes Said So and Expensive Ego at Menangle on Jan 21, coming from well-back in proceedings. With Trainor driving I Cast No Shadow in the Hunter Cup at Melton on Saturday, Inter Dominion winning reinsman Josh Gallagher will guide Perfect Stride home. The consistent OLD LUKE (7) did a big job here last week in finishing a head third behind The Stain. Seven pegs, then midfield in the running line, Old Luke overcame some interference in finishing the race off with intent. Although he doesn’t win out of turn, the 10yo warrants attention as a possible threat to Perfect Stride. SEND IT (5) peaks in condition for in-form trainer-driver Brad Hewitt and he certainly stays in the mix when it comes to the multiples while the consistent LETS GET ROCKIN (3) also has claims in that regard after coming up with a good draw. SPIRIT OF ANZAC (1) has been thereabouts on a regular basis and from the pole he could also assist as an exotic player. ART TUTOR (2) will be backing up from a Bathurst engagement on Wednesday and is another with a good draw, which will enhance his claims of a bold showing.
PERFECT STRIDE 1, Old Luke 2, Send It 3, Lets Get Rockin 4.
This is one of a number of races with numerous winning hopes, but courtesy of a suitable draw, WOW HES A ROCK STAR (4) is worthy of attention. The Blake Fitzpatrick trained and driven 5yo hasn’t had a great deal of luck in each of his past two, the former resulting in an 8.6m sixth to Kingmaker, the latter a closing 10.2m seventh behind My Ultimate Ronnie a week ago, when ‘snookered’ five pegs. This will be a slightly easier challenge, compared to his latest engagement and with better luck in running, the son of Rock N Roll Heaven is capable of giving this a big shake. WESTERN STYLE (7) scored here two starts ago, albeit, on protest, prior to posting a gritty 3.5m fourth to Tasty Delight in the New Years Gift final on Jan 14. Prepared by Chris Judd and to be driven by Will Rixon, who is driving in fine fashion, the 6yo son of Western Terror should be a factor. The reliable BLUE CHIP DELIGHT (2) has drawn ideally near the pegs and as a dominant winner here two starts ago, the Jack Trainor-conditioned 6yo should make his presence felt, courtesy of Jack Brown. The old-stagger DOUBLE ENCOUNTER (10) has drawn badly out in 10, however, he continues to perform at a consistent level and he can’t be taken lightly. LOCHIEL (1) broke through for a deserving win and with the prized pole-position next to his name, the son of Lincoln Royal is capable of another competitive showing, despite the stronger challenge. BRAEDOS LAD (5) had been racing well before his latest 12m ninth to Kingmaker a week ago, so expect a better showing, while DOUBTLESS BAY (6) is also in the mix when it comes to the multiples.
WOW HES A ROCK STAR 1, Western Style 2, Blue Chip Delight 3, Double Encounter 4.
Another race overflowing with chances, mainly due to the lack of winning form in recent months. The Michael Doltoff-trained ROCK OF DELIGHT (5) hasn’t greeted the judge since April/2022, but the son of Art Major rarely runs a bad race. Two starts back the 7yo posted a creditable 10.2m 4th to Wavethebill, which has won again since, prior to finishing stoutly from a four peg role in collecting a creditable 14.8m third to the classy Mahomes last week. Reserve out and Rock Of Delight will leave the machine from four and that will assist in a forward role coming his way. That should be enough to assist Rock Of Delight is his quest for a deserving win. The 11yo UNCLE JAY (3) is racing well enough to suggest that the veteran is capable of matching strides with his younger rivals. Suitably drawn in three, Uncle Jay greeted the judge at Bankstown three runs ago before posting a couple of sound efforts at this venue, the latter a pleasing 6.5m fifth to our Money Rocks two weeks ago. A kind run behind the pace will be a plus for Uncle Jay. DELIGHT IN GOLD (1) has been a fixture at Penrith in recent months with the 9yo scoring three runs ago, with his form either side of that appearance creditable. From gate one Delight in Gold should receive a suitable run and that will certainly assist his claims of being involved in the finish. HE BETTOR STEP ASIDE (10) has drawn awkwardly out deep but he remains in contention, especially when it comes to multiple investments. TRIPLE FOUR (8) resumed from a spell with a 21.3m seventh to the classy Cantfindabettorman last week, and courtesy of a high level of fitness, the Brad Hewitt trained and driven 5yo is open to improvement. BOYZHAVTIME (7) and ROCK FISHERMAN (11) also have exotic prospects.
ROCK OF DELIGHT 1, Uncle Jay 2, Delight In Gold 3, He Bettor Step Aside 4.
