October 14, 2021 National Trotguide
With a vastly-improved number on his saddlecloth – compared to gate eight last time, the James Rattray trained and driven star IGNATIUS (2) is poised to have punters starting the night on the right side of the ledger. A Miracle Mile contestant in March, Ignatius has rarely been out of the money since his respectable 7th to King Of Swing. The 6yo is coming off a closing 5.7m 4th to Majestic Cruiser in the G3 Sutton McMillan a few weeks ago, with the wide resulting in Ignatius settling in a rearward role. However, with gate two appearing next to his name for this challenge, the son of Roll With Joe should be able to stamp his authority in this assignment from the outset. That being the case, Ignatius will be well on his way to collecting the 30th win of his outstanding career. For a race of this nature, it is rare for the event to have two Miracle Mile players heading around to the start, But that will be the case as THE BLACK PRINCE (6) heads back to Menangle following back-to-back wins at Newcastle. The Roy Roots-trained 6yo did a big job to cross the line in fourth spot, beaten a mere 7m by King Of Swing. The son of Bettors Delight hasn’t won with authority in each of his two recent wins, with the odds-on elect working home to collect the prize, the latter defeating The Bachelor and Ashark. Those two appearances would have topped him off nicely for this encounter with Ignatius. The reliable Mat Rue trained and driven FOUROEIGHT (3) resumed from a break with a 10m 5th to Hes Chiming at Bathurst on Aug 25, the effort a shade in the wash-up. Since that outing the son of Rock N Roll Heaven has contested two Bathurst trials for a win and a solid 2nd Aphorism, which will also be going around in this race. Suitably drawn, which should allow Mat to have him handily placed from the outset, Fouroeight is an ideal exotic chance. BURNHAM BOY (8) strips fitter following an 8.3m 3rd to Alpine Stride last week when he led. A wider draw awaits, and although Burnham Boy is becoming a costly commodity, the 4yo is capable of being in the finish. Bathurst mentor Chris Frisby has his smart 6yo APHORISM (5) ready to ‘hit the ground running’ following a sound Queensland campaign. The son of Well Said has contested four trials, winning two and being placed twice, all in a competitive frame of mind. Expect a bold showing from Aphorism so keep him safe when it comes to the multiples. BRIGHT ENERGY (4) is coming off an improved 12.7m 3rd to stablemate King Of Swing a week ago and also fits into the category of being a multiple player.
IGNATIUS 1, The Black Prince 2, Fouroeight 3, Burnham Boy 4.
A year ago, LINE UP (4) was being looked up as one of the ‘rising stars’ following his brilliant all-the-way win in the NSW Derby. That was his 6th visit to the winner’s circle from just 14 starts, with a further five placings, underlining his potential for an exciting future. However, an enforced lay-off cut short his career and, now 18 months on, plus a change of trainer from Anthony Butt to Darren Binskin, Line Up is ready to ‘kick-start’ his career. The son of Bettors Delight has had the benefit of three outings, the second of those resulting in a pleasing 12.8m 3rd to King Of Swing and The Stunning Nun in a sizzling 1:49.9. The final 400m covered in 26.3. The signs were looking promising and that was confirmed when Line Up narrowly defeated Expensive Ego in his next trial, with the brilliant filly Anntonia back in third spot. With the final quarter recorded in 26.2 it meant that the trip was completed in 1:50.2. Darren has his team in fine form and it will be a wonderful to see Line Up adding to that success. Suitably drawn, Line Up is definitely worth the gamble. FAIRY TINKABELL (10) is racing in fine fashion and will certainly appreciate the pole position. Following a solid stint of racing in Queensland, the 5yo mare has posted back-to-back wins since returning home, the latter when she led in defeating B K Swy, which has won since, and Divine Diva. This will be a tougher test for Fairy Tinkabell, but the draw will help off-set that concern. With the benefit of three runs since a break, SEND IT (8) will be ready to make his presence felt. The Brad Hewitt trained and driven son of Western Terror placings behind Star Major and Ignatius, respectively, prior to heading back to Headquarters last week. From gate 10, Send It found himself settling nine pegs, then out very deep on the final bend, resulting in a creditable 7.7m 7th to The Stunning Nun. A slightly better draw will assist Send It and now that his level of fitness is heading in the right direction, a far more competitive can be expected. LACEYS LAD (3) resumed from a spell with a useful 10.2m 4th to Alpine Stride last week and with that run under his belt, the 6yo should be regarded as an exotic player. MASTER CATCH (5) met with solid support last week, but after racing without cover, the 6yo was unable to fend off Far Out Bro, which enjoyed a far more comfortable run, in going down by a narrow margin. Include Master Catch in exotic investments while MARTY MAJOR (2), ZIGGY ROCKS (6) and OUR MADIBA (11) also fall into that department.
