• apg mixed strip 22
    garrards 2020
  • Racing Tips
    Finding you a winner at Menangle Saturday night Finding you a winner at Menangle Saturday night

    THE ONE TO BEAT: Tough Love.

    RACE ONE: Despite being confronted by the outside gate, and being first-up since a spell, ILIKEMEBETTOR (11) appeals as the one to beat. Prepared... Finding you a winner at Menangle Saturday night

    RACE ONE:

    Despite being confronted by the outside gate, and being first-up since a spell, ILIKEMEBETTOR (11) appeals as the one to beat. Prepared by Belinda McCarthy and to be driven husband Luke, the son of Bettors Delight has been off the scene since the end of January when a 24.6m eighth to Spring In His Step at Melton. Prior to that performance the quality 5yo dead-heated with Spring In His Step at Ballarat after a number of solid displays at this particular venue. With a pleasing second to the classy Jilliby Kung Fu, which is now under the care of Team McCarthy, in a Penrith trial behind him, Ilikemebettor is bound to make his presence felt. ARMA RENEGADE (10) is the obvious one to beat as the mare is racing in the peak of her powers, courtesy of a hat-trick of winning displays. The Brad Hewitt trained and driven 4yo has drawn just one spot better than Ilikemebettor, but the mare does have superior race fitness and that will be a big plus. I AM MARQUEZ (9) is also in the best form of his career following four-straight appearances in the winner’s circle. Trainer Peter Russo is spruiking his 7yo is ready to continue the good work, despite having just over a month off after scoring narrowly at Bathurst. With the three major players all drawing deep, the early charge for supremacy will be intriguing and, may go a long way towards deciding the winner. Another Brad Hewitt runner in HEZ DUSTY (6) is the likely ‘fly in the ointment’ after his 6.5m 2nd to Arma Renegade a couple of weeks ago when first-up from a spell. Fitter for the run and draw handily in the middle section of the mobile, the son of For A Reason, has the talent to again be regarded as a threat. The Blake Fitzpatrick duo of PEARL HARBOUR (2) and WOW HES A ROCK STAR (3) have drawn well and will assist as exotic contenders while a fitter MY ULTIMATE ANDY (5) and last-start winner DOUBLE ACT (7) also have claims in that regard.

    ILIKEMEBETTOR 1, Arma Renegade 2, I Am Marquez 3, Hez Dusty 4.

    RACE TWO:

    Interesting contest with HES CHIMING (9) linking up with Jason Grimson and MAJOR JELLIS (6) stepping out for his first run for Belinda McCarthy following a creditable career in NZ. Contesting just 25 races to date, HES CHIMING (9) has had a ‘stop-start’ career but has always been a talent as his 11 wins and eight placings would suggest. The son of Betterthancheddar has been freshened since posting a 10.2m sixth to Aphorism at Bathurst on March 25. A stylish winner at Headquarters back in early January, Hes Chiming has drawn deep but is likely to be in the thick of the action from the outset and with Sofia Arvidsson driving in superb form, the 7yo will prove hard to beat. MAJOR JELLIS (6) has six wins and 11 placings to show for his 37 starts, with his latest effort resulting in a fifth to Old Town Road at Alexandra Park back on March 25. The son of Art Major hasn’t been to the trials, but Jack Callaghan stated during the week in an interview that the 5yo has been pleasing the stable and is ready to give a good account. ROBYNS PLAYBOY (10) contested the opening two rounds of the Inter Dominion back in late November, early December, before having an issue and leaving the series with a couple of moderate efforts. The son of Shadow Play has been trialling well and according to Robert Morris is poised for a bold return to the track so don’t ignore his prospects. SUMMIT SPECIAL (5) is always thereabouts but doesn’t win out of turn. The 7yo son of Mr Feelgood is coming off a solid-finishing second to Roman Aviator, beaten narrowly in the process. Don’t dismiss Summit Special as a value threat, and a suitable exotic player, and that also applies to SMOOTH BAHT (8), which been unplaced in his past two starts, but his form prior is certainly good enough to give this a shake. SWAGGIE SHAOON (3) has drawn ideally and the veteran is racing better than his numbers would suggest so keep safe when collecting multiple runners. CHEVRON ART (11) was costly and disappointing at Penrith last time out, however, Jack Trainor is expecting a better showing, despite the bad draw.

    HES CHIMING 1, Major Jellis 2, Robyns Playboy 3, Summit Special 4.