The Waratah Final is also as open as the Sydney Heads, but with back-to-back wins next to his name, HEZASHADOWPLAYA (8) is entitled to top billing. Prepared by Brad Elder, who will partner his other runner, and main threat to the stablemate in NIFTY STUDLEIGH (4), Hezashadowplaya overcame a back row draw and a tough three-wide trip home in scoring at Tamworth on Jan 20, then backed-up nine days later in working to the lead when untroubled in defeating Colby and Tulhurst Blaster at the same venue. Matt Elkin will partner the son of Shadow Play and in all likelihood, the same game plan is likely to come into play. NIFTY STUDLEIGH (4) is racing in fine style of late, collecting three wins and four placings, all as runner-up, from his past eight trips to the track. The last-start all-the-way Newcastle winner has drawn well, which will enable the 7yo to be prominently placed from the outset. While the Elder pair appear to be the major players, the Ian Osmond-trained SIX AGAIN (6) will tackle this contest as one of the main threats. The 5yo, who will be driven by Ian’s son Scott, is coming off two solid placings, the latter a closing photo 2nd to Nowherenear Crazy at Junee last week. CRIME DONT PAY (1) will appreciate gate one, with the son of Sportswriter backing-up following a 9.5m sixth to Escape Artist at Headquarters on Tuesday. Drawing wider on that occasion and also striking some trouble, the 6yo had been racing consistently before that effort so expect a better showing from the Michael Hawke-conditioned gelding. Exotic players should look to SWEETLY SPOEK (2), PRODIGAL GUINNESS (3), AMERICAN SHUFFLE (10) and NOWHERENEAR CRAZY (11) when forming combinations.
HEZASHADOWPLAYA 1, Nifty Studleigh 2, Six Again 3, Crime Don’t Pay 4.
Menangle mile special CASH N FLOW (11) will be required to overcome the outside gate and a classy array of local and overseas talent if he is to record his 27th win at Headquarters, with all but one posted over this trip. Prepared by Belinda McCarthy and to be driven by Chris Geary, the 10yo son of Mach Three resumed from a lengthy spell with a dominant display at Bathurst on Jan 20, when he finished strongly in taking out the Oberon Cup over a closing Reactor Now and a gallant Hes Chiming. Cash N Flow overcame a back row draw and a three deep trip home in claiming his 40th career win. Usually a speedy customer from the machine, Cash N Flow has won the majority of his assignments over this trip (1609m) by dictating the terms, however, he will have some obstacles to overcome, in particular the speedy WHEREYABINBOPPIN (2), which has drawn perfectly for James Rattray. Looming as a huge threat to Cash N Flow is REACTOR NOW (5), which will be having his second run back from a spell. The son of Auckland Reactor was facing the starter for the first time since early October when he broke after the start, then competed from a five peg role, when a fast-finishing 11.5m second to cash N Flow at Bathurst. Stripping fitter, the Jack Trainor-trained 7yo has drawn handily in five and with the prospect of receiving a suitable stalking role behind the speed, Reactor Now will prove hard to hold out, with Josh Gallagher booked to take the reins. WHEREYABINBOPPIN (2) also enjoys the mile at this venue and with the draw enhancing his claims, the 7yo will give a big sight. Following back-to-back wins at this venue, Whereyabinboppin then led when a gallant 4.9m second to the classy Jay OK on Dec 10. With the benefit of a sound trial, Whereyabinboppin is primed for a strong showing. Highly-regard Kiwi mentor Stephen Telfer has arrived for the upcoming carnival with two classy types in B D JOE (4) and ALTA WISEGUY (9). The pair have been competing with distinction against the best when it comes to the feature events in NZ, during November and December. B D Joe and Alta Wiseguy haven’t raced since mid and late, respectively, and that may be a slight concern going into this assignment, however, their class will ensure that they will be in the mix when the judge calls a halt. JAY OK (3) had no luck last time out and the classy 6yo will be in a threatening role from his good draw while MACH SHARD (1) will appreciate the pole so don’t ignore him as a value exotic player.
CASH N FLOW 1, Reactor Now 2, Whereyabinboppin 3, B D Joe 4.
The G3 Hondo Grattan has attracted an exciting array of 4-year-old talent, with the bulk of the field capable of greeting the judge, without surprising. The all-important draw has fallen the way of MAHOMES (1), and for that reason, plus his slight advantage in the fitness department, compared to some of his feature opponents, the Peter Russo-trained gelding gets the nod. Spelled after a career-defining win in the G1 NSWBC 3YO C&G’s Blue Final at Menangle on Nov 12, Mahomes resumed at Headquarters a week ago, and a hard-fought win came his way, just like his namesake in defeating the Bengals two days later. Nestled in behind the leader, and ultimate runner-up, the classy 4yo issued his challenge soon after straightening for home. And it took the majority of the 360m run home to get the job done, But get the job done he did with an abundance of ‘will to win’. Jimartee was certainly gallant in defeat. Jack Trainer, who has an outstanding understanding of the Tintin In America gelding, will be at Melton, so Blake Fitzpatrick will jump into the sulky. Mahomes won’t lose anything when it comes to class guiding his prospects. The prospect of being in the mix from the outset and being there to ‘pounce’ when the opportunity presents will be a big plus for Mahomes, along with his hard run a week ago, which he needed. Had MY ULTIMATE RONNIE (12) from