LINE UP 1, Fairy Tinkabell 2, Send It 3, Laceys Lad 4.
Unbeaten since crossing the Tasman and joining the powerful Belinda McCarthy team at Cobbitty, KINGMAKER (11) will be looking to continue his reign, despite drawing the outside marble. The promising son of Mach Three will face the starter for the first time since leading throughout in defeating The General and Carlo Gambino at Headquarters back on May 8. Kingmaker will step onto the track without an official trial, but ‘Team McCarthy’ will have him ready to make a bold play for the major share of the prizemoney and his sixth-consecutive win, although this will be his toughest test to date. ROSSINI (8) also has an abundance of talent, plus a slightly better and probably more importantly, race fitness. The James Rattray trained and driven 5yo completed the hat-trick of wins when he overcame a 2nd line draw in scoring at Wagga just over a month ago. Rattray has kept the son of Mach Three fresh, giving him just one assignment in late July, mid-August. Rossini was able to head back to Menangle for his next challenge, and although his winning sequence came to an end, he wasn’t disgraced in posting a 4.5m 4th to Cassius. After spending nearly 17 months on the sidelines, BOYD WRITER (9) returned to racing with a safely held 17.9m 8th to Alpine Stride a week ago. Prepared by David Hewitt and to be driven by Brad, the son of Sportswriter has always shown plenty of talent and a vastly improved effort this time around won’t come as a surprise. When it comes to forming multiple combinations, the consistent BRACKEN KNIGHT (4) is entitled to consideration from his good draw while a fitter LOCHIEL (6) is bound to create interest. FOUR STARZZZ FORSA (5) has been racing in fine fashion at venues such as Goulburn and Wagga, with his past two appearances resulting in gritty wins. Unplaced in both his Menangle encounters, the 8yo stays under notice when it comes to the exotics.
KINGMAKER 1, Rossini 2, Boyd Writer 3, Bracken Knight 4.
The exciting Brian Portello trained and driven SMALTESE (1) should cement a spot in the NSW Breeders Challenge Final, by taking out the first of two semi-finals. The 2yo son of Sweet Lou had a slight ‘hiccup’ in his brief but promising career when he did a few things wrong at Penrith on September 23, resulting in a 38.4m 8th to My Ultimate Ronnie. His first unplaced experience in six starts. A sizzling Menangle trial, followed by a solid all-the-way win over Mahomes and My Ultimate Skeet in his heat a week ago, indicated that Smaltese had his mind firmly focused on the title once again. Perfectly drawn in one, Portelli will dictate the terms and it will take a mighty effort to lower the colours of Smaltese. If the pace is hectic and Brian is keen to get back to the barn, such a move could assist MY ULTIMATE RONNIE (4) in his quest for the fourth win of his career from just six starts. A member of the ‘high-flying’ Jarrod Alchin team, the son of Bettors Delight has won his part two at Penrith, the latter by 12.8m in defeating Offyarocka Crocker and Duggee Sloy, despite striking some trouble, en route to finding the lead role. Suitably drawn, the colt will be in the mix from the outset and if a handy ‘stalking’ role eventuates, then My Ultimate Ronnie will run a bold race. SAINT CRUSADER (7) is racing with plenty of confidence, having won four of his past five, and finishing runner-up on the other occasion. The Clayton Harmey-trained Courage Under Fire colt will leave his ‘comfort zone’, the Newcastle circuit and venture to Menangle, but that won’t be a problem for this promising youngster. The far more hectic pace and stronger opposition will make this encounter far more interesting. OFFYAROCKA CROCKER (10) has drawn badly but the consistent Art Major 2yo will have Luke McCarthy guiding him and, as always, that is a plus. The Michael Doltoff-trained youngster remains in the multiple mix despite his position behind the mobile. Others to consider in that regard include the Queensland visitor TIMS A TROOPER (9), ARMA ROLLING STONE (3) and BAXTER RED (6).
SMALTESE 1, My Ultimate Ronnie 2, Saint Crusader 3, Offyarocka Crocker 4.
