• apg mixed strip 22
    garrards 2020
  • Racing Tips
    INTER DOMINION NIGHT: Finding a winner on our biggest Saturday night INTER DOMINION NIGHT: Finding a winner on our biggest Saturday night

    CHAMPION TEAM: King Of Swing with Luke and Belinda McCarthy.

    RACE ONE: Despite being absent from the winner’s circle since this time last year, EGODAN (4) appeals as the one to beat following an... INTER DOMINION NIGHT: Finding a winner on our biggest Saturday night

    RACE ONE:

    Despite being absent from the winner’s circle since this time last year, EGODAN (4) appeals as the one to beat following an eye-catching run last week when first-up from a spell and for the Jason Grimson team. Throughout his 133-start career the 9yo has had a number of mentors and he is certainly no stranger to this venue, having contested 49 races for 10 wins and 13 placings. After residing competing in Victoria since Feb/2019, Egodan trialled well for Grimson, prior to coming from a rearward role in recording a fast-finishing 1.2m 2nd behind the classy Jay OK last week. To some extent the run surprised the stable so with natural improvement, due to the outing being his first since early April, Egodan should be ready to greet the judge. Along with his higher level of fitness, Egodan will also benefit from a vastly improved draw. The Brent Lilley-trained SICARIO (6) is the class factor and although the 6yo isn’t at his brilliant best these days, the 6yo was still good enough to be listed as a reserve for the Inter Dominion series. Sicario contested the same race as Egodan last week, with the son of Somebeachsomewhere posting a gritty 1.6m 3rd after working outside of the leader. A stylish all-the-way win at this venue a week earlier has Sicario rating highly in this open contest. PITCH PERFECT (1) continues to race consistently and with the benefit of an ideal draw the Roy Roots Jnr-trained 5yo appeals as a definite threat. The 5yo has had a month off, following an unlucky 4.3m 5th to Ignatius at Headquarters. BRIGHT ENERGY (5)has come through the three heats of the Inter Dominion with a couple of safely held efforts to start his campaign while his latest outing resulted in a creditable 13m 6th behind King Of Swing at Newcastle. Back to a suitable challenge, the Western Terror 6yo should be far more competitive for the father and son team of Darren and Brad Elder. When it comes to the multiples, MASTER CATCH (7), PETES SAID SO (8) and BURNHAM BOY (9), which is also dropping back to a far more comfortable challenge following three unplaced Inter Dominion outings, have claims in that regard.

    EGODAN 1, Sicario 2, Pitch Perfect 3, Bright Energy 4.

    RACE TWO:

    Former Victorian mare DIAMOND PARTY (7) has been in sparkling form since crossing the border and joining the strong Jason Grimson stable. As a result, the daughter of Art Major should take a power of beating once again with Tom Ison taking over the reins from Cam Hart. This event is set aside for the Young Drivers Invitation and young Tom has certainly bright prospects when it comes to greeting the judge. The mare came with a whirlwind finish in scoring at her first Menangle assignment, then again hit the line with intent, en route to recording a 9m 2nd to the smart Fairy Tinkabell. Showing superior gate speed in the G3 Teeny Teeny Ladyship a week ago, Diamond Party was rated to perfection by Hart, and that laid the foundation for a stylish win over B K Swy and Shanlou. There is speed drawn inside so Ison will have to see how the opening stages play out. Regardless, Diamond Party has the versatility to handle any situation and still come out on top. RICKOSHAY (2) has drawn ideally for Lisa Fitzpatrick and for Cam Hart, who will have the colt in the thick of the action from the outset. The son of Bettors Delight has been in fine form in recent months, with a couple of back-to-back wins followed by two solid efforts in defeat, the latter a week ago when a 10.9m 4th to Muscle Factory. AQUA SANCTA (1), who was also driven by Cam here last week when a respectable 6m 6th to Ragnaar, is worthy of further attention after drawing the pole. Resuming from a spell with a pleasing 7.5m 3rd to Viva Las Vegas, the Jarrod Alchin-trained 4yo then worked home soundly in finishing a 6m 6th behind Ragnaar. Fitter and with a far better draw, Aqua Sancta is ready to play a far more active role in the finish, with the in-form Jack Callaghan warming the seat. SUMMIT SPECIAL (11) has a tough draw but the Mr Feelgood 6yo is rarely far away and his latest effort in posting an 8.9m 3rd to Muscle Factory last week was a pleasing display. If they go hard from the outset, Summit Special is capable of proving hard to hold out. ZIGGYS ROCKS (9) did too much work last week when a tiring 9th to Muscle Factory, but with sound form prior, the 5yo stays in the mix as an exotic contender. ART TUTOR (10) also has claims when forming multiple transactions, along with SWAGGIE SHANNON (8).

    DIAMOND PARTY 1, Rickoshay 2, Aqua Sancta 3, Summit Special 4.

    RACE THREE:

    Following an impressive heat win, the Mattie Craven trained and driven BETTOR CALL ME (4) appeals as the one to beat when the Carousel Final rolls around. Arriving with solid form behind him, courtesy of contesting the Breeders Crown series for 3YO C&G’s, which culminated with a 10.3m 3rd to the superstar Act Now in the Final, Bettor Call Me was responsible for a stylish first-up appearance at Headquarters. From a cosy three peg, to being in a threatening role on the home turn, Bettor Call Me joined in strongly with 200m, prior to breaking clear of the pack in defeating Nota Replica and Old Luke. A wide draw awaits the Bettors Delight colt, however, the speed with be keen from the outset, allowing Craven to again play the waiting game, prior to calling upon Bettor Call Me when the lengthy home straight comes into play. While Bettor Call Me was impressive, the Jarrod Alchin-prepared DELIGHTFUL DUDE (2) wasn’t far behind him in taking out his heat. Returning from a creditable Qld campaign and a four month spell, without an official trial, Delightful Dude dictated the terms, courtesy of Cam Hart, in proving too good for Uncle Jay and Hands On. The quality 3yo will face the starter from gate two, which is ideal, and with a higher level of fitness, Delightful Dude is bound to be involved in the finish. BETTER ECLIPSE (9) rarely runs a bad race, if at all, and although the Jess Tubbs-trained son of Betterthancheddar has drawn out in seven, which is less the reserves, he can’t be taken lightly. Placed in both heats of this series, the Victorian visitor is coming off a solid-finishing 4.8m 3rd to Vincent Van Gone and October Reign. Greg Sugars jumps back into the sulky after Blake Fitzpatrick filled in for the classy Victorian last week. VIVA LAS VEGAS (12) will start from the gate nearest the grandstand, but the Amanda Turnbull trained and driven 4yo is racing with a high-level of confidence and if the pace is a ‘cracker’, then the son of Sweet Lou is capable of charging home, as he did a couple of weeks ago, overcoming the outside gate in defeating subsequent winner Vincent Van Gone and Aqua Sancta. LA PUDDIE (8), which is also prepared by Jess Tubbs, was brave in scoring last week and with Luke McCarthy again taking the reins, the 4yo is the value threat. Exotic investors should also include ARDENS ACE (6), OCTOBER REIGN (1) and VINCENT VAN GONE (3).

    BETTOR CALL ME 1, Delightful Dude 2, Better Eclipse 3, Viva Las Vegas 4.

    RACE FOUR:

    The Kari JC Caffyn Plate, which is set aside for Indigenous Drivers, has attracted a competitive field and that will ensure a keenly contested race from start to finish. Victorian mentor Stephen Clarke has arrived with two top chances in MONSIEUR DELACOUR (12) and UPANATOM (8) and although the draw hasn’t been kind to the former, the son of Village Colt appeals as the one to beat on his superb form back home. Since greeting the judge at Melton, Monsieur Delacour has been competitive in each of his three subsequent runs, the latest a 3.3m 4th to Major Meister, again at Melton, on Nov 27. Monsieur Delacour has had one previous Menangle experience, which was back in February when he finished a solid 6.3m 3rd behind Stun Gun and Pacman Hammer. Royce Gregory takes the reins and if he can secure a comfortable trip for the 4yo, then the winning post and the trophy should be well within their reach. Stablemate UPANATOM (8) has won three races from 11 attempts when prepared in this ‘neck of the woods’ and with his recent form back home more than acceptable, the veteran should give the youngster Lleyton Green the ideal opportunity to make his presence felt against previous JC Caffyn winners. The 11yo posted a solid 8.9m 2nd to the talented Ample Power at Cranbourne, then led throughout when successful over Wattlebank Flyer and Carload at Stawell a few weeks ago. Upanatom enjoys dictating and Green is more than capable of providing the son of Christian Cullen with such a role. Another Victorian in ITZAMAJOR SURPRISE (9), which is under the care of Mattie Craven, also has bright prospects in this suitable grade. Contesting stronger races back home, the mare hit the line nicely when a 7.4m 2nd to Hands On at Menangle a couple of weeks ago, prior to posting a respectable 5.7m 5th to Diamond Party in a G3 event a week ago. That form must be respected in this suitable assignment. Drawing ideally in two, SMOOTH OVERARM (2) is capable of playing an active role in the finish after a pleasing 8m 4th to Vincent Van Gone last week in a heat of the Carousel. The 6yo son of Changeover will find this assignment to his liking. The consistent LYNTON CREEK (1) will be confronted by a harder task but from the pole the 8yo is worthy of exotic attention while BARRETT (4) will give David Caffyn every opportunity for him to have his famous Caffyn name added to the Honour Roll. Also expect a bold showing from PACMAN HANOVER (5) as the 6yo is open to a vastly improved showing following a fading 14.7m last to Rickoshay a month ago, The Peter Russo-trained son of Courage Under Fire did win three of his previous four, prior to that failure. The suitable draw could see McKayler Barnes attempt an all-the-way win.

    MONSIEUR DELACOUR 1, Upanatom 2, Itzamajor Surprise 3, Smooth Overarm 4.

    RACE FIVE:

    The TAB Inter Dominion Trotting Championship Grand Final is overflowing with chances, and with a number of outstanding candidates the trophy is likely to be heading the way of a Victorian. If, the reserves don’t come off the bench, the  Mattie Craven trained and driven PINK GALAHS (7) will ‘fly’ the gate from six and that should assist the daughter Skyvalley to secure a suitable trip, leaving her with the energy required to overcome the testing trip of 3009m. Boasting 18 wins and 11 placings from her 39 assignments, Pink Galahs has always shown immense talent and her form throughout the three heats, despite not being able to greet the judge, has been solid in preparation for the ultimate challenge. Placed in each of her heats, the mare hasn’t had a great deal go her way, with her latest outing resulting in a gritty 3.8m 2nd to Maori Law at Newcastle. A kinder trip will allow Craven to keep Pink Galahs poised to pounce when the field spot the winning post. Another Victorian in THE PENNY DROPS (12) has had the perfection preparation and despite carrying a ‘double digit’ saddlecloth, the Ray Harvey-prepared son of Danny Bouchea is capable of taking the trophy back to Stawell. Arriving for the carnival with a solid body of work behind him, the ‘tough as teak’ 5yo went on a ‘trophy winning spree’ taking out the Kilmore Cup (3150m), Swan Hill Cup (2790m) and Maryborough Cup (2690m), all under stand start conditions. A gritty 2nd to Majestic Man in the opening heat, then a 6.8m 5th to Timothy Red at Bathurst, indicated that the gelding was starting to warm to the task, and that was confirmed when The Penny Drops accounted for Kyvalley Chief and Just Believe at Newcastle last week. The 3009m won’t be a concern for The Penny Drops as the bay is capable of going around for another lap. The highly-regarded and decorated Kiwi, MAJESTIC MAN (2) has drawn ideally and, as always, when it comes to races of this nature, the skill of Anthony Butt is a big plus. However, it is hard to know just where the classy is at heading into the Grand Final. The son of Majestic Man led and won his opening heat, but only just, before dictating the terms when a poor 36.2m 6th to Lotamuscle at Bathurst, with the gelding being the first horse beaten on the home turn. With his spot in the final on the line, Majestic Man recovered to grab a 9m 4th to Maori Law at Newcastle. The draw will give Butt options, the most likely being a sit behind TOUGH MONARCH (4). There is no doubting the class of Majestic Man and dismissing him from the equation isn’t an option. MAORI LAW (6) has also had an ideal preparation, courtesy of co-trainers Emmett and Richard Brosnan. After opening the series with a grinding 5.4m 5th to Majestic Man, the 8yo then closed strongly in posting a 1.4m 2nd to Timothy Red, prior to gaining maximum points when a determined all-the-way winner at Newcastle, accounting for Pink Galahs and Caligula. The son of Lawman looks ideally suited for the testing trip and with Greg Sugars in the cart, the Victorian’s are capable of lifting the trophy. The draw has hindered the claims of TIMOTHY RED (14) but the lightly-raced 4yo stays in the exotic mix, along with ILLAWONG STARDUST (9), which will be driven by the legendary Brian Gath. KYVALLEY CHIEF (11) and LOTAMUSCLE (10) should also figure in multiple investments.

