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    Jeff’s ready to launch into the New Year with gusto Jeff’s ready to launch into the New Year with gusto

    SET TO WOW THEM IN 2024: Hi Manameisjeff.

    RACE ONE: Racing returns to Headquarters on Saturday night with a seven-event card and an open contest awaits punters when the field steps out... Jeff’s ready to launch into the New Year with gusto

    RACE ONE:

    Racing returns to Headquarters on Saturday night with a seven-event card and an open contest awaits punters when the field steps out for the running of the first Menangle race for 2024. The reliable UNFAZED (6) ended last year on a winning note and hopefully the Paul Fitzpatrick-trained 7yo can begin the new season by greeting the judge. Working home stoutly from a midfield role, Unfazed was able to arrive in time to defeat Cya Art and Ardens Ace. Both have been competitive in recent assignments over the holiday period. The son of Auckland Reactor has drawn the middle of the line, leaving driver Sean Grayling with options, however, the likely scenario will be to obtain a similar midfield role before allowing Unfazed to build into the contest from the top of the home straight. On the subject of reliability, ARDENS ACE (3) falls into that category as the Tony Bertwistle-prepared 6yo hasn’t finished further back then fourth from his past six engagements, with four resulting in placings, three as runner-up. After commencing his latest assignment, the Merv Adams Memorial at Penrith, from the second line, Ardens Ace was able to enjoy the one-one, courtesy of David Morris, before finishing a gritty 13m 4th to Hezashadowplaya, which scored with ease for Joe Conolly and Chris Geary. Ideally drawn in three, as sure as night follows day, or the other way around, Ardens Ace will be prominently placed from the outset, and as he goes in search of his first win since last September, it will be a case of whether the photogenic son of Art Major has the desire to go all-the-way. JANARTY (2) has been off the scene since a disappointing 52.3m 9th behind stablemate Pas Guarantee in the Lachlan Valley Cup at Cowra in the early stages of last November. Prior to that outing the 8yo son of Art major had been in fine form, winning four of his previous eight with two solid placings also in the mix. A handy trial outing a few weeks ago has the Jarrod Alchin-trained gelding ready to be a threat once again. The Luke McCarthy-trained THE CROUPIER (11) has drawn the outside gate but his form warrants inclusion in the main bracket of chances. Luke has booked the in-form Harrison Ross to take the reins behind the 9yo, which is coming off a 5.4m 6th to Braeview Kelly at Menangle a week before Christmas. Prior to that the son of Roll With Joe posted a 13m 4th to Hi Manameisjeff and a gallant attempt to lead throughout which resulted in a gritty head 2nd to Mach Da Vinci in a time of 1:49.9. The chances don’t stop there as BRAEDOS LAD (8) and STINGRAY TARA (10) also in the mix, with the latter coming off a 12.8m last to Unfazed, but the 8yo had little luck in doing so. With the benefit of two runs on this side of the Tasman, although safely held in both, SMIFFYS TERROR (9), a 6yo son of Terror To Love, should be kept in the exotics as Luke McCarthy has elected to take the reins.

    UNFAZED 1, Ardens Ace 2, Janarty 3, The Croupier 4.

    RACE TWO:

    This should be an ideal assignment for ALTA ORLANDO (10), despite drawing wide. However, does the veteran want it ? The 12yo had been racing consistently, without winning, prior to his 23m 9th to Cya Art in the Shirley Turnbull Memorial at Bathurst on Boxing Day. Contesting the 2790m event from a five peg role, Alta Orlando was never in the hunt in what was a rare disappointing effort from gelding. Luke McCarthy is yet to decide on whether he will drive Alta Orlando or the stablemate MALCOLMS RHYTHM (9), which strips fitter following two runs back from a spell, but he is also below his best these days. Alta Orlando is bound to be prominently placed from the outset and that should pave the way for a bold showing. BOOM (7) hits peak condition following three runs back, all resulting in unplaced efforts, however, the 7yo has been improving with each assignment. After attempting to lead throughout in his latest challenge, the James Rattray trained and driven son of Alta Christiano produced a game effort in finishing a 1.5m 4th behind Unfazed. To start from six, if the reserve remains benched, Boom is again poised to be in the thick of the action from the outset in proving hard to run down once again. Also stripping fitter for three runs since a break is the KerryAnn Morris-trained LAST TANGO IN HEAVEN (2), with KerryAnn also handling the driving duties. Creditable efforts in races won by Brooklyn Bridge and Bondi Lockdown at this venue, respectively, had Last Tango In Heaven ready to tackle his next assignment at Newcastle on December 23, which resulted in a narrow all-the-way win over King Tiger and Betterthanfederer. Suitably drawn in two for this harder encounter, Last Tango In Heaven should be competitive. LINE UP (11) is the intriguing runner and certainly the ‘x-factor’ as the sparingly-raced 7yo has the talent to greet the judge with the minimum of fuss. The son of Bettors Delight has certainly had his fair share of issues and as he prepares to compete in just his 30th start, the gelding will also be resuming under the care of Joe and Mary Rando, his fourth training partnership since coming from New Zealand. It all started with Anthony Butt, the Darren Binskin before David Jack had the classy son of Bettors Delight for four runs. The last of those resulted in a 15.6m last to Better Eclipse at Melton back on August 5/ 2023. Following two well-beaten trials, Line Up then led throughout for a comfortable trial win over Wavethebill, Our Cosmic Major and Janarty in a time of 1:51.9, with the final 400m covered in 26.3. Will Rixon will take the reins behind Line Up, who will be looking to secure his first win since scoring here in February 2022. LITTLE BLISS (6) returns from a Queensland campaign with her final effort in four appearances being the best, a 9.7m 4th to Big Skewy. The Troy Williams-trained mare should be linked to the multiples, along with MALCOLMS RHYTHM (9), WOW HES A ROCK STAR (8), which had been racing well before breaking shortly after the start when a distant 11th to Cya Art in the Shirley Turnbull Memorial at Bathurst.

    ALTA ORLANDO 1, Boom 2, Last Tango In Paris 3, Line Up 4.

    RACE THREE:

    It is rare that a ’pair of jacks’ prove to be a winning hand, but that will be the case here when Jack Trainor and Jack brown combine with the talented mare  THERESA LOVE (1), which has ‘come up trumps’ after drawing the pole position. After securing the seventh win of her career when she overcame a wide gate in defeating Carlo Gambino and Foxy Dada, the daughter of Terror To Love then finished a gritty 4.5m 4th to Celestial Gossip before again filling the same role in the race won by Major Statement at Penrith on December 28. On each occasion the 6yo has been left keeping the leader company before showing plenty of fight in the run home. This time around Jack Brown, who enjoyed a break-out-season in the sulky last year, will have Theresa Love enjoying a far kinder run and, that should be enough to see her home. NEPTUNE (3) has been successful in his past two engagements and with gate three a suitable starting point, the KerryAnn Morris-trained 4yo again looks poised for a competitive showing in this slightly harder contest. Last time out the son of Bettors Delight enjoyed a kind run behind the leader and eventual runner-up in Rockokoko at Headquarters on December 19. Robert Morris will be hoping to produce a similar drive with Neptune. CRIME DONT PAY (2) will split that pair at the start and although he hasn’t won since last September, the Seaton Grima trained and driven son of Sportswriter has been thereabouts on a regular basis. Contesting the Merv Adams Memorial at Penrith last time out, Crime Dont Pay raced in a four peg role in finishing a 17.4m 5th to Hezashadowplaya. The 7yo is more than capable of being involved in the finish. The Blake Fitzpatrick-trained RICKOSHAY (8) has drawn wide but is worthy of more than a passing thought, despite the appearance of two unplaced runs next to his name. Following a win and two placings, one at Penrith and the other here, the 6yo hasn’t had the best of luck in his two subsequent outings, with an 8m 7th to Double Encounter, followed by an 8.4m 7th behind Unfazed. Each time the son of Bettors Delight has been firmly entrenched in a midfield role on the pegs. His past two runs have been better than it appears on paper and a bold showing wouldn’t surprise so don’t ignore Rickoshay. Former Kiwi NICHOLAS CAGE (9) debuted for Cobbitty Lodge with a 67.5 8th to Major Major back on December 16 when he drew wide and raced in a reward role, prior to being seven back on the pegs approaching the final bend. The 5yo son of Art Major has the talent as his latest win back in March 2023 came at the expense of Akuta and Copy That. The Luke McCarthy trained and driven 5yo is worth keeping safe, at least in multiple transactions. SOHO RHAPSODY (10) strips fitter for one run back, however, the mare has drawn the outside gate which will add to the degree of difficulty. RYANS GANGSTER (7) is coming off a Newcastle win and should be considered by exotic players.

    THERESA LOVE 1, Neptune 2, Crime Dont Pay 3, Rickoshay 4.

