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    Fitzy’s ready for a big night at Menangle Fitzy’s ready for a big night at Menangle

    LOOKS THE GOODS: Impressive former Kiwi pacer South Coast Arden gets his chance at Menangle on Saturday night.

    RACE ONE: Returning to a suitable assignment, but drawing the outside gate as a result, the Paul Fitzpatrick-trained UNFAZED (11) should be unfazed by... Fitzy’s ready for a big night at Menangle

    RACE ONE:
    Returning to a suitable assignment, but drawing the outside gate as a result, the Paul Fitzpatrick-trained UNFAZED (11) should be unfazed by the situation in proving the one to beat. Successful at Menangle four runs ago when he defeated Cya Art, which will be going around in the Hunter Cup on Saturday night, the son of Auckland Reactor has been placed in two of his next three assignments behind The Croupier and Our Cosmic Major, respectively, with a 7.7m 5th to Smiffys Terror sandwiched between those two commendable efforts. Sean Grayling is likely to let the opening stages of the 2300m unfold before launching his claim. The tough, talented and consistent 7yo should be too good for his rivals over the final stages. There are a number of threats with IM IN TROUBLE (4) more than capable of proving hard to beat. Prepared by Seaton Grima and to be driven by Jack Brown, Im In Trouble has greeted the judge in two of his past five starts while remaining competitive in his other engagements. The son of Art major recorded a creditable 8m 5th to Unfazed three runs ago before contesting his next two races at Penrith. The 5yo easily accounted for Ardens Delight and Blazing Shannon when he overcame a back row draw and a three deep trip home, prior to recording a costly 5.6m 4th behind Freddy Singh after striking some interference, once again from a tricky back row draw. Gate four should allow Jack to have Im In Trouble prominently placed from the outset. TALENT AGENT (1), which is now under the care of Chelsea Prothero, Seaton Grima’s partner, has drawn ideally in gate one, with the son of The Gold Ace looking to stretch his winning sequence to five. Talent Agent has led in each of those wins, and although he will be stepping out over the longer trip of 2300m, the 6yo, which will be driven by Lleyton Green, will have the opportunity to dictate or take a sit. In greeting the judge last time out, Talent Agent defeated subsequent Tamworth City Cup winner, Missed The Truth. ARDENS ACE (7) is coming off a half-neck 2nd to the classy Our Cosmic Major last week, with Unfazed grabbing third, and once again the 6yo is capable of a competitive effort. From the middle of the line, Ardens Ace will use his gate speed to be prominent from the outset. Exotic players should consider TUPPENCE (2), LONGFELLOW (6) and last-start winner DARK TERROR (8).
    UNFAZED 1, Im In Trouble 2, Talent Agent 3, Ardens Ace 4.
    RACE TWO:
    The classy MY ULTIMATE SNOWY (5) will appreciate the return to his home track following a costly appearance in a heat of the Golden Guitar at Tamworth two weeks ago. Resuming from a spell at Penrith on January 11, following a 30.4, 7th to Captains Knock in the G1 NSWBC 3YO C&G’s Final at Menangle last October, the Jarrod Alchin-conditioned son of Sweet Lou was untroubled in defeating Ideal Redemption and Sight To See. Ten days later and after drawing the inside of the back row, My Ultimate Snowy was soon into the running line before circling the field out three deep in an attempt to greet the judge. However, My Ultimate Snowy was unable to justify his odds-on quote in finishing a 9.9m 6th to Sir Richard Lee. Fitter, suitably drawn and back to the bigger track where he has won three of his six career wins, My Ultimate Snowy should show a return to winning form. After resuming from a spell with a hat-trick of wins, the KerryAnn Morris-trained NEPTUNE (1) is capable of bouncing back to that type of form following a well-beaten effort in the New Year’s Gift Final a few weeks ago. Leading throughout for a stylish heat win, the son of Bettors Delight drew one for the far tougher challenge awaiting him, with a kind three peg role coming his way. However, Neptune was unable to take advantage of the situation in recording a 24.2m last to Our Cosmic Major in a faster time of 1:50.2. With a big opinion of the 4yo, Robert Morris will have the option of dictating the terms of the 1609m challenge or take a sit. -way, Neptune should be in the mix when the judge calls a halt. The Neil Day stable has been enjoying a good run of late on the country circuit, but this time around his classy 4yo KING TINTIN (6) will be looking to add to the success at Headquarters. The chestnut son of Tintin In America finished a creditable 18m 5th to Captains Knock in the above-mentioned G1 event at the end of last October, prior to completing his 3yo career with a 21.5m 6th to extreme Sea in a heat of the 3YO C&G’s NSWBC Regional championship at Menangle on November 28. King Tintin won a Goulburn trial in good style and is ready to give a good account. STRAVINSKY (4) led in defeating Dark Terror, which has won since, and Major Statement at this venue a couple of weeks ago and from his good draw the 6yo will again be in the thick of the action from the outset in making his presence felt. The Michael Formosa trained and driven MCCRIKEY (2) will be having his first Menangle experience after debuting for the stable with a solid 4m 7th to Luvbite in a heat of the Golden Guitar at Tamworth. Fitter for his first outing in two months and moving from the back row into gate two is also a plus for the 6yo son of Rock N Roll Heaven. A fitter DADNDAVE (3), which posted a pleasing 6.3m 2nd to Dark Terror last week, is an exotic contender, along with CAULONIA COURAGE (7) and CELESTIAL GOSSIP (8).