    PINK GALAHS 1, The Penny Drops 2, Majestic Man 3, Maori Law 4.

    RACE SIX:

    The Inter Dominion Pacing Championship Consolation has a host of chances, but it is hard to go past the Roy Roots Jnr-trained THE BLACK PRINCE (13) as the one to beat. The back row draw will be cancelled out by the 3009m, so that early hurdle should be overcome without any fuss. An unlucky 10.9m 9th to Malcolms Rhythm in the opening round of heats, made all the difference to the son of Bettors Delight contesting this race in facing the starter for a shot of G1 ID glory. Dictating the terms early, prior to taking a sit, and again leading as heads were turned for home, The Black Prince was responsible for a brave 10m 3rd to Expensive Ego at Bathurst. His final round 8.9m 4th to King Of Swing at Newcastle was again another quality effort in defeat. The trip won’t be a concern for the classy 6yo who has bright claims of adding this title to his G1 Len Smith Mile victory, along with his Newcastle Mile and Newcastle Derby and Carousel trophies. Following a disappointing start to his ID campaign, IGNATIUS (8) bounced back strongly with a 5m 4th to Spirit Of St Louis and a 6.4m 6th behind Expensive Ego, respectively. The James Rattray trained and driven 6yo will relish the 3009m and he is bound to be pro-active in the finish. MACH DAN (3) has been thereabouts throughout the heats and with an ideal draw assisting his claims of securing a role close to the action, the Mach Three 4yo is more than capable of making his presence felt. WESTERN SONADOR (10) could be the ‘value’ runner as the 5yo has been building towards a strong showing and the 3009m may allow him to give this race a big shake. Safely held when a 14m 10th to Malcolms Rhythm on the opening night, Western Sonador posted a pleasing 5.8m 6th to King Of Swing, then he hit the line in fine fashion, coming from a deep peg role in recording a 7.3m 7th to Bundoran at Newcastle. Beaten 7.5m or less in his three heats, LOORRIM LAKE (7) is another ‘value’ contender. The son of Roll With Joe has been game in defeat and over this trip, the 4yo will have the chance to settle into a suitable racing pattern before being in the mix when the field thunder down the home straight. Also consider POCKET OF TERROR (11) in exotic transactions, along with REACTOR NOW (6), which hasn’t been a factor to date, but he is better than his Inter Dominion would suggest.

    THE BLACK PRINCE 1, Ignatius 2, Mach Dan 3, Western Sonador 4.