one to five, then the Jarrod Alchin-trained would have been the main pick. The 4yo has the outside gate to overcome, but his return to racing last week was superb. Midfield, the outside the leader nearing the final bend, My Ultimate Ronnie left his rivals in his wake when Cam Hart asked him to ‘pick up and go’. The highly-regarded 4yo quickly put paid to his rivals in hitting the line strongly, comfortably accounting for the talented Stingray Tara and Joe Nien. That was his first run since recording a game second to Leap to Fame in the G1 NSWBC 3YO C&G’s Final last October. Like Mahomes, My Ultimate Ronnie will strip fitter and like Mahomes he will have a change of driving as Cam will also be heading to Melton. Cam was extremely impressed with the son of Bettors Delight. Will Rixon is driving in career-best form so expect him to give the entire every chance. RIPP (10) is back without a trial, but the Bernie Hewitt-trained son of Somebeachsomewhere has been a tough competitor in two previous, first-up engagements. The 4yo was runner-up in a number of feature races last preparation and he will again be competitive. The ‘x-factor’ is the outstanding ‘Team Dalgety’-prepared REPUBLICAN PARTY (5), which crosses the Tasman with 12 wins and five placings from his 20-starts. Possessing good gate speed, Republican Party is bound to be prominent from the outset, and although this will be his first engagement since finishing 2nd to Akuta over 2600m at Addington on Dec 4, he will be ready to take a power of beating, and further enhance his claim as a major player for the Chariots Of Fire trophy. HES CHARLIES ANGEL (11) is a quality Victorian, but the draw is a concern as he tackles Menangle for the first time while TIMS A TROOPER (9), which has a fine record at this venue, is also resuming but has had the benefit of a solid trial win at AP. MY ULTIMATE BYRON (8) resumed with an unlucky 20.9m 6th to Cantfindabettorman, when, at no stage in the straight did he have the chance to stretch his legs. The run was a lot better than it appears on paper. At least include My Ultimate Byron in exotic transactions.
MAHOMES 1, My Ultimate Ronnie 2, Ripp 3, Republican Party 4.
Following, by far, her most productive season of racing, CAPTN ME (1) steps out for her first run since claiming her biggest prize, a G1 trophy in taking out the NSWBC title for 3YO Fillies at Menangle last October. Her astute mentor Jack Trainor has elected to bypass the trials with the daughter of Captaintreacherous, but that shouldn’t be a major concern. Confronted by a suitable assignment from an ideal draw, the Captaintreacherous mare will be in the ‘box seat’ from the outset and that will lay the foundations for a winning return. Jack Trainor has a strong grip on the race as he will also be represented by PUNT AWAY (11), which is at the other end of the draw, having come up with the outside gate. The mare scored in fine fashion at this venue three starts ago, then lost all chance at the start when a costly 16.8m sixth behind Fairy Tinkabell. The 5yo was again costly in finishing 2nd to Comanchi Warrior at Junee last week. However, the daughter of Sportswriter is entitled to another chance. LOUBOWSKI (5) is a newcomer to Menangle but the recent addition to the Brad Hewitt team at Goulburn is starting to make a name for herself. The winner of one race in NZ from two starts, the Sweet Lou mare is unbeaten in two runs for Brad, both at Wagga, the latter when she came from a five peg role to win, running away, in fine style. This will be a harder challenge, but Loubowski appears to be a progressive type so don’t ignore her claims. BRIDWOOD BELLA (8) has won her two runs for Peter Russo, following a handy career in Tasmania, and although up in grade the mare has done the job in good fashion. Exotic players should consider BE MY ROSE (7), which should appreciate this class, WHATS YOUR SECRET (3) and PARKED IN HEAVEN (9).
CAPTN ME 1, Punt Away 2, Loubowski 3, Bridwood Bella 4.
Unbeaten in two runs since a spell, and drawing handily in four, which is less the reserve, BLAZING BANNER (5) should prove to be a suitable investment. A member of the Brad Hewitt team, the 4yo has a 50% winning strike following 18 trips to the races, and judging by his two impressive wins at Wagga, the son of Rock N Roll Heaven has more to offer. Working home strongly when first-up from a two month break, Blazing Banner had little trouble scoring, then Brad rated the gelding to perfection in defeating Jimmyjoe and Bosch back on Jan 20. Blazing Banner again looks favoured to dictate the terms from start to finish. DON’T NEED AN EXCUSE (2) has also drawn ideally and, as the winner of his past two at Penrith, courtesy of two fine frontrunning drives by Jack Brown, the 7yo is bound to be in the mix from the outset. That will assist in Don’t Need An Excuse looming as a potential threat. MY ULTIMATE JOHNNY (10) was overly suited at Tamworth during the recent carnival, resulting in two handy runs, which were costly in the process. Fitter, and back to a track where he will feel far more comfortable, the talented Jarrod Alchin-trained son of Sweet Lou must be given any chance. CLASSICMAJOR (10) is racing well and despite the wide draw the Art Major 5yo can’t be taken lightly. The gelding chased gamely in finishing a 16.2m second to the classy Cantfindabettorman last week, with his upcoming assignment bound to be more to his liking. Multiple transactions should also include MURPHYS REWARD (1), ARDENS ACE (6) and PLATINUM REVOLUTION (7).
BLAZING BANNER 1, Don’t Need An Excuse 2, My Ultimate Johnny 3, Classicmajor 4.
– Formed assessed by MIKE KO’CASS