    OUR ULTIMATE SNOWY 1, Neptune 2, King Tintin 3, Stravinsky 4.
    RACE THREE:
    Former Kiwi YOUTAKEMYBREATHAWAY (1) will be hoping to having her rivals gasping for breath when the mare steps out for her first Menangle assignment and the second for Jason Grimson. The 8yo daughter of Bettors Delight was having her first outing in six weeks when she stepped out for a 1710m challenge at Ballarat on January 20, her first assignment for her new mentor. Driven by Greg Sugars and drawing gate one, the 106-start veteran raced roughly at the start before recovering and racing without cover when a determined 2m 2nd to the talented Norms Lady, which had a kinder run before arriving late to score. With the benefit of that outing and competing on the specious Menangle circuit, Youtakemybreathaway will have the chance to go one better. Cam Hart will be looking to take full advantage of drawing the pole position. Talented mare POLLY PUT KETTLEON (8) has been freshened since a solid effort in recording an 8.2m 6th to Unfazed at Menangle back in mid-December. The Sofia Arvidsson trained and driven daughter of Courage Under Fire, prior to that effort, had been competing in races won by the classy Victorian Rakero Rebel, Mach Da Vinci and Taipo, respectively, so this challenge will be fa more suitable. A recent third to Fire Fox in a Menangle trial has the 7yo ready for a competitive display.
    The Jack Trainor conditioned and driven ARDENS DELIGHT (7) will ensure that Youtakemybreathaway doesn’t have everything her own way. Since scoring at Penrith six starts ago, Ardens Delight has been placed in four of her next five, with a game 5.7m 4th to Our Cosmic Major in the mix. With Jack Brown in the sulky, the 6yo daughter of Bettors Delight led when a gritty 1.8m 3rd to Its Ebonynivory and Sporty Dancer in the Adore Me Stakes two weeks ago. The mare has drawn deeper but has the gate speed to be prominently placed. When forming multiple transactions the David Thorn-trained NELLY BIGTIME (2) should be included following a fast-finishing 17.6m 2nd to the classy Illavabubbles here last week, with gate two being a big plus. SUGAR FOR MY HONEY (30 has also drawn well and is an honest type which is capable of adding some value to the pay-out. ITS EBONYNIVORY (9) resumed with a determined win over Sporty Dancer and Ardens Delight and apart from stripping fitter, the Luke McCarthy-trained mare is also well above-average in the talent department.
    YOUTAKEMYBREATHAWAY 1, Polly Put Kettleon 2, Ardens Delight 3, Nelly Bigtime 4.