    RACE SEVEN:

    Two years in the making and finally the 2021 edition of the TAB Inter Dominion Pacing Championship Grand Final will be staged and it has all the makings of being one of the most memorable on record, courtesy of the Belinda McCarthy-prepared stablemates, KING OF SWING (11) and EXPENSIVE EGO (1). The pair will face the starter with an unblemished record in winning each heat, but the draw has certainly given Expensive Ego an important edge over his illustrious roommate. However, over 3009m, will it give the 4yo the advantage required to repel the ‘King’ from adding another important trophy to his already display if silverware. The dual Miracle Mile winner has had the perfection preparation, which is also the case when discussing Expensive Ego, however, King Of Swing is a proven master of winning the ‘big’ ones and it will be that tough, seasoned attitude which will give him the edge. Tactics will be intriguing, firstly in whether Expensive Ego can withstand the early onslaught, and if he does, when King Of Swing arrives on the scene, will he ‘park’ the 6yo and hope to prove superior over the gruelling 3009m?

    If Luke McCarthy can secure the lead, then King Of Swing will take a power of beating, as per usual. EXPENSIVE EGO (1) has been explosive throughout the series and David Moran will get the job done as his in races of this nature is hard to fault. How King Of Swing and Expensive Ego settle into their respective roles will be fascinating. If there is a ‘smoky’ in the race then the Jess Tubbs-trained TRIPLE EIGHT (4) is that ‘x-factor’ after the quality 6yo drew suitably in five, which will less one of the reserves don’t come into play. Throughout the heats the American Ideal has gone about his business in a professional manner, collecting his points with the minimum of fuss. Along the way, Triple Eight has been confronted by tricky draws, twice being asked to overcome drawing the inside of the back row at this venue and Newcastle. Coming off an eye-catching 8.6m 3rd to King Of Swing at Newcastle, when five pegs for most of the trip, Triple Eight will again be ‘cuddled’ by Greg Sugars for as long as possible, prior to giving the major players something to think about over the final, testing 200m. BALRAJ (12), despite the back row, stays under notice as another big price’ threat as Jack Trainor has timed his preparation to perfection. The 5yo wrapped-up his heat appearances with a determined 4m 2nd to King Of Swing, the outing being his fourth since a spell. SPIRIT OF ST LOUIS (5), while not mentioned in the same conversation as his two stablemates, King Of Swing and Expensive Ego, has only enhanced his growing reputation throughout the series. Maybe, still a year shy of being a major contender, the 4yo is attracting attention and if the stars start to falter, Spirit Of St Louis could be a factor. ALTA ORLANDO (9), which is one of four runners representing the Belinda McCarthy team, is a tough, honest veteran who is well aware of what it takes to be competitive in major events. The 9yo is entitled to exotic attention while the David Aiken pair in MALCOLMS RHYTHM (3) and MAX DELIGHT (10) are also in contention when it comes to exotic investments.

    KING OF SWING 1, Expensive Ego 2, Triple Eight 3, Balraj 4.

    RACE EIGHT:

    After a moderate start to the series, the David Aiken-prepared mare ALDEBARAN CRESCENT (10) showed encouraging signs in finishing a 10.2m 4th to Lotofmuscle before overcoming a break in recording 9m 5th to Maori Law at Newcastle. Dropping back to an easier challenge, despite drawing deep, the mare has the talent to head back to Victoria on a winning note. The Rickie Alchin trained and driven WATTS UP MAJESTIC (3) is an exciting prospect, and although the 3yo will again being taking on older rivals, which was the case when he scored at this venue a week ago, he is entitled to a high rating. From gate three the son of Majestic Son will be able to secure a favourable role close to the action and that will lay the foundations for a strong showing. Consistent 5yo ROYAL GLENFERRIE (5) returns for the in-form Paul Fitzpatrick stable and with the benefit of two sound trials, a competitive showing is a distinct possibility. ROBBIE ROYALE (9) has been below his best throughout the ID series for trotters but the 7yo finds himself returning to a suitable assignment, and although he appears to keep his best form for stand events, the Brent Lilley-trained son of Raffaello can’t be taken lightly. When forming multiple transactions MAJOR THOMAS (6), ONE MAJIC KENNY (7) and RED CASTLETON (8) fall into that category.

    ALDEBARAN CRESCENT 1, Watts Up Majestic 2, Royal Glenferrie 3, Robbie Royale 4.   

     – MICK KO’CASS

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