    RACE THREE:

    It is hard to go past MACH SHARD (10) as the one to beat, despite the presence of a wide gate, as the Belinda McCarthy-trained 7yo looks to complete a hat-trick of wins. Following his stylish win in the Wagga Cup when he powered home to defeat Balraj and Max Delight, the son of Mach Three again hit the line with intent, this time accounting for The Mustang and Bad To The Bone over the 2300m of the Menangle track. Due to draw and the speed drawn close to the pegs, Mach Shard is likely to be saved until the home turn comes into play before emerging as the one to beat. Jason Grimson will provide two of the main threats to Mach Shard in STRINGRAY TARA (2) and FIRE FOX (1). Both are racing in fine fashion but STINGRAY TARA (2) is slightly favoured following a brave 7m third to Cash N Flow over this course and distance a few weeks ago. Left facing the breeze, the 6yo son of Bettors Delight held his ground, despite a 26.8 third quarter, which was followed with a 26.9 final 400m. Prior to that outing Stingray Tara won three-on-end, culminating with an all-the-way win in the Renshaw Cup at Penrith. Amanda Turnbull, who had the reins on that occasion, jumps back into the sulky. FIRE FOX (1) has had three runs for the stable, winning in fine style either side of a gritty second to Stingray Tara. From gate one Jack Callaghan will have the option of dictating or taking cover. Either way the son of Sweet Lou should be a factor once again. FOUROEIGHT (11) has been placed in the care of Jack Trainor following a couple of safely held displays, the latter a 29.2m eighth to Ideal Dan in the Young Pacers Cup back on March 11. The 9yo has drawn the outside gate but he stays under notice when it comes to multiple transactions. The consistent ROCKIN MARTY (6) also warrants attention when forming exotic investments while last start winners WHEREYABINBOPPIN (5) and DOUBLE ENCOUNTER (8) also have prospects in that regard.

    MACH SHARD 1, Stingray Tara 2, Fire Fox 3, Fouroeight 4.

    RACE FOUR:

    This race contains four, five definite contenders for the top spot, including the Brad Hewitt trained and driven OUR COWGIRLS N LACE (6) which will appreciate a better draw, compared to gate nine when a 6m 5th to Town Echo a couple of weeks ago. Restrained in competing from a midfield role, the daughter of Bettors Delight continued to grind her way into contention, however, on this occasion the mare was unable to be pro-active in the finish. The prospect of securing a role closer to the action will enhance the claims of Our Cowgirls N Lace. Jack Trainor will be represented by TOWN ECHO (8) and B K SWY (7), with the latter being his choice of drives. TOWN ECHO has contested four races for her new mentor and remains unbeaten following an all-the-way win over Pearl Harbour and Smooth Rye. The daughter of Art Major will be confronted by her toughest test since crossing the Tasman, but the mare will have Chris Alford taking the reins and she can’t be dismissed from the main bracket of contenders. Trainor is keen on the prospects of B K SWY, with the Big Jim mare also moving in a few spots after drawing the outside gate when a 3.7m 4th to Town Echo in the same race as Our Cowgirls N Lace. B K Swy did a big job in recording a 1.7m third to Stylish Memphis in the G1 Queen Elizabeth 11, three runs ago and a repeat of that effort would see proving hard to hold out. The Belinda McCarthy stable will provide another two quality mares in THE HONEY QUEEN (10) and FAIRY TINKABELL (11) and while the draw hasn’t been kind, the pair will have plenty to offer when the winning post comes into view. The Honey Queen has won her past two, and although a harder task awaits, the 4yo will be competitive. Fairy Tinkabell has been safely held in her past two starts, both won by Cash N Flow, and while the draw is a concern, the 6yo will appreciate the return to her own sex and that will give her the confidence to give this a big shake.

    OUR COWGIRLS N LACE 1, Town Echo 2, B K Swy 3, The Honey Queen 4.