    RACE FOUR:
    In one of the more open races on the card, FLYING COLOURS (6) appeals as the one to beat. The 4yo son of Vincent is coming off a deserving win when she led in scoring by 17.6m in defeating Keayang Crippa and Mothers Delight at Wagga recently. Prior to that display the David Micallef-trained gelding had finished runner-up in his previous three assignments. That was just his second win from 23 attempts, with his other win being recorded at this venue. Drawing the middle of the line, Flying Colours will again go in search of the lead, a role which should see him take a power of beating now that he has had a boost in confidence. David’s talented son Blake will again take the reins. The Michael Hawke-trained MAJOR HUSS (1) will be out to record his first win at this venue after placings in seven of his past 16 attempts. The son of Art Major has been racing consistently on the country arena and is coming off a closing and determined head 2nd to Ice Blaster at Goulburn on January 22. From the ideal draw the 8yo should be able to enjoy a cosy trip, which will allow him to keep plenty of energy in reserve for the run home. Darren Elder has REPARTEE (4) racing in peak form with the mare looking to stretch her winning sequence to four. The 9yo daughter of Well Said has won all three at Newcastle, the latest when an ideal run in the one-one, resulted in a solid display in defeating Be Good Benny and Bat Matson. Blake Hughes will continue his successful association with the Repartee and from a good draw, the pair will again be a force. The Mat Rue-trained BEE OKAY (12) has drawn the outside gate, however, the 5yo mare has been in fine form of late and is deserving of further attention. With Jett Turnbull in the sulky the daughter of A Rocknroll Dance led when a comfortable winner over Bo Duke and Hunk Of Spunk at Bathurst. There are a number of other chances, which should be linked to the exotics, including BO DUKE (2), ICE BLASTER (3) and SMASH IT (8).
    FLYING COLOURS 1, Major Huss 2, Repartee 3, Bee Okay 4.
    RACE FIVE:
    One of the ‘better bets’ on the card appears in this race as the Joe and Mary Rando-trained LINE UP (4) should have his supporters lining up to collect. The lightly-raced 7yo has been responsible for three outstanding efforts since being forced to sit on the sidelines once again following his 15.6m last to Better Eclipse at Melton last August. The classy son of Bettors Delight resumed on January 6 with a fast-finishing and eye-catching half-head 2nd to Wow Hes A Rock Star, then a week later Line Up posted a gritty 8.6m 3rd to Mach Da Vinci and Magician. Fitter for those two efforts, Line Up recorded his best effort since resuming a week ago when a brave 6.6m 3rd to Hi Manameisjeff and South Coast Arden in a time of 1:48.6. left exposed outside of the leader and eventual winner, Line Up indicated he was back and ready to win. Peaking in condition and dropping back to a suitable challenge, with a handy draw also a plus, Line Up will take a power of beating as he looks to record his first win since scoring here back in February 2022. The Luke McCarthy-trained SMIFFYS TERROR (5) finished strongly in defeating Hunter Cup hopeful Cya Art and Stingray Tara, the latter a subsequent winner, when he finished the 2300m assignment off strongly. Following that return to winning form, the former Kiwi was responsible for a creditable effort here last week in recording a 9.3m 5th to his classy stablemate, Our Cosmic Major. With a better draw next to his name the 6yo son of Terror To Love should loom as a threat. ZEUSS BROMAC (8) has been for two creditable efforts since a spell and as a result of those outings, the Paul Fitzpatrick-trained 7yo should be ready to be involved in the finish. Resuming with a 10m 5th to Mach Da Vinci, Zeuss Bromac worked home stoutly in recording an 11.6m 5th behind Taipo last week. Fitter and confronted by a suitable assignment, the son of Bettors Delight has the chance to be involved in the finish. A fitter DANGERZONE (2) should be included in multiple investments following a handy return to racing at Headquarters a couple of weeks ago. Stepping out for his first outing since last November, the 5yo son of Gotta Go Cullect enjoyed a useful run, three pegs, prior to working home soundly in recording a 3.9m 4th to Stingray Tara. This will be a harder challenge for Dangerzone, but the higher level of fitness and kind draw will at least give him the chance to be thereabouts when the judge calls a halt. It is hard to see the balance of the field being a serious threat, which leaves MALCOLMS RHYTHM (7), DOUBLE ENCOUNTER (6) and MAJOR JELLIS (3) as possible exotic contenders.
    LINE UP 1, Smiffys Terror 2, Zeuss Bromac 3, Dangerzone 4.
