November 26, 2021 National Trotguide
It shapes as a sensational night for runners under the care of Belinda and Luke McCarthy, commencing with MIGHTY LOOEE (6), who will be looking to make amends for a last-start defeat. The 4yo has been off the scene since posting a 6.3m 5th to the outstanding mare The Stunning Nun back on Oct 2. In readiness for his return, Mighty Looee posted a solid 1.4m 2nd behind Egodan in a recent Menangle 1609m trial. Handily drawn in gate six, Mighty Looee will be driven by Luke, which is a guide to his prospects as the stable will also be represented by THE CROUPIER (3). In what appears to be a race boasting a handful of definite winning chances, Mighty Looee is bound to make his presence felt. THE CROUPIER (3) looms as the one to beat after the son of Roll With Joe drew ideally in three. After posting a hat-trick of winning performances, The Croupier posted a costly 27.7m 6th to Master Catch just over a month ago. Jack Callaghan will take the reins and from this draw the ‘rising star’ will have the opportunity to secure a favourable, forward role, with the 6yo. SUMMIT SPECIAL (1) won two on end in fine fashion, then went from drawing handily to leaving the machine from next to the grandstand when a creditable 14m 5th to Muscle Factory a week ago. Jimmy Douglass will be able to present the 6yo son of Mr Feelgood with a far more comfortable peg role, which will ensure that the David Thorn-conditioned gelding has ‘fresh legs’ for the final 200m. PETES SAID SO (9) has the gate speed to cross and look for a sit, which was the scenario last week when a fading 19.3m 7th to Muscle Factory. Prior to that effort the KerryAnn Morris-trained son of Well Said had been performing consistently so don’t ignore him as an exotic runner. RANGER BOMB (4), the third of the McCarthy runners, is coming off an explosive win at Newcastle, overcoming a back row draw in accounting for far easier opposition. Suitably drawn, the 4yo son of Sportswriter has ‘value’ appeal for the multiples. GOODBOY COWBOY (5) is an interesting runner as the former Victorian has been off the scene since a 36.6m 4th to the brilliant Ride High at Bendigo in Aug/2020. Now in the care of Darren McCall, who is enjoying success of late, the 7yo has posted two sound trials wins at Penrith. The son of Tell All is worth the gamble when it comes to exotic investments. ART TUTOR (8), SWAGGIE SHANNON (10) and last week’s winner, ZIGGY ROCKS (11) are all capable of being involved in the finish, without surprising, such is the competitive nature of this race.
MIGHTY LOOEE 1, The Croupier 2, Summit Special 3, Petes Said So 4.
Like his stablemate Mighty Looee in the opening event, KINGMAKER (10) will be looking to get back in the ‘good books’ with punters following a disappointing 15.4m 9th to Rickoshay a month ago. Dictating the terms with dual Miracle Mile winning reinsman John McCarthy in the sulky, the son of Mach Three raced well below the standard he had set since coming from NZ. Following five-consecutive wins for the McCarthy barn, the 5yo was then game in defeat, going down in a photo to Rocknlachlan on Oct 16, his first run back from a spell. Kingmaker has been kept fresh for the Carousel series, and although a wide gate awaits, position eight with the reserves missing out, the gelding is capable of being in the thick of the action from the outset. Drawing one spot is AQUA SANCTA (11), a newcomer to the astute Jarrod Alchin stable, following a solid body of work in Qld earlier in the year. The 4yo son of Bettors Delight won four of his past five starts, prior to spelling after a solid all-the-way win at Redcliffe on May 26. Aqua Sancta, who will be driven by Cam Hart, wasn’t extended in a trial won by Ilikemebettor, with a comfortable 7.6, 6th coming his way. The newcomer to the local scene is definitely one to watch. The outside gate will be occupied by the consistent VIVA LAS VEGAS (12), with the Amanda Turnbull trained and driven son of Sweet Lou ‘busting’ to win a race after being runner-up in his past two assignments at Headquarters. On each occasion the 4yo has come from well back in proceedings in hitting the line strongly, the latter a week ago when he missed out by a margin of 1.2m in pegging back Soho Tsunami. Amanda will jump back into the driving role after brother Mitch has been in the sulky of late. Viva Las Vegas will again be called upon to give away a start, but he will prove hard to hold out if those up front falter. BLACK HAWK JOE (7) has been thereabouts in two runs since a solid win at Goulburn and he certainly fits the profile of an exotic runner while a fitter VINCENT VAN GONE (4) also fits into that category. JAZZY STAR (6) and RONALDO (8) should be considered, as well.