The ‘girls’ take centre stage for their first semi-final and Gold Tiara runner-up CAPTAINS QUEEN (4) is poised to stake her claim as the best of her age group and sex, by claiming the top spot. Since her G1 Bathurst assignment behind Just Hope, the daughter of Captaintreacherous has remained unbeaten, posting back-to-back wins at Menangle in April, the latter being the G1 APG 2YO Fillies Final. Trainer Russell Jack waited until August 27 before presenting his star filly with her next challenge, a 2270m event at Wagga. With Brad Hewitt taking the reins behind the filly for the first time, Captains Queen treated her rivals with contempt in scoring by a big margin. Three weeks later and Captains Queen again had little trouble greeting the judge when she won a heat of this particular series at Young. Suitably drawn and stripping fitter, Captains Queen is on target to record another all-the-way win, with Hewitt again engaged to handle the short-priced elect. MARTINI STRIDE (2) has always shown above-average ability and her return to racing in her heat at Menangle on Oct 5, would suggest she is heading in the right direction. Spelled after a 47.6m 7th to Just hope in the Gold Tiara, the Somebeachsomewhere filly returned with a solid heat win at Menangle, with the filly greeting the judge with a margin of 10.9m to spare over Lets Party Baby and Steno. Perfectly drawn in two, Darren Binskin will again have the opportunity to present Martini Stride with a kind run, avoiding any chance of being ‘shaken and not stirred’, in proving a worthy rival to Captains Queen. Placed in five of her seven starts, LETS PARTY BABY (3) will be looking to open her account with an important victory. Drawn close to the pegs the Michael Doltoff-conditioned daughter of Bettors Delight will be in the mix from the outset following her attempt to dictate throughout when overpowered by Martini Stride. Multiple investors should also consider the ‘four from four’ Mark Hewitt trained and driven NOT TO BE DENIED (9), although she is likely to be denied this time, in what will be a harder task, especially from a deep draw. PAS DE CHEVAL (6) is an honest type with claims as a value exotic player, along with the improving BETTORS BEYOND (7).
CAPTAINS QUEEN 1, Martini Stride 2, Lets Party Baby 3, Not To Be Denied 4.
This event will feature the return to racing of Miracle Mile runner-up EXPENSIVE EGO (4) and barring bad luck, the Belinda McCarthy-trained son of Rock N Roll Heaven will collect the 17th win of his 24-start career. Runner-up to his star stablemate King Of Swing in the Miracle Mile back on March 6, Expensive Ego then went on a ‘winning spree’, greeting the judge four occasions, which included the APG 4YO E7G Final at Melton on May 1, prior to tackling the G1 Rising Sun at Albion Park on July 10. A back row drawing resulted in Expensive Ego making a three wide trip to grab the role outside of the leader. However, the effort came at a price, but the entire was certainly game in defeat, posting a determined 1.7m 3rd to Amazing Dream and Copy That. His next assignment was also a prestigious G1 challenge, the 2680m Blacks A Fake, once again at AP and once again. from a 2nd line starting role. And, once again, Expensive Ego found himself posted outside of the leader, en route to respectable 11.5m 7th to Amazing Dream. A solid trial 2nd behind Line Up allowed Expensive Ego to clear the ‘cobwebs’ and with gate three, which is less the reserve, an ideal starting position, Expensive Ego will have little trouble greeting the judge. Exotic investments will be the best strategy, and although a wide gate awaits his presence, SPIRIT OF ST LOUIS (10), which also shares the same address as Expensive Ego, looms as a suitable ‘anchor’ second for multiple players. The 4yo raced with distinction during his Queensland campaign, culminating with a 19.9m 11th to Amazing Dream in the Blacks A Fake, the race being a bit ‘rich’ for the son of Sweet Lou. Resuming with a solid 2m 2nd to Majestic Cruiser in the G3 Sutton McMillan at Menangle on Sept 25, Spirit Of St Louis will be competitive. ALTA ORLANDO (6) is capable of giving Belinda a clean sweep of the placings. The veteran son of Courage Under Fire has been placed in two of his three starts since resuming from a trip to Queensland, with back-to-back Albion Park wins coming his way before heading home. The 9yo will be facing the starter for start 100, and with a handy draw assisting him, Alta Orlando will be looking to celebrate that milestone with a solid display. RAYS CHOICE (3) is certainly due for a win after finishing runner-up in past three starts, all in races of this nature. However, he will have to wait another day. But, as an exotic player, the 8yo must be included in the mix as he will be in the mix from the outset. BONCEL BENJAMIN (2) led and gave nothing else a chance last week in defeating Rays Choice and Alta Orlando. The speedy beginner will make the opening few hundred metres interesting, especially if Josh Gallagher looks to hold the lead. ROCKIN MARTY (11), despite drawing the outside gate, is another worthy of exotic involvement.
EXPENSIVE EGO 1, Spirit Of St Louis 2, Alta Orlando 3, Rays Choice 4.
The second semi-final for the 2YO C&G’s will be dominated by the exciting, unbeaten MY ULTIMATE BYRON (1), with the son of Somebeachsomewhere looking to stretch his winning sequence to seven. And, with gate one next to his name, the Jarrod Alchin-trained gelding is already well on his way to achieving that goal. With the G1 APG 2YO C&G’s Gold Bullion appearing on his list of credits, My Ultimate Byron has continued to enhance his reputation with effortless wins at Penrith and Menangle, prior to heading back to Headquarters on Oct 5 for his heat appearance. Leading from the moment the green light was activated, My Ultimate Byron had something in hand when he accounted for Duggee Sloy and Tims A Trooper. Cam Hart will again continue his association with My Ultimate Byron and the pair will be keen to make a statement. With My Ultimate Byron to head around to the 1609m starting point, well into the ‘red’, multiple investments will be the only way to tackle this event. The Peter Russo-trained MAHOMES (9) has been building nicely since resuming from a spell, and with three runs under his belt, the son of Tintin In America will feature in the finish. From a similar wide gate in his particular heat, Mahomes hit the line with intent, resulting in a 5.6m 2nd to another smart youngster in Smaltese. With Jack Trainor unable to partner the gelding, Luke McCarthy will jump into the sulky. DUGGEE SLOY (3) has been consistent since commencing his career and with the benefit of a good draw the Michael Doltoff-conditioned Somebeachsomewhere gelding will have the opportunity to qualify for a spot in the Final. Although never a threat to My Ultimate Byron last time out, Duggee Sloy worked home nicely from a midfield role. A far better draw will be welcomed by ‘Duggee’. SAINT VERAN (10) certainly has the talent, but the draw will dampen his claims to a degree. Prepared by Steve Turnbull and to be driven by his daughter Amanda, the Betting Line youngster is coming off a strong all-the-way win at Bathurst in his particular heat. With only one unplaced run from 10 starts, and that was a fourth, Saint Veran is an ideal exotic runner. SKYFALL BENCHMARK (4) has won three of four since a spell but a harder task awaits, however, don’t ignore him as a minor player.
MY ULTIMATE BYRON 1, Mahomes 2, Duggee Sloy 3, Saint Veran 4.
Semi-final number two for the ‘girls’ and this is a race in two, with the powerful Jarrod Alchin-Cam Hart combination the way to go again, this time with MADRID (8) being the runner in question. After debuting with a pleasing 10.6m 3rd behind her stablemate Our Ultimate Lizzy, the daughter of Bling It On has remained unbeaten through the course of her next three starts. The filly posted effortless wins, both at this venue, prior to making her way through to the semis with a solid, gritty win at Penrith, defeating Lets Party Baby and Miss Ex. Madrid drew the back row on that occasion, and although gate will be tricky, the filly will be better served from the front row, leaving Cam with the opportunity to have her stamping her authority from the outset. MISS EX (1) on the other hand will launch her claim from the prized pole position. Following a win on debut, Miss Ex then recorded four-consecutive minor placings, two before and a couple after a spell. The David Thorn-prepared daughter of Well Said indicated that she was more than capable of making a bold play for the feature title when she recorded an impressive heat win, coming from a rearward role in defeating Bettors Beyond and Come Say Hi. Jimmy Douglass will have Miss Ex poised to pounce from the outset. Owner and trainer Tony Higgs has elected to hand the training duties over to Belinda McCarthy and as a result, Luke will also assume the driving of this handy filly. Luke was in the spider when Silk Cloud recorded an encouraging 17.3m 3rd to Just Hope in the G1 Gold Tiara. Resuming with a 2.4m 2nd to Weona Miss Fortune, Silk Cloud heads the list of exotic hopefuls, despite drawing deep. FLARE UP (3) has won four of five, but a tougher test awaits. The good draw will assist the Warrawee Needy filly in making a bid for an exotic role. FINERY (4) has both the draw and creditable form to support her claims as a multiple player.
MADRID 1, Miss Ex 2, Silk Cloud 3, Flare Up 4.
Confronted by a similar assignment to last week, B K SWY (8) has the chance to make it back-to-back wins at Headquarters.
The mare drew the outside gate, compared to eight this time around, which resulted in Jack Callaghan restraining the 4yo to a rearwards role. The solid tempo certainly suited B K Swy and, as a result, she was able to work home stoutly over the final stages in defeating a fast-finishing Divine Diva while Our Cowgirls N Lace battled on gamely for third. On paper at least, this should be an easier challenge for the daughter of Big Jim. OAXACAN DREAM (9) enjoyed a creditable Queensland campaign, which culminated in a 10.4m 5th to Wahs Fire Bug at AP on Sept 11. Also, a daughter of Big Jim, the 4yo mare has drawn one spot wider than B K Swy, and while that will be a hurdle, the Belinda McCarthy-prepared mare is more than capable of making her presence known when the judge calls a halt. From her past seven appearances, DIVINE DIVA (6) has been involved in the finish on five occasions, the latest a week ago when she hit the line well in recording a half-head 2nd to B K Swy. The mare was presented with the one-one by Ash Hart and from the middle of line, Divine Diva again has the chance to be suitably placed. Although the 5yo daughter of Mach Three doesn’t win out of turn, this challenge will be to her liking, so don’t ignore her winning claims. MISS MACH (2) is an honest type with an ideal draw, and that combination should result in another bold showing. Prepared by Simon Ellul and to be driven Hannah Rixon, Miss Mach collected two wins and a couple of solid placings at Headquarters, prior to posting a 5.4m 4th to Court On The Edge at Penrith. The daughter of Mach Three is capable of setting the tempo, although she does appear to enjoy taking a sit and being exposed late. When forming multiple transactions, HELD TO RANSOM (4) is capable of assisting in that regard as the mare has been thereabouts in most of her recent outings while QUEENOFDANCE (3), ZANADU (5) and MYRA DAWN (10) also have claims in that regard.
B K SWY 1, Oaxacan Dream 2, Divine Diva 3, Miss Mach 4.
If his latest effort is anything to go by, and it should be, then ALEPPO MURPHY (8) should play a pro-active role in the finish. Contesting his first assignment from a spell and for Joe and Mary Rando, the former Victorian contested the 3009m stand start event from a front line draw, with the lightly-raced 8yo competing from a midfield role. An incident nearing the 800m marker resulted in a handful of runners striking trouble, including Aleppo Murphy, which lost valuable metres as a result. When the judge called a halt to proceedings, the classy Tough Monarch saluted, with Monaro Mia grabbing second. Closing strongly into third spot was Aleppo Murphy which was only beaten five metres after losing that a more. With a higher level of fitness, a return to a mobile event and an easier challenge on the table, Aleppo Murphy has the opportunity to snare his first win since scoring at Bendigo back in April 2020. For that to happen, Aleppo Murphy must account for INDEFENSIBLE (2) which has drawn ideally in gate two. Prepared by Rickie Alchin and to be driven by his mentor, Indefensible, like so many of Rick’s team, is racing in fine fashion. Indefensible was also involved in the same scrimmage as Aleppo Murphy, and his effort in posting a 7m 4th was also full of merit. Following that run the Armbro Variable 4yo worked home stoutly in recording a 19.4m 3rd to two classy types in Aldebaran Revani and Funky Money a week ago. From his ideal starting role, Indefensible will be swiftly into stride as he attempts to go from start to finish in the lead role. GIMONDI (9) ended his previous term of racing as runner-up on six-consecutive occasions but has been well-beaten in both his runs this term. Prepared by Blake Fitzpatrick, who will also take the reins, the 4yo son of Peak DNK also suffered interference in the Tough Monarch race, resulting in a 96m tenth. Gimondi showed improvement last week in the race won by Aldebaran Revani, resulting in a 9.4m fourth. Fitter and back to a suitable challenge, Gimondi will be involved in the finish. CHAMPAGNE PRINCE (7) has been safely held since scoring here back in mid-august, but stays under notice as an exotic chance, along with MAJOR THOMAS (6), RIGHT MOVES (4) and EMPIRE BAY (10).
ALEPPO MURPHY 1, Indefensible 2, Gimondi 3, Champagne Prince 4.