April 7, 2022 National Trotguide
Ideally drawn in gate one, and coming off two solid displays as runner-up, THE CROUPIER (1) is capable of dealing punters a winning hand in the opening event. Prepared by Belinda McCarthy and to be driven by Luke, the son of Roll With Joe led when beaten 3.3m by Mighty Looee, prior to finding another stablemate a shade too good when a fast-finishing photo 2nd to The Honey Queen. Drawing wider on that occasion, which resulted in a midfield role, The Croupier found the line with intent. The 7yo has the gate speed to hold the inside running if Luke so desires, however, in this company a role behind the speed looks the most likely outcome. With the prospect of a kind run, The Croupier will then look to take advantage of the situation over the final stages. MISTER MAGIC MAN (5) followed a bold front-running win at Penrith with a brave 2nd behind Aqua Sancta at Headquarters last week, just three days after his success at the ‘foot of the mountains’. The Joe Conolly-trained 9yo has drawn handily and no doubt Amanda Turnbull will have the son of Mister Big in the thick of the action from the outset so don’t ignore him as a winning contender. FAR OUT BRO (4) was having his first outing since a determined 2nd to Chevron Art in the Inter City Pace Final at Maitland in early January when a pleasing 10.6m 6th to Zoliver here last week. Fitter and suitably drawn, the Adam Ruggari-trained 5yo is capable of being competitive. SUMMIT SPECIAL (3) peaks after three runs from a break, and although beaten 16.7m in finishing 5th to Ranger Bomb a week ago, the son of Mr Feelgood is worthy of another chance, particularly when it comes to the multiples. ROSSINI (8) resumes as an exotic player after a sound Goulburn trial while BACK IN TWENTY (7) will appreciate the drop in grade following a creditable 10.6m 8th to Majestic Cruiser so don’t dismiss as an exotic contender. JIMMY LOCKE (10), although safely held in finishing a 16.6m 4th to Ranger Bomb last week, still caught the eye in coming from a rearward role. The outside gate again awaits the Peter Russo-trained 7yo, but he is also worthy of involvement when sorting out multiple transactions. Adding further confusion to the exotics, the Jack Trainor-trained duo, BE MAJOR THREAT (2) and SOHO TSUNAMI (6) are not out of the mix. There should at least be value attached to this race.
THE CROUPIER 1, Mister Magic Man 2, Far Out Bro 3, Summit Special 4.
Despite coming off a costly defeat, the Jason Grimson-conditioned FIRE FOX (4) will head around to the start as one of the better bets on the card, as he looks to make amends for his $1.33 defeat to stablemate Stingray Tara. The former Kiwi debuted for the stable with a sizzling display which resulted in a 22m defeat of Lochiel and Ardens Ace in 1:49.6. Following that emphatic display the son if Sweet Lou was expected to again dictate from start to finish, however, the 5yo was unable to repel the strong challenge from the former Victorian. Maybe, backing up from such a sizzling display, which was his first outing in two months, could have taken the edge of Fire Fox. Suitably drawn and with his level of fitness no longer an issue, Fire Fox should be first out – and first home. If, there is to be a serious threat to Fire Fox, then the Aaron Goadsby-prepared GIVE ME A MINUTE (7) is more than capable of providing such a result. Following back-to-back wins at Newcastle, the son of Raging Bull then completed the hat-trick with a solid win at Headquarters. Contesting a 1609m event from gate seven a week ago, the same alley he has again, Give Me A Minute went to the line under a hold in posting an extremely unlucky 4.7m 5th to Crunch Time. At no stage over the final 100m did Robert Morris, despite his attempts, secure a clear run for the 4yo, who went to the line climbing over rivals. LOCHIEL (6) is also racing in fine fashion and his latest run, a fast-finishing 16m 4th to Stingray Tara was full of merit, despite the beaten margin. The 5yo son of Lincoln Royal is racing in fine style and will strip fitter for a couple of runs back. JUSTA LITTLE BIT (10) is racing consistently, and although the draw is a hurdle, expect the Jarrod Alchin-trained 4yo to be in the mix when the judge calls a halt. Others to consider when multiple transactions come into play include RED REACTOR (2), ARDENS ACE (5) and IMASPORTSSTAR (9).
FIRE FOX 1, Give Me A Minute 2, Lochiel 3, Justa Little Bit 4.