    RACE FIVE:

    Classy filly TOUGH LOVE (7) will be looking to claim the NSW Oaks-NSW Derby double when the Rickie Alchin trained and driven daughter of Love You takes on the boys for the ‘blue ribbon’ event. Unbeaten in four runs since resuming from a spell, Tough Love led throughout in accounting for Amandine and Taimate Sass in the G1 NSW Oaks a week ago, with the runner-up giving the odds-on favourite a fright over the final 50m, cutting back the margin to a head. The filly has drawn wider in six, which will be less the reserve, compared to gate two in the Oaks, however, Tough Love looks poised to again be a contender for the lead role and the trophy at the end of the 2300m. While Tough Love is entitled to such a high rating, the Chris Lang trained and driven COURAGE STRIDE (6) will head around to the start as a definite threat. Peaking in condition following three runs back from a spell, the past couple justifying his odds-on quote, the Muscle Hill colt will also be keen to find the pegs ahead of his rivals and if he dictates, then expect the Victorian to take a power of running down. After breaking her maiden status when resuming from a spell, AMANDINE (1) was responsible for a solid display in the Oaks, with the Anton Golino-trained filly making up many metres over the final stages. Josh Duggan will be looking to present the daughter of Village Mystic with another kind run before staking his claim. Former Kiwi HARRY STAMPER (8) is bound to create plenty of interest following a promising start to his career under the care of Victorian mentor Joe Pace. Arriving with two wins and a placing from a mere seven starts, the Majestic Son gelding overcame a back row draw when successful at Bendigo a couple of weeks ago. Despite drawing wide Harry Stamper looks to be the ‘x-factor’. KINGS GUARD (11) has drawn the outside gate but strips fitter for an encouraging 6m 2nd to Harry Stamper and with Jack Trainor booked to handle the son of Love You, claims as an exotic runner should be considered. SPEEDY LOVER (10) is also a value chance for the multiples while one of the outsiders in ITZFERGIETIME (2) should be given some consideration after striking trouble on the home turn when making a play for an exotic role in the Oaks, instead crossing the line a well-beaten seventh to Tough Love.

    TOUGH LOVE 1, Courage Stride 2, Amandine 3, Harry Stamper 4.

    RACE SIX:

    After being washed out during the ‘big wet’ period a few weeks ago, the G3 Golden Easter Egg will be one of the feature events and it is hard to go past COME SAY HI (4) as the filly to beat. A member of the Belinda McCarthy team, Come Say Hi will be looking for a change of luck in a feature race after a closing 6.2m 3rd to Soho Rhapsody in the G1 Gold Bracelet at Bathurst, then an eye-catching 6.2m second to Just Hope in the Wagga Oaks a month ago. The daughter of Bettors Delight has an emphatic Penrith trial win heading into this contest, and coupled with a handy draw, Come Say Hi may well be saying ‘hi’ to the judge at the completion of the 1609m challenge. SOHO RHAPSODY (10) has been freshened since springing an upset win in the Gold Bracelet, and although confronted by the outside gate, the daughter of American Ideal must be treated with a higher degree of respect. With the Rickie Alchin stable ‘riding the crest of a winning wave’, Soho Rhapsody is capable of adding another trophy to the mantlepiece. MISS EX (9) is a gritty daughter of Well Said, and although the draw hasn’t been kind, the David Thorn-trained filly can’t be taken lightly. Despite working overtime in the G1 APG 3YO Fillies Final, Miss Ex fought on bravely in recording a 4.2m second to Steno. NOT TO BE DENIED (8) stepped away from her comfort zone a week ago when a determined 9.8m 4th to Whereyabinboppin. Back to her own sex and age the Mark Hewitt trained and driven daughter of Always B Miki can’t be ignored as a threat. When it comes to the multiples and MISS CHANTILLY (6), IDEAL IN DREAMS (1), A DUSTY DANCE (2) and CAPTN ME (3) are worthy of consideration.

    COME SAY HI 1, Soho Rhapsody 2, Miss Ex 3, Not To Be Denied 4.

    RACE SEVEN:

    Following a superb return to racing after spending the past 16 months away from the track, GUS AN MAORI (10) is worthy of plenty of attention when it comes to the running of the Bulli Trotter Cup, with the G3 event conducted under stand conditions. Formerly based in Victoria under the care of Matty Craven, the 10yo posted a couple of pleasing trials since joining the Blake Fitzpatrick team, en route to stepping out in a 1609m event here last week. Restrained at the start from his wide draw, Gus An Māori worked to the line strongly over the concluding stages, which resulted in a solid 3m second behind another Victorian and a definite threat again, Kyvalley Chief. With the benefit of that run and a suitable 10m hcp, the son of Angus Hall will have little trouble with the tape start as he has collected eight wins and the same number of minor placings from his 38 starts in handicap events. Sofia Arvidsson, who has a strong association with Gus An Māori, will again take the drive. ALWAYS READY (12) had every chance in the above-mentioned race when he led before folding late in recording a 5.4m third. The Anton Golino-trained son of Ready Cash overcame a 20m hcp when he proved too good for his rivals in taking out the Bendigo Cup, defeating proven performers in Illawong Stardust and Robbie Royale. The 30m hcp is daunting, but the 6yo has the class to overcome that hurdle. KYVALLEY CHIEF (11) has won four of his 11 starts under these conditions and with a determined win next to his name, just a week ago, the son of Muscle Hill will make his presence felt, despite the 20m hcp. ALDEBARAN URSULA (6) returns from a spell but the KerryAnn Morris-trained 4yo mare has had three solid trials in readiness for her return. The mare has contested just two stand events, winning one but that was an easier challenge when comparing it to this field. AFFAIRE DE COVER (4), RAVE ON HALL (5) and ARAIGNEE FLAIR (7) are worth keeping in the mix when it comes to value exotic players.

    GUS AN MAORI 1, Always Ready 2, Kyvalley Chief 3, Aldebaran Ursula 4.

    RACE EIGHT:

    Although confronted by a wide gate, talented Victorian WHERES SEGGY (10) still looks suitably placed in an open contest. Prepared by Joe Pace and to be driven by James Herbertson, who continues to drive in superb fashion, Wheres Seggy led in scoring at Geelong before battling on stoutly from the one-one when a gritty 5m 4th to Franco Jolto at Melton a couple of weeks ago. Versatile in his racing pattern, the 5yo is likely to make his presence felt early. RED REACTOR (2) has drawn ideally in what will be the pole position if the reserve remains on the bench. The David Thorn-trained 7yo son of Auckland Reactor hasn’t greeted the judge since this time a year ago, but he has been a reliable performer along the way. Two weeks ago, the chestnut again hit the line with intent, which resulted in a solid 8m 4th to Justa Little Bit. A kind run behind the speed will result in Red Reactor again being in the mix when the judge calls a halt. With the benefit of two runs back from a spell, ROCKIN WITH ELVIS (4) is bound to chart highly after drawing suitably. Dictating the terms at this venue a couple of weeks ago, the Brad Hewitt trained and driven 5yo was run down over the final stages by Schouten Island. Expect another competitive showing from the son of Rock N Roll Heaven. ARDENS ACE (7) has been freshened since a determined 1.7m 2nd behind Zoliver and, as per usual, the 4yo son of Art Major is capable of being involved in the outcome. Exotic players should also turn their attention ALWAYS ROCKIN (3), SCHOUTEN ISLAND (5) and CRAZY SHIPPO (8).

    WHERES SEGGY 1, Red Reactor 2, Rockin With Elvis 3, Ardens Ace 4.

    RACE NINE:

    Following a brilliant display in the sulky at Bathurst on Wednesday night, Amanda Turnbull will be looking to continue the good run when she partners the talented LOCHIEL (10). Also prepared by Amanda, the Lincoln Royal gelding has been below his best in each of his past two starts, the latter when an 18.5m 5th to Town Echo at Headquarters a few weeks ago. Despite the wide gate, Lochiel still looks handily placed in this field and with the prospect of sitting back and waiting until the home straight comes into play, the winning post will definitely be well within his sights. The Bernie Hewitt trained and driven VOODOO LOU (7) has been thereabouts in each of her past five, indicating that a win wasn’t far away. With the stable enjoying a great run of late, the 5yo mare is capable of adding to the success. THE TEXAS RANGER (4), despite being a consistent performer, hasn’t been seen in the winner’s circle since December/2020. The 6yo son of American Ideal has been in contention in most of his recent starts and he is worthy of more than a passing thought after drawing well. SMOOTH OVERARM (8), which is also prepared by Amanda Turnbull, remains in the multiple mix, along with IMASPORTSSTAR (5), COLLINA KAY JAY (11) and FOREVER YIN (6). The veteran DON BOSTON (3) didn’t appreciate retirement and strips fitter for a 3.2m 3rd to Cala Jane at Bathurst recently, his first outing since last October. Although tested here, the 13yo is bound to make things interesting if he finds the front and keeps them running.

    LOCHIEL 1, Voodoo Lou 2, The Texas Ranger 3, Smooth Overarm 4.

    • MIKE KO’CASS

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