    RACE SIX:
    The next ‘special’ on the card is SOUTH COAST ARDEN (2), who like Line Up, has been responsible for three outstanding displays since a spell. Trainer Paul Fitzpatrick sent his star 7yo to the paddock following a determined 5.4m 6th to Rock N Roll Doo in the Len Smith Mile at Menangle back on September 2. Resuming on December 16 with a tough 2.3m 3rd to Braeview Kelly at Headquarters, South Coast Arden, like so many others, has found it difficult to pass Hi Manameisjeff, but he has been brave in attempting to do so. The son of Somebeachsomewhere tried hard when behind Hi Manameisjeff in the P. J. Hall FFA, with a 6.2m 2nd coming his way. From the same role in running last week, South Coast Arden continued to find the line with plenty of gusto, but this time missed by the half-head in passing the Jason Grimson-trained sensation. This time there is no hi Manameisjeff, with a good draw (two) also an added bonus. That appears to be a recipe for success, as far as, South Coast Arden is concerned. The intriguing runner is BOOTS ELECTRIC (5), a classy son of Somebeachsomewhere, who hasn’t enjoyed a care-free career to date. The 7yo has contested just 35 races, winning 12 and being placed on a further eight occasions. After being under the care of Anthony Butt and Russell Jack, Boots Electric will be hoping to ‘start all over again’, this time as a member of the Joe and Mary Rando team. The last time Boots Electric was seen under race conditions was April 23/2022 when he finished a 20.7m 4th to Phoenix Prince in the Mildura Cup. With the benefit of three solid trials, the latest resulting in a gritty 2nd to Missed The Truth, the Tamworth City Cup winner at his next start, Boots Electric indicated that he was now heading in the right direction. Finishing behind Boots Electric in that trial were Expensive Ego, Loyalist, which has won since, and Dadndave, a pleasing 2nd here last week on his return. An exciting prospect, Boots Electric may well need the run, however, he is worth the gamble on sheer ability alone. And, maybe, the quote will be enticing as from this point onwards, the odds may be a lot shorter in coming starts. MACH DA VINCI (7) had been in superb form before breaking at the start and losing all chance when a 21.3m last to Hi Manameisjeff a couple of weeks ago. That was a rare display of bad manners by the veteran and he is bound to be a serious threat. With Jack Callaghan heading to Melton to partner Spirit Of St Louis in the Hunter Cup, Peter Hanson has booked Jack Trainor to guide the 7yo to victory. James Rattray will be represented by BOOM (1) and MAGICIAN (6), with the former to be driven by Taylah Osmond. BOOM has drawn ideally in one and that will allow Taylah to secure a kind run behind the speed and on the markers. The 7yo son of Alta Christiano has been consistent in races of this nature of late and is coming off a sound 9.7m 4th to Taipo a week ago when he settled three pegs, prior to sliding back a further couple of spots approaching the final bend. MAGICIAN (6) will be driven by James and the fourth-paced Eureka runner will be looking to be involved in the finish after a 16m 7th to Taipo last week. The 5yo has been runner-up in two of this five starts since crossing Bass Strait to join the Exeter mentor, with the son of Sweet Lou having little in running on a number of occasions. STAR MAJOR (9), which is also under the care of James, is a suitable exotic runner, along with LOYALIST (10), which overcome an illness following his WA Cup appearance last November, to return to racing on a winning note at Bathurst a couple of weeks ago.
    SOUTH COAST ARDEN 1, Boots Electric 2, Mach Da Vinci 3, Boom 4.
    RACE SEVEN:
    This is a tough race with a host of chances as the entire field have been finding it difficult to finish ahead of their rivals over an extended period. Due to drawing well and chalking up two placings in five runs since a spell, REACTOR FACTOR (2) is worth the gamble. A member of the Lucky Lodge team, Reactor Factor began well from a wide gate last week in finding the top, prior to Robert Morris taking a sit on the short-priced elect and eventual winner, Mister Robin Hood. The son of Auckland Reactor battled on well in recording a 6m third and this assignment should be to his liking. This time around Robbie elect to dictate the terms and that will go a long way towards the 70 greeting the judge. The Ash Delosa-trained OUR UNCLE JIM (9) has drawn badly out wide, however, the 8yo will also appreciate this challenge, compared to some of his recent encounters. Placed in two of his previous four starts, the latter when a 1.4m 2nd behind Tuppence, the son of Western Terror worked home stoutly in his latest engagement a couple of weeks ago, which resulted in a creditable 10.3m 6th to the multiple G1 winner, Captains Knock. The last time Our Uncle Jim was first past the post was last October when he worked home from a rearward role in defeating Lightning Dan and Theresa Love. Chris Geary will be looking to repeat that effort with Our Uncle Jim. RICKOSHAY (3) has been mixing his form but there is no doubting his ability to be involved in the finish. Runner-up to the long-shot Shades Of Heaven two runs ago, the Blake Fitzpatrick trained and driven 6yo then finished a safely-held 23.3m 6th to Stravinsky a couple of weeks ago. Suitably drawn, Rickoshay should be far more competitive this time around. ARDENS REALITY (6), like a number of his rivals, has been anything but reliable, with the 7yo posting three unplaced efforts since a spell. The son of Somebeachsomewhere was never a factor when a 24.5m 7th to Stravinsky here a couple of weeks ago, but with a higher level of fitness and an easier assignment, Ardens Reality has at least exotic prospects. MAJIC MOMENT (7) has had two runs back from a long spell and for new mentor Jarrod Alchin, so expect improvement on those efforts and consider when forming multiple investments. TITIAN RAIDER (4) could also be far more productive in this grade while former Kiwi NICHOLAS CAGE (5) is capable of being nominated for a supporting role as he looks to improve on two unplaced efforts since joining Luke McCarthy. Amanda Turnbull has two runners, SMOOTH OVERARM (8) and ART LINCOLN (10) and it will come as no surprise to see improvement on their latest bracket of work at Bathurst. This is a tricky race.
    REACTOR FACTOR 1, Our Uncle Jim 2, Rickoshay 3, Ardens Reality 4.
    RACE EIGHT:
    Now under the care of Jarrod Alchin, former Victorian VICTREE HILL (4) has the opportunity to post his initial Menangle win, following three previous unplaced displays. The consistent son of Trixton contested a similar event at Headquarters a week ago, his first for Jarrod, when he drew and drifted back to a midfield role. Over the final stages of the 2300m challenge, Victree Hill, although never a serious threat, recorded a pleasing 3m 4th to Majestic Trio. With the benefit of that run, his first since early November, the 7yo will strip fitter and with a better draw being an added bonus, Victree Hill should contest this event with a higher degree of confidence. Talented, but with a mind of his own, KING OF LOVE (1) is worthy of another chance following two well-beaten efforts, courtesy of his questionable manners. Strong all-the-way winner three back at this venue, the Joe Conolly owned and trained son of Love You hasn’t been feeling the love of late after his recent engagements. If King Of Love is focused from the outset, then, quoting John Paul Young, ’love is in the air’ and punters will be collecting. The Shaun and Jason McNaulty prepared TRAVEL BUG (7) has made the trip from Victoria and warrants more than a passing thought as the 8yo will be far better suited here, compared to back home. Following a run of useful displays, the latest resulting in a 16.9m 6th to Arcee Pheonix in the Maori Mile at Bendigo, the son of Dream Vacation may well have wished he was on a vacation after a 47.5m 11th to the champ Just Believe in The Knight Pistol FFA at Ballarat on January 20. Travel Bug has been placed in his only previous Menangle start back in May/2023 when he recorded a 7.4m 3rd to Regal Attire and Funky Monkey. Luke McCarthy, who drove Travel Bug on that occasion, will again take the reins. The consistent Queenslander SCRUFFY DOOLAN (3) finished a solid 2nd to Sunny Gee at this venue back in mid-November and on returning home, the 8yo has finished third to Van Sank at Albion Park on two occasions. Nicely drawn, the Taleah McMullen-trained son of Majestic Son will be driven by Josh Gallagher. The consistent SUNNY GEE (6) remains in the mix when it comes to forming exotic investments while JUNGLE EYES (9) will be looking to make amends for a distant last to Affaire De Cover here just over a week ago when he galloped out and lost all chance. Prior to that run, his first since early October, the Steven Lee-trained 5yo had been performing consistently. The son of Peak DNK is capable of a far better showing. DROP THE HAMMER (8) resumed with a 51m 7th to Have No Fear a couple of weeks ago, and although fitter and returning to a mobile event after a 30m hcp in a stand, the 9yo is likely to need this run as well.
    VICTREE HILL 1, King Of Love 2, Travel Bug 3, Scruffy Doolan 4.

      – FORM ASSESSED BY MIKE KO’ CASS

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