I CAST NO SHADOW (8) should give trainer Jason Grimson and driver Cam Hart further success as the son of Shadow Play looks to overcome a wide gate in the pursuit of a return to winning form. Resuming from a spell with a pleasing 9m 5th behind the classy Zeuss Bromac, I Cast No Shadow recorded back-to-back wins at Headquarters before finding one a ‘shade’ better in each of his next two encounters. Starting favourite on each occasion, I Cast No Shadow led when beaten a head by Alta Orlando, prior to contesting his next assignment from outside of the leader when run down late by Jay OK. Cam will have the 6yo in the thick of the action from the outset and that should result in I Cast No Shadow going one better this time around. Consistent and suitably drawn, MAKE MINE MEMPHIS (4), which has won since last September, is capable of being a threat. From the in-form Bernie Hewitt stables, the 6yo finished 3rd to The Mustang in the Lion Nathan Cup at Bathurst, then filled the same role when beaten 4.8m by Aphorism. A kind stalking role should be on offer for the son of Rock N Roll Heaven. ART TUTOR (5) finished 2nd in the above-mentioned race and with solid form prior to that outing also provided, the Art Major 7yo is capable of giving plenty of cheek once again. CASH N FLOW (9) isn’t the same lethal force he once was, particularly in races of this nature, however, his latest effort in recording a closing 9.2m 5th behind Jay OK, keeps him in the mix as an exotic player. Gate one will assist ROCKIN MARTY (1) is his quest for a competitive showing and with three runs under his belt since a spell, the David Hewitt-trained son of Pet Rock should be included in the multiples. The consistent ALPINE STRIDE (7) must be included in all transactions while MACH SHARD (6) is coming off an improved run and his claims can’t be ignored.
I CAST NO SHADOW 1, Make Mine Memphis 2, Art Tutor 3, Cash N Flow 4.
An interesting change of stables, as far as, COLLINA KAY JAY (4) is concerned as the son of Alta Christiano will step out for his first engagement since joining Jason Grimson. The 5yo has been involved in four-consecutive Penrith encounters which have resulted in a win, two safely-held displays, prior to a last-start 27.9m 3rd to Carlas Mach a few weeks ago. Boasting a fine record, the sparingly-raced gelding has had an issue or two, but there is no doubting his potential and rarely does a horse enter Grimson’s stable and not produce a big first-up effort. WOW HES A ROCKSTAR (5) is coming off a solid return to winning form and he is bound to be a major contender once again. Resuming with four unplaced displays the Blake Fitzpatrick-trained 4yo indicated he was back on the improve in recording a 4.3m 3rd to Platinum Revolution. With Sofia Arvidsson taking over the driving duties the new pairing met with immediate success when Wow Hes A Rock Star hit the line strongly in defeating Bankers Gold and Danceforme. This is a suitable challenge for the son of Rock N Roll Heaven. EVERYBODYLOVEDRAY (7) looms as a threat following his 1.3m 2nd to Crunch Time a week ago when he made up many metres over the final stages. The 7yo strikes a suitable challenge, compared to recent engagements, so don’t dismiss him as a major player. HANDS ON (8) is usually around the mark when it comes to the multiples and should be included as an exotic player while ALTA EQUUS (6) and BETTOR TO BE TRICKY (2) remain in the multiple mix.
COLLINA KAY JAY 1, Wow Hes A Rock Star 2, Everybodylovedray 3, Hands On 4.
An intriguing clash is set to unfold when two exciting square-gaiters in DOFF YOUR CAP (12) and FUNKY MONKEY (13) head around to the start. Both will be confronted by a 30m hcp and, the pair also boast solid stand start stats. However, the advantage is with the Jarrod Alchin-trained son of Peak DNK, which has peak fitness over Funky Monkey, which is resuming after an aborted Inter Dominion campaign back in late November, early December. Since arriving from New Zealand Doff Your Cap has contested four races for Jarrod, with a couple of impressive wins and equally impressive effort in defeat, a second to Credit Master in the G1 Aquagait Equine Mile. The 6yo found a 50m hcp beyond him at Bathurst during the carnival, which resulted in a brave 3.2m 2nd to Affaire De Cover when an odds-on elect. Fit and safe from behind the tapes, Doff Your Cap will take a power of beating. FUNKY MONKEY (13) became a huge hit on arriving from NZ, quickly putting together a long-list of impressive displays in becoming a fan favourite. A throat problem was a major factor in the mare’s two disappointing outings, the latter an 80m 9th to Lotamuscle at Bathurst on Dec 1. With the problem fixed and two slashing trials next to her name, Funky Monkey looks poised for another successful term of racing. SON OF PATRICK (9) also handles these conditions and with a 20m hcp advantage over the two ‘big guns’ the 4yo is capable of being in the mix for a long way, despite mixing his form of late. Searching for suitable exotic runners and REVY JAY (10), despite being out of sorts of late, goes into the mix, along with SUNNY GEE (11), MR OLYMPUS (2), AGENT MAORI (3) and SCENIC SKY (7).
DOFF YOUR CAP 1, Funky Monkey 2, Son Of Patrick 3, Revy Jay 4.