    RACE FOUR:

    Carousel winner OUR COSMIC MAJOR (10) will be having his second run back since accounting for Janarty and Our Uncle Jim back on September 23, and although confronted by the outside draw, the Luke McCarthy-trained and driven son of Art Major is clearly the one to beat. The former Kiwi had won his opening three starts for the stable before resuming with an eye-catching display at this venue on November 11. Restrained at the start by Luke, the 5yo settled five pegs, prior to charging home late in posting a neck 2nd to Rakadan. As the saying goes, it had ‘back me next time’ written all over it. To keep him up to the mark, Our Cosmic Major recorded a solid 4.3m 3rd to Line Up in a trial at Menangle December 20. Our Cosmic Major has led when drawn close to the pegs so it will be interesting if Luke decides to launch from this draw, now that the gelding has a higher level of fitness. Regardless, Our Cosmic Major is the one to beat and, one of two ‘best bets on the card. The main threat of Our Cosmic Major is drawn next to him in ARDENS DELIGHT (9), another strong chance for trainer Jack and driver Jack. The 6yo mare has been racing consistently at Penrith during the month of December in winning three runs back, prior to finishing runner-up behind Im In Trouble and Hezashadowplaya, respectively, the latter in the Merv Adams Memorial. Rarely far away, Ardens Delight will again make her presence felt so respect the daughter of Bettors Delight. The Ash Delosa-trained OUR UNCLE JIM (7) has been in the mix in most of his recent engagements, with his latest outing resulting in a solid-finishing neck 3rd to Major Statement at Penrith. The 8yo son of Western Terror is close to another win so don’t leave him out of multiple transactions. SAVEEON (2) joins the Rickie Alchin team after a being under the care of Ash Grives. The talented mare has been runner-up in her past two encounters and has been game in defeat each time. Following a determined head 2nd to Windy Hill Tara at Bathurst in the NSWBC Western regional Final for 3YO Fillies, the daughter of Warrawee Needy then posted a gritty 7.5m 2nd to the exciting prospect Works For Me at Dubbo in the Red Ochre Classic. Suitably drawn in two, Saveeon, which has always shown immense talent, will make her presence felt. The consistent MY ULTIMATE CARTER (1) has drawn perfectly in one and must be in the mix when it comes to the multiples, the don’t fiddle about in considering whether STRAVINSKY (8) should be included as the answer is yes. After a few sound efforts of late on the country circuit, the son of Sunshine Beach joins the Seaton Grima team. With Seaton gaining a reputation for enjoying immediate success with new members of his stable, Stravinsky can’t be taken lightly.

    OUR COSMIC MAJOR 1, Ardens Delight 2, Our Uncle Jim 3, Saveeon 4.

    RACE FIVE:

    The event is named in honour of the legendary P J Hall with the FFA featuring a number of outstanding types, none more so then the latest ‘hype’ runner in HI MANAMEISJEFF (7) and following wins in six of his past seven starts, all for Jason Grimson, every man and is dog, now knows who Jeff is and come Miracle Mile time his reputation will be further enhanced, But, first things first, and Hi Manameisjeff will be looking to complete a hat-trick of wins after posting his only failure since switching to NSW. Contesting the Victoria Cup at Melton on October 14, the 7yo didn’t have the best of luck from a back row draw, resulting in a 6.2m 10th to Act Now. Back to Menangle and Hi Manameisjeff peeled off wins in the Nick Robin FFA and the Tony Turnbull FFA, respectively, the latter over 2300m in defeating Mach Da Vinci and Alta Orlando, convincingly. Possessing the necessary gate speed to dominant from the front, the son of Art major has a few speedsters drawn to his left and that will make things interesting. But the lead role should be his as it would be a brave attempt to hold Hi Manameisjeff out, and hope to be competitive at the same time. The Paul Fitzpatrick-conditioned SOUTH COAST ARDEN (3) returned from a spell with a tough 2.3m 3rd to Braeview Kelly and Double Encounter when stepping out over 2300m. The 7yo was left facing the breeze on that occasion and did a good job to finish as close as he did. Fitter and back to the sprint trip, South Coast Arden has drawn well in three and that will assist Gav in finding a role close to the action, en route to be in the finish. MAGICIAN (11) has the outside gate to overcome, along with a strong line-up, but the son of Sweet Lou can’t be ignored as a potential threat. The former Tasmanian created a big impression when a gallant 15.4m 4th to Encipher in the $2m Eureka before resuming from that outing under the care of James Rattray, who obtained the gelding from brother Todd. Second to Taipo when resuming on December 9, the 5yo then recorded a gritty 5m 5th to Braeview Kelly a week later after drawing wide again, then working home three wide. Fitter, Magician is capable of making something happen, out of nothing. The classy BONDI LOCKDOWN (6) resumed with a solid win at Menangle in early December and another strong showing can be expected from the Luke McCarthy trained and driven son of Somebeachsomewhere. It is hard to leave out MACH DA VINCI, when it comes to the top four, as the Peter Hanson-trained son of Art Major is racing in the peak of his powers. The 7yo is coming of a retirement in the Shirley Turnbull Memorial at Bathurst on Boxing Day after being badly checked soon after the start. Sent out as favourite, Mach Da Vinci is bound to bounce back strongly, especially after drawing well in four. Value exotic chances are STAR MAJOR (1) and FIRESTORM RED (2), courtesy of drawing well.

    HI MANAMEISJEFF 1, South Coast Arden 2, Magician 3, Bondi Lockdown 4.

    RACE SIX:

    MAJOR MAJOR (1) has been outstanding since joining Jason Grimson from Victorian and from gate one the Art Major gelding again looks hard to beat. First-up for the stable and Major Major recorded a solid 2.8m 2nd to Im In Trouble, but he indicated he was ready to greet the judge. Finishing strongly at his next appearance in turning the tables on Im In Trouble, Major Major then stalked the leader in finishing too well for My Ultimate carter while Don Lou was a further 11m away in grabbing third. In greeting the judge, Major Major covered the 1609m in a blistering 1:49.8. Jack Brown will again partner Major Major and he will be looking to secure a similar stalking role, prior to making his move. And the one Jack may look to follow is the Seaton Grima trained and driven HEZASHADOWPLAYA (2), which was under the care of Joe Conolly when the 7yo showed immense improvement in taking out the Merv Adams Memorial at Penrith on December 29. Taken straight to the front by Chris Geary, the son of Shadow Play gave nothing else a chance in defeating Ardens Delight and Wavethebill. Ideally drawn in two, which was his starting point at Penrith, Hezashadowplaya is bound to create plenty of attention one again. The Luke McCarthy trained and driven ROCKNROLL HAMMER (4) will be stepping out for his first assignment since a 23m 5th behind The Lost Storm in the G1 Queensland Derby at AP back on July 22. Prior to that run the quality 4yo son of A Rocknroll Dance recorded a game 11.4m 2nd behind eventual Inter Dominion winner Leap To Fame in the G1 Rising Sun, also at the Headquarters of racing in Queensland. Luke has given Rocknroll Hammer one trial, which resulted in a solid neck 2nd to South Coast Arden in a time of 1:51.9. Handily drawn in four, Rocknroll Hammer won’t be far away when the judge calls a halt. The consistent FREDDY SINGH (8) has drawn wide but is racing in fine fashion, although this will be a harder task compared to recent wins at Canberra and Penrith. The 6yo warrants attention as an exotic contender while ROCKET BOY (9) and MAGIC MATTEO (6) also have claims in that regard.

    MAJOR MAJOR 1, Hesashadowplaya 2, Rocknroll Hammer 3, Freddy Singh 4.

    RACE SEVEN:

    The trotters will wrap-up proceedings with a number of chances involved as the majority have been mixing their form. HAVE NO FEAR (7) has won two of his past three, with an 8m 4th to King Of Love sandwiched between those two performances. Prepared by Joe and Mary Rando and to be driven Will Rixon, the Father Patrick 6yo has greeted the judge in stand events, with his defeat coming in a mobile race when he led. The gelding proved too good for his rivals in defeating Gunner and Sunny Gee, two of his main rivals once again. Will be looking to position Have No Fear in a forward role, if not in the lead position, and that would ensure that the pair control their own destiny. AFFAIRE DE COVER (4) scored here four starts ago, prior to two unplaced efforts at AP, before the Troy Williams-trained 6yo headed back home in recording a solid head 2nd to The Night King at Penrith. Handily drawn the son of Love You warrants further attention. KING OF LOVE (2) has the talent but also a bad habit or two, with the latter coming into play at Penrith in the race won by The Night King. Breaking soon after the start from his back row draw, the Joe Conolly-trained, and on that occasion, driven son 6yo of Love You posted accreditable 11m 4th after losing valuable ground. Prior to that effort King Of Love had been racing well at this venue and from gate two, providing he does everything right from start to finish, then expect him to be right in the mix when the judge calls a halt. The Adam Ruggari-conditioned JAKARTA (5) came off a 20m hcp in scoring here two starts ago, then broke in a similar stand event in finishing a 21.8m 7th to Have No Fear when never a factor. Back to a mobile challenge the 7yo has the talent to be a factor. A fitter GUNNER (6) was having his second run back when he worked home steadily in recording a 3.9n 2nd to Have No Fear. With the added fitness, the Howard James trained and driven son of Quaker Jet is capable of looming as a threat once again. Blake Fitzpatrick will provide three runners, DUBLIN CHUBB (3), ONE ADVICE (9) and the ‘hard to follow’ ONE MAJIC KENNY (10), with the latter being the best of them. SUNNY GEE (8) has a win and two placings to show for his past four efforts so don’t ignore the chances of the 7yo as he did account for a similar field in greeting the judge back on November 14.

    HAVE NO FEAR 1, Affaire De Cover 2, King Of Love 3, Jakarta 4.

      – FORM ASSESSED BY MIKE KO’CASS

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