KINGMAKER 1, Aqua Sancta 2, Viva Las Vegas 3, Black Hawk Joe 4.
Heat two of the Carousel will see the first appearance at Menangle of BETTER ECLIPSE (8), a talented member of the successful and in-form Jess Tubbs team. The talented Victorian is coming off a solid display at Melton a week ago when he hit the line strongly in posting a 4.5m 4th to Major Meister. Drawing the back row on that occasion, the son of Betterthancheddar settled in a rearward role, and although drawing the front line for this assignment, albeit a touch deep, the 3yo hasn’t shown brilliant gate speed when drawn handily in recent engagements. However, Better Eclipse does display plenty of talent, as his record would suggest, and with the big Menangle track an appealing plus, the southern visitor makes plenty of appeal, with the brilliant Greg Sugars being an added bonus. The Belinda McCarthy-prepared ILIKEMEBETTOR (4) is ready to make his presence felt, firstly from his ideal draw, and secondly, on the strength of a solid Menangle trial win. Runner-up when he resumed from his previous spell, Ilikemebettor then posted three wins and six placings from his next 10 starts, prior to heading to the paddock after a fading 10.3m 6th to My Ultimate Star at Menangle on Sept 23. No doubt Luke McCarthy will be keen to dictate the terms. Former Kiwi mare OUR COWGIRLS N LACE (5) has done a fine job since crossing the Tasman and linking up with successful Goulburn trainer-driver, Brad Hewitt. Impressive in recording wins at Wagga and Menangle, respectively, the Bettors Delight mare then stepped up in grade when a respectable 1.2m 3rd to B K Swy, prior to going up another level when a shade unlucky in posting a 10.3m 4th to Fairy Tinkabell in the G3 Sue Kelly here a week ago. The progressive 4yo mare warrants more than a passing thought. Victorian NOMORELYING (3) will be hoping for better luck this time around, compared to his only Menangle assignment at the end of May. Contesting the G1 Regional Championship, the Life Sign 7yo struck trouble and was never a factor in recording a 20.3m last to Send It. In readiness for his upcoming encounter, Nomorelying recorded a solid 2nd in a recent Shepparton trial. Sparingly-raced, Nomorelying is capable of a bold showing so don’t ignore his prospects. SMOOTH OVERARM (2) has managed two wins from four starts since leaving NZ and joining the Amanda Turnbull team at Bathurst. This will be a tougher test for the 6yo son of Changeover, however, from the good draw he remains in the multiple mix. ARDENS ACE (6) will find this to be a far more attractive challenge, compared to his past three outings in Victoria, which culminated in a 21.4m 8th to the super-star Act Now in a G1 Crown Final for 3YO C&G’s at Melton a week ago. The Tony Bertwistle stable celebrated a winning double at Headquarters on Tuesday and Ardens Ace has the talent to be involved in the finish. Back from a spell, but with two solid Penrith trials behind her, both as runner-up, talented mare MICHELLE LEE MAC (11), despite the wide gate, also stays under notice when it comes to the multiples.
BETTER ECLIPSE 1, Ilikemebettor 2, Our Cowgirls N Lace 3, Nomorelying 4.
This also a heat of the Carousel, this event looks an ideal assignment for the Matthew Craven trained and driven BETTOR CALL ME (5), who will enjoy milling around at the start and not see the super star Act Now waiting to demolish another field. Following back-to-back winning displays, the latter an effortless all-the-way win at Geelong, the Bettors Delight colt then posted a gritty 2nd to Longfellow at Melton, prior to being confronted by Act Now in his next three assignments. To his credit, Bettor Call Me has been brave in defeat, commencing with a 2m 2nd to Act Now, then two further placings, the latter at Melton a week ago when a 10.3m 3rd in the G1 Crown 3yo C&G’s Final. That form must be respected and from his handy draw, gate four which is less one of the reserves, Bettor Call Me and Matthew Craven will make the early call on setting the tempo. Former Emma Stewart-trained CARLAS MACH (8) was having his first hit-out since joining the Corey Peterson team when a creditable 6.8m 5th to Laceys Lad a couple of weeks ago. The talented son of Mach Three will strip fitter for his first outing since late April and with a handy draw next to his name, the 4yo is more than capable of being pro-active in the finish. TRIPLE FOUR (2) has done everything asked of him since crossing the Tasman to be trained by Brad Hewitt. After recording back-to-back, impressive wins at Wagga, the son of American Ideal for his next assignment and, once again, it resulted in a strong win, this time leading throughout in defeating subsequent winner Stravinsky. Ideally drawn in what will be the pole role if the first reserve doesn’t come off the bench, Triple Four is more than capable of making it ‘four from four’ on this side of the ‘ditch’. LA PUDDIE (10) is an honest performer for the Jess Tubbs stable, but the Victorian doesn’t like to win out of turn. Fitter for three runs back, two as runner-up, the 4yo has a tricky draw but with Greg Sugars in the cart, the Somebeachsomewhere gelding can’t be ignored as a threat. The James Rattray-trained and driven JIMARTEE (6) resumes with three solid Goulburn trials behind him so keep the son of Sportswriter safe in exotic investments while OLD LUKE (9) fought on bravely in scoring here last week, courtesy of a quality front-running drive by Isobel Ross. A harder task awaits Old Luke, along with a deeper draw, but he is an honest type with claims as a ‘value’ exotic runner. STORMY RAIDER (12) has resumed with two pleasing runs for Dean Cernovskis, and although the draw has made the task, that much more difficult, the 8yo could add plenty of value to the exotics.
BETTOR CALL ME 1, Carlas Mach 2, Triple Four 3, La Puddie 4.
After being wiped-out by the pandemic a year ago, the time has finally arrived for another exciting Inter-Dominion carnival to commence, and what a way to start as the dual Miracle Mile winner and number seed KING OF SWING (4) will head around to the 2400m starting point as a dominant favourite. If his presence wasn’t enough to cause his rivals concern, then drawing ideally in four only added further stress. Contesting two races since an unlucky Qld campaign, King Of Swing won first-up at Menangle before heading south to contest the 2150m Victoria Cup at Bendigo on Oct 9. His run of bad luck drifted down from the ‘sunshine state’ as King Of Swing was left working dearly, courtesy of drawing wide on the back row, then outside of the leader, leaving him vulnerable for the run home. As per usual, the 6yo son of Rocknroll Hanover was brave in defeat. When the judge called a halt, Max Delight led the field home, followed by Triple Eight and then King Of Swing, beaten a mere 3.4m after covering plenty of extra metres. A pleasing and comfortable 2.5m 4th behind his stablemates, Expensive Ego, Alta Orlando and Spirit Of St Louis, all Inter Dominion hopefuls, was enough to have King Of Swing ready to ‘hit the ground running’ for his first step in securing the title. Exotic transactions will attract plenty of attention as the ‘King’ will be well into the ‘red’. Peaking in condition and drawing ideally in two, the Paul Fitzpatrick-prepared ZEUSS BROMAC (2) has bright prospects of commencing the series with the ‘next best’ points on offer. Now three runs into his latest term of racing, the 4yo son of Bettors Delight is coming off a gritty 2nd to Ignatius, with the winner gaining the verdict in the last stride. The prospect of securing the role behind King Of Swing will enhance the claims of Zeuss Bromac. REACTOR NOW (11) scored five starts ago at Bendigo, and although the talented son of Auckland Reactor has managed just one minor placing since, his efforts have been pleasing. Reactor Now has contested his past three assignments at Melton, commencing from the back row twice and a wide draw just a week ago when a 6.5m 6th to Bettor Be The Bomb. Prepared by an Inter Dominion winning mentor in David Aiken and to be driven by son Josh, the 5yo has drawn the 2nd line, but he certainly has the talent to be in the mix when the judge calls a halt. IGNATIUS (14) will also launch his claim from the back row, but he is likely to follow out King Of Swing. Tough, determined and consistent, Ignatius must be given a high rating while MACH DAN (15), who a week ago was under the care of Emma Stewart, now finds himself with Kevin Pizzuto. The classy 4yo son of Mach Three led when a brave 2nd to the exciting prospect Honolua Bay at Melton last week. The draw is a hurdle but Mach Dan is bound to be hitting the line with intent when called upon to do so by Greg Sugars. BONCEL BENJAMIN (8) and OUR UNCLE SAM (1) also stay under notice as exotic contenders.
KING OF SWING 1, Zeuss Bromac 2, Reactor Now 3, Ignatius 4.
From King Of Swing to EXPENSIVE EGO (12), that’s the scenario, as far as, Luke McCarthy is concerned, and although a back row draw awaits the Chariots Of Fire winner and Miracle Mile runner-up, the classy 4yo should proceed to round two of the series with maximum points next to his name. In readiness for the Inter Dominion, Belinda McCarthy-trained son of Rock N Roll Heaven has faced the starter on three occasions, two resulting in wins either side of a 3.2m 5th to The Black Prince in the G1 Len Smith Mile on Oct 31. To round off his preparation, Expensive Ego won a 2300m trial at Headquarters recently, with Chris Geary sending him to the line under a tight hold. The back row will make him slightly vulnerable, but the 2400m will suit and barring anything going wrong, Expensive Ego should collect the 19th win of his career from just 27 trips to the races. Former stablemate BALRAJ (11) is capable of providing strong opposition to Expensive Ego following a fine, first-up run for his new mentor, Jack Trainor. At various stages of his 35-start career, Balraj looked to be heading down an exciting path, then he lost his ‘mojo’, only to tease once again with further outstanding efforts. Following a mixed Qld campaign, which resulted in an outstanding 1.9m 2nd to the Kiwi champ Copy That at AP on July 3, Balraj failed to ‘fire a shot’ in two subsequent encounters. Without the benefit of a trial, Balraj stepped out for his first assignment for Trainor a couple of weeks, with the end result being a pleasing 2m 3rd to Ignatius. Coming from a midfield role the son of Art Major hit the line with intent and with his level of fitness heading in the right direction, Balraj is capable of giving Expensive Ego a ‘run for his money’. MAX DELIGHT (13) will be looking to celebrate his 50th career outing with a strong display. No stranger to winning races at this venue, including the NSW Derby, Max Delight had been racing in fine fashion before having no luck from a back row draw when a 21.3m 7th to Honolua Bay at Melton on Oct 30. Trapped three wide for the majority of the 2240m, the run of Max Delight must be forgiven. The classy 5yo won a recent Shepparton trial by 40m so don’t ignore him as a threat. ALTA ORLANDO (3) has the best draw of the main players as the veteran will line up behind gate three. Following back-to-back wins at Albion Park in late July, early August, the son of Courage Under Fire has been placed in four of his next five starts, his only miss being a creditable 8.6m 5th to Majestic Cruiser in the G3 Sutton McMillan. Placed in a recent trial, alongside of his star stablemates, Alta Orlando will be in the firing line from the outset and then well into the 2400m contest. Former Kiwi ROBYNS PLAYBOY (5) steps out for his first challenge for Lucky Lodge after contesting the 3200ss NZ Cup on Nov 9. Posting a safely held 11th to the champion Copy That, the 5yo son of Shadow Play has only recently arrived, but trainer KerryAnn Morris said that she is more than happy with his progress. Although this challenge may be out of his reach, Robyns Playboy wouldn’t be out of place when it comes to forming multiple transactions. Others exotic players include ROCKIN MARTY (6), ALPINE STRIDE (8) and RUSTY CRACKERS (9), with all three to be listed at a suitable quote.
EXPENSIVE EGO 1, Balraj 2, Max Delight 3, Alta Orlando 4.
Although he hasn’t greeted the judge in four runs since a spell, the Belinda McCarthy-trained SPIRIT OF ST LOUIS (3) has been making steady and pleasing progress for his tilt at Inter Dominion fame. The former Kiwi has always received ‘rave reviews’ from Luke, and now that he has hit peak condition this term, the son of Sweet Lou has the chance to prove he is the one to beat this time around. Hitting the line strongly when 2nd to Burnham Boy, Spirit Of St Louis again ‘caught the eye’ when he finished a mere neck behind The Black Prince in claiming 4th spot in the G1 Len Smith Mile. A solid trial effort with his fellow Inter Dominion stablemates, Spirit Of St Louis will have the chance to make his presence felt from the outset, courtesy of his ideal draw, which will be gate two if the reserves don’t come into play. If, Spirit Of St Louis is to be a threat as the series unfolds, then he must stand up and be counted, starting now. TRIPLE EIGHT (9), despite drawing awkwardly, will be a major threat. Another outstanding performer, which is under the care of Jess Tubbs, Triple Eight has been a wonderful performer for the stable, following an outstanding solid career back home in NZ. Recently, the 6yo son of American Ideal accounted for General Dodge and Out To Play in the Caduceus Classic at Bendigo, prior to big effort in recording a 4.9m 4th to Amazing Dream in the Kilmore Cup. From a tricky, inside of the back row draw, Triple Eight then did a big job when a fast-finishing 3.2m 2nd to Max Delight in the Victoria Cup. With that body of work behind him, Triple Eight was sent out favourite for the Melton City Council Sprint, a tough test, but below his recent strong opposition. However, Triple Eight was never a threat in finishing an 8.9m last to Torrid Saint. Triple Eight will enjoy this venue and if is definitely worth another chance. POCKET OF TERROR (11) indicated he was ‘spot on’ for the series when he made up metres over the final stages in recording a 1.9m 2nd to Jay OK a couple of weeks ago. That was his first run back from a break and with his form prior, also being of a high standard, the Jack Trainor prepared and driven Western Terror 6yo is primed to make his presence felt. THE BLACK PRINCE (15) was able to take full advantage of an outstanding, peg-hugging drive by Robert Morris, in taking out the G1 Len Smith Mile a month ago. The classy Roy Roots-trained 6yo has now won three of his past four, and although the back line is a hurdle, The Black Prince will be in the mix when the judge calls a halt. When building exotic transaction, BRIGHT ENERGY (10) must be included, along with the well-performed Victorian WESTERN SONADOR (12), who will be looking to finding his true form. LINE UP (13) trialled nicely at Menangle on Tuesday and is another player for the multiples, along with MALCOLMS RHYTHM (5) and LOORRIM LAKE (8), with his latest unplaced effort here last week to be overlooked as little went his way from start to finish.
SPIRIT OF ST LOUIS 1, Triple Eight 2, Pocket Of Terror 3, The Black Prince 4.
Now it’s the turn of the trotters to take centre stage and, with gate two a big plus, star Kiwi MAJESTIC MAN (2) will have the ideal chance to secure top points. When he last appeared at this venue, the Phil Williamson-trained 6yo brilliantly won the G1 Aquagait Equine Mile on Miracle Mile night. Since returning home and Majestic Man has managed just two placings from his subsequent eight encounters, with his latest outing resulting in a 14th behind Sundees Son over 3200ss at Addington on Nov 12. Anthony Butt takes over the driving duties and the master tactician will be looking to steer the Majestic Son to an all-the-way win. Since crossing the Tasman to join Lucky Lodge, FUNKY MONKEY (12) has grown in stature and popularity, becoming somewhat of a cult figure. Prepared by KerryAnn Morris, the mare quickly established a fine record, posting five-consecutive wins before heading to the spelling paddock. The 4yo then had her winning run come to an end, but she was far from being disgraced in running a brave 2nd to the exciting, former US trotter, Aldebaran Revani. The daughter of Monkey Bones continued to work her way up the rankings with recent wins at Menangle, prior to striking plenty of trouble in the early stages of her latest assignment a couple of weeks ago. The scrimmage added to her 30m hcp, resulting in a 62.5m 5th to Empire Bay over the 3009m, the trip of the ID Grand Final. From her back row draw the early plan is to allow Funky Monkey settle into her rhythm before picking off her rivals in search of being a major threat. MAORI LAW (11) is a quality Victorian who is coming off a determined win at Melton. The 8yo son of Lawman overcame a back row draw on that occasion in defeating McLovin and Just Believe, and while the same scenario applies here, Maori Law will prove to be a worthy opponent. LOTOFMUSCLE (10) has been responsible for a few creditable efforts since a Melton win and the son of Muscle Hill remains in the mix when it comes to exotic investments. ILLAWONG STARDUST (1) resumed from a spell with a 25.3m 3rd to Im Ready Jet at Melton last week, and he will appreciate the pole position. Luke McCarthy has been booked by veteran mentor Tony Peacock. JUST BELIEVE (3), THE PENNY DROPS (7) and GIL FAVOR (8), which is named after the character played by Eric Flemming in the hit cowboy show of the 1960’s Rawhide, which was also featured Clint Eastwood in his first starring role, are all worthy of exotic involvement.
MAJESTIC MAN 1, Funky Monkey 2, Maori Law 3, Lotofmuscle 4.
The second heat is likely to develop into a race between the star Victorian PINK GALAHS (1) and the local hero, TOUGH MONARCH (6). Courtesy of drawing ideally in gate one, the classy PINK GALAHAS gets the nod as trainer-driver Matthew Craven will have the perfect opportunity to secure the ‘stalking’ role behind the ‘tough as teak’ Rickie Alchin trained and driven, multiple feature winner. Boasting a 50% winning strike rate following 36 assignments, Pink Galah has always shown immense talent. Wins have been more ‘hard fought’ in recent times, with a narrow win over Majestuoso in the Bill Collins Trot at Bendigo, followed by another half-head victory at Melton, with Is That A Bid fighting out the finish with the daughter of Skyvalley. With Tough Monarch bound to leave the machine with plenty of intent, Pink Galahs will be looking to save as much energy for the testing 360m straight, in an attempt to out-sprint her main rival. TOUGH MONARCH, as his name would suggest, is a tough, no-nonsense character who has an outstanding record on his home circuit. Contesting 46 races, the son of Monarchy has collected 22 wins and seven placings. The 9yo followed a determined win over the 3009m, overcoming a 30m hcp, prior to finishing a 42m 5th to Is That A Bid at Melton on Oct 8, when he did far too much work. A gritty 2nd to Funky Monkey and a gritty win over One Majic Kenny and Timothy Red, completed his work leading into the series. HUMBLE LADD (7) is the ‘x-factor’ as the former Kiwi created a good impression during the Qld winter carnival when having his first term of racing under the care of Belinda McCarthy. Following wins in his opening two starts, Humble Ladd then finished a game 6.9m to Pink Galahs in the G1 Alexander, prior to finishing a 2.9m 2nd to Tough Monarch in the Qld Trotting Cup, with Pink Galahs back in third spot. Despite being off the scene since that run on July 24, Team McCarthy decided not to head to the official trials, however, there is no doubt that the 6yo son of Majestic Son has been primed for a bold showing. ROBBIE ROYALE (11) had his first look at this venue a couple of weeks ago when he recorded a 26.9m 3rd to Empire Bay. Prepared by Brent Lilley, who has an outstanding record with trotters, Robbie Royale was off a tough 30m hcp on that occasion, so the return to a mobile assignment with assist his claims. Exotic players should also turn their attention to ALDEBARAN CRESCENT (3), CALIGULA (5), which is first-up from a spell for Blake Fitzpatrick, GIMONDI (8) and KYVALLEY CHIEF (9).
PINK GALAHS 1, Tough Monarch 2, Humble Ladd 3, Robbie Royale 4.