The G3 Golden Easter Egg will highlight the card and it is hard to go past the Mark Hewitt-trained and driven NOT TO BE DENIED (3), with the filly’s name set to stand for exactly that as she looks to covert her 10th outing into win – number seven. Following an encouraging 5.6m 6th to Madrid in the G1 2YO NSWBC Final, the daughter of Always B Miki then recorded an easy win at Bathurst in mid-November, despite racing without cover from the outset, prior to heading to the paddock following a solid 3.4m 2nd to Pas De Cheval in the NSWBC Western Region Final on Dec 1. It was back to Bathurst on March 30, with another comfortable win coming her way, despite covering extra ground in doing so. This will be a tougher contest for Not To Be Denied, but the extra fitness is a plus and the draw is an added bonus. Capable of competing from various roles, Not To Be Denied should occupy a favourable role from the outset. CAPTN ME (6) won her opening three starts for new mentor Jack Trainor before starting a $1.15 chance in posting a 5.6m 2nd to Not To Be Denied after having every chance, mostly in the lead role. A wider gate awaits but that won’t be a major concern as the filly will no doubt ‘hit the ground running’ in being in the thick of the action from the outset. Mentor Cameron Ross has STENO (2) racing in fine fashion after the Sweet Lou filly recorded easy wins at Young and Penrith, respectively. Ideally drawn in two, Steno will tackle this challenge full of confidence and, as she has shown in the past, this type of assignment is well within her reach. MISS CHANTILLY (8) was responsible for a big effort in the G1 NSW Oaks, posting an 8.4m 4th to Just Hope. A stylish win at Wagga followed, with a 1.6m 2nd to Jungle Bay recorded at Bathurst being a respectable effort, despite facing the starter as an odds-on favourite. MISS EX (10 has drawn well and that will enhance her claims when it comes to the multiples.
NOT TO BE DENIED 1, Captn Me 2, Steno 3, Miss Chantilly 4.
This race should develop into an intriguing contest, courtesy of a few outstanding mares, which are racing in the ‘peak of their powers’. Goulburn trainer-driver Brad Hewitt will be represented by the classy OUR COWGIRLS N LACE (5), which is coming off a career best effort in defeat. Following a solid hat-trick of wins, against suitable opposition, the daughter of Bettors Delight went to another level when a solid-finishing 2.3m 2nd behind Stylish Memphis in the G2 Sibelia Stakes. The champion mare again had the better of Our Cowgirls N Lace in the G1 Queen Elizabeth Mile (Ladyship Mile) on Feb 26, however, the mare clearly indicated that she was an outstanding talent in recording a closing 3.2m fourth. Freshened and handily drawn, Our Cowgirls N Lace is entitled to top billing. In saying that, B K SWY (6) has also gone to another level and her fast-finishing and eye-catching 1.7m 3rd to Stylish Memphis in the above-mentioned feature race, was also of the highest quality. The daughter of Big Jim is likely to settle off the pace, but the small field will ensure that B K Swy is well within striking distance when the pressure is applied. Although THE HONEY QUEEN (8) recorded an 18.6m last to Stylish Memphis in the QE11, the run was a lot better than it may first appear at first glance. To be beaten that far was more than acceptable as the mare was left exposed three wide, two wide and again three deep, en route to finishing where she did. The outside gate awaits The Honey Queen, but with two fine wins coming her way since the G1 experience, the daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven should attack this race with plenty of zest from the outset. PEARL HARBOUR (3) and TOTAL DIVA (4) will look to secure a role in the exotics.
OUR COWGIRLS N LACE 1, B K Swy 2, The Honey Queen 3, Pearl Harbour 4.
Although it is nearly a year to the day that BAD TO THE BONE (5) last greeted the judge, the 5yo does appear suitably placed in this field and that should be enough to encourage the Paul Fitzpatrick-trained son of Bettors Delight to again pay the winner’s circle a visit. Most of his recent efforts, since crossing the Tasman once again, have been handy in better class races, with his latest effort being an 18m 6th to Ranger Bomb a week ago when he was always well back in the ruck. An improved draw is an added plus and with the prospect of attacking this race from the outset Bad To The Bone appeals as the one to beat. AQUA SANCTA (8) is coming off a stylish win a week ago when he finished strongly in defeating Mister Magic Man and Roman Aviator. With only seven rivals drawn inside, the outside gate shouldn’t be a big disadvantage to the talented 5yo, which is under the astute care of Jarrod Alchin and that means that the driving skills of Cam Hart will again be on display. ROMAN AVIATOR (3) hit the line nicely in finishing a 7.7m 3rd to Aqua Sancta and with another good draw next to his name, the Corey Peterson trained and driven 7yo should again be pro-active in the finish. GOLDEN YEAR (6) has been freshened since his latest disappointing 26.2m 8th to Cruz back in mid-February, but the 7yo had been performing soundly prior and he is capable, while fresh, of giving plenty of cheek. ALWAYS ROCKIN (1), PUMP THE BRAKES (4), which was far from being disgraced during the ID carnival, and UNDER WORKED (7) should be included in exotic discussions.
BAD TO THE BONE 1, Aqua Sancta 2, Roman Aviator 3, Golden Year 4.
- MICK KO’CASS