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    Lucky Lodge chasing a triple treat Lucky Lodge chasing a triple treat

    PLENTY TO SMILE ABOUT: the workaholic Robbie Morris.

    RACE ONE: It is that time of the year when three things can be locked-in as a ‘given’. Firstly, Santa Claus is coming to... Lucky Lodge chasing a triple treat


    It is that time of the year when three things can be locked-in as a ‘given’. Firstly, Santa Claus is coming to town and the Boxing Day test match follows. The third is the running of the Maitland Inter City Pace. The 61st edition has resulted in an open and competitive field being assembled in the hope of adding their name to the Honour Roll. But more on that race later. The Melanie Elder-trained LOVE YOU (8) has drawn the back row for his first Maitland assignment but there was a lot to like about his latest display at Newcastle, which resulted in a stylish win, despite making things difficult for himself. After galloping out from the pole and losing ground, the son of Sweet Lou managed to secure the one-one, courtesy of Joe Taaffe, prior to working home strongly in defeating Colerne and Good Word That. Boasting six wins from 17 starts, Love You has always shown above-average talent and this assignment should be well-within his reach. OUTLOOK (7) has drawn the inside of the 2nd row, but the consistent mare remains a threat. Prepared by Melanie’s father Darren, family bragging rights will be up for grabs. The 5yo son of Art Major is coming off a solid 4.5m 4th to Turbo Tommy at Newcastle a week ago, following a strong of top three placings which also includes a win. Luck in running is a big thing on the tighter Maitland track, however, the Elder runners are capable of overcoming such a hurdle. Suitably drawn in three is the reliable CLASSIC ARC (3) which will appreciate the move from the back row into gate three. The 7yo worked home stoutly from a three peg role at Newcastle in posting a 2.7m 4th to True Stepper. Prepared by Brendon Flaherty and to be driven by Jake Hughes, the son of Art Major has a consistent record at this venue and is bound to be competitive once again. SILENT LEGEND (5) overcame a back row draw when successful a week ago in defeating Lincs Poor Boy and Glenfrankie and from a handy draw on the front line, the Cameron Davies-trained and Josh Gallagher driven 4yo is capable of again being involved in the finish. Others to consider when  it comes to exotic transactions are GHOSTLY COURAGE (4), SWEET CREATION (1) and WHISKEY GIRL (9).

    LOVE YOU 1, Outlook 2, Classic Arc 3, Silent Legend 4.


    One of many open contests on the card, the Darren Elder-trained GOOD WORD THAT (8) is worthy of a ticket, despite the 2nd row draw. After being thereabouts, without being a serious threat. Good Word That then posted a solid 4m 3rd to Love You and Colerne a week ago after striking some trouble. Blake Hughes, who is driving in fine fashion, will take over the driving duties behind the son of Sportwriter so expect to see the pair being involved in the finish. COLERNE (5) has also been around the mark of late, with three placings, the latest when 2nd to Love You, coming the way of the mare from her past five starts. Trained and driven by Dan Carmody, the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere will have the chance to be in the mix from the outset. TYGAR (9) has been just behind the placed runners of late, including his latest outing when a 15.2m 4th to Bettor To Be Tricky in a heat of the Inter City Pace. The 9yo son of Safari certainly doesn’t win out of turn these days, but does boast a handy record of 15 wins and 29 placings from his 126 starts, a record superior to his rivals. If, the Melanie Elder-trained veteran is switched on from the outset, this race should be a suitable challenge, despite the presence of a back row draw. The Mark Callaghan-trained GROSESTAR (2) has drawn suitably in two and although unplaced in his past four, the 8yo hasn’t been disgraced. Given every chance by Jack Callaghan when an 11.3m 7th to Kissmelvis at Newcastle six weeks ago, the son of Rock N Roll Heaven will be driven by Jack’s younger brother Tom, who will give Grosestar every chance to be involved in the finish. CORLETTE (1) has exotic claims from the pole while BETTOR KEEP ROCKING (6) and HAY THERE JOE (7) also fall into that category.

    GOOD WORD THAT 1, Colerne 2, Tygar 3, Grosestar 4.


    Melanie Elder will be looking to again provide one of the main players as MAN FROM BRAAVOS (9), despite drawing the back row, is entitled to be regarded as one of the top chances. Contesting a 1609m event at Newcastle last week, the 7yo worked home stoutly, although never a threat in the process, in finishing an 8.9m 7th to Ryans Gangster. That has been the story of late when it comes to the form of Man From Braavos, being thereabouts without being able to feature in the finish. Unbeaten in his only Maitland assignment, Man From Braavos is worthy of another chance as he looks to celebrate his 100th start in the best possible fashion. NEVER KNOW CHARLIE (2) has won two of his five starts here, with a second also in the mix, so from his good draw the son of BGS Folly is poised to be a contender for the top spot. Drawing wide and settling well back on the pegs at Newcastle last time out, the 8yo worked home steadily in recording a useful 9.7m 4th to Abdicate. That effort was in keeping with his recent form and with the prospect of being in a suitable role, the Paul Morgan-trained gelding should give a good account. ULTRA BLISS (4) has also been thereabouts of late, just like a number of runners in this line-up, and with gate four a handy starting position, the 7yo has the chance to be competitive. Third to Betterthanfederer at Newcastle two runs back, Ultra Bliss contested a heat of the Inter City Pace in finishing a 17.2m 5th to Hands On. With a useful record at this venue, Ultra Bliss is deserving of further attention. PELICAN FLY (3) worked home nicely when a creditable 4.6m 4th to Ryans Gangster at Newcastle and is capable of running a cheeky race for Adam Ruggari. The ‘x-factor’ is the Elizabeth Heath-trained REACTOR FACTOR (7), which was hard to follow during his previous term of racing, but can also be a serious threat when on his game. The son of Auckland Reactor has been off the scene since striking trouble when a well-beaten last to Gee Ef Cee at Goulburn back in September. Safely held in two Menangle trials the 6yo has drawn the inside of the back row, but with Robert Morris in the sulky, Reactor Factor is capable of being a factor so don’t ignore his claims.

    MAN FROM BRAAVOS 1,Never Know Charlie 2, Ultra Bliss 3, Pelican Fly 4.


    Despite drawing the back row for this 2422m challenge, FEAR CRUISIN (10) looks suitably placed in this field, compared to recent encounters at Menangle and Newcastle. After winning his past two Newcastle engagements, with a solid 12.4m 4th to One For The Rodi at Menangle sandwiched between those two efforts, the 7yo son of Christian Cullen has been unplaced, but not disgraced, in two recent unplaced efforts at Headquarters. After recording a 9.5m 8th to the classy Bondi Lockdown when he competed from a five-peg role, the Elizabeth Heath-trained entire then drew wide in settling back in the field, prior to being safely held in finishing a 12m 8th to Double Encounter. That form should be respected in this type of contest. FAR OUT BRO (8) scored at Newcastle before heading back to that venue a few weeks ago in finishing an 8m 6th to Boyzhavtime when he battled on stoutly after being posted three deep in a mid-race move. The 6yo son of Mach Three has enjoyed success here, which is always a plus, so include the Adam Ruggari-trained entire in the top bracket of threats. SIR RICHARD LEE (6) gives Elizabeth Heath another top chance with Robert Morris electing to drive the son of Heston Blue Chip over Fear Cruisin, which will be driven by Inter Dominion winning reinsman Josh Gallagher. Following a 17.7m 4th to Talent Agent in the Christmas Gift Final at Menangle, the 5yo did a good job in coming from a rearward role in recording a creditable 15.8m 4th to Baxter Red at Bathurst on Boxing Day. Sir Richard Lee has drawn the outside gate on the front row, but Robert’s decision to take the reins behind this fellow should be a good guide to his claims. The Lisa McDonald-conditioned MASTER CATCH (11) has won three from nine around the Maitland track and that is a plus. The negative is the back row draw, but the staying trip will be a plus for the veteran. The son of Tiz A Masterpiece was responsible for a tip-top effort in recording a 14.3m 3rd to Petes Said So and Our Money Rocks, which did a wonderful job throughout the Inter Dominions series. Master Catch headed back to Headquarters to contest a heat of the Christmas Gift on December 2 in recording a 26.7m 7th to Talent Agent. After breaking at the start, then working to be outside the leader, the gelding had little left for the run home. Peaking in condition following three runs back, Master Catch is capable of being in the mix when the judge calls a halt. STICK MAN (2) drew the back row when a creditable 4.9m 4th to Didshedoit in a heat of the Inter City Pace. With consistent form prior and a far better draw, the 7yo son of Shadow Play should be included in exotic transactions while the Roy Roots Jnr-trained pair of BOYZHAVTIME (5) and PITCH PERFECT (9) also have claims in that regard.

    FEAR CRUISIN 1, Far Out Bro 2, Sir Richard Lee 3, Master Catch 4.


    The Inter City Pace, while it appears to be a race of many chances, the trophy and the major share of the prizemoney is poised to be handed over to Lucky Lodge owned HANDS ON (10). Since coming under the care of KerryAnn Morris, Hands On has contested four races in recording two wins and finishing second twice. Campaigning in Queensland during the Inter dominion carnival, the 5yo gained plenty of confidence in recording one of those two wins while being runner-up twice. Returning to Lucky Lodge and Hands On contested a heat of the Inter City just six days after his trip home. Working early from a second row draw to take up the role outside of the leader, the son of Bettors Delight treated his rivals with contempt in defeating Stealth Bomba and Paytons Rock. Robert Morris will no doubt again drive the son of Bettors Delight in a confident and aggressive manner and that should pave the way for further success. Lisa McDonald will be delighted by the fact that STEATH BOMBA (1) has drawn the pole and that should assist the son of Mach Three giving this a big shake. Following recent solid form at Newcastle, which resulted in a win and a gritty 2nd to Denstown, Stealth Bomba then recorded a respectable 4.5m 4th to Nowherenear Crazy in the Waratah Final at Menangle. The 7yo then drew gate one for his heat of this series when from a three peg role he posted a 9m 2nd to Hands On. Josh Gallagher is again likely to jump into the sulky and he will have Stealth Bomba ready to strike at a moment’s notice. Apart from Hands On, Lucky Lodge will also be represented by DIDSHEDOIT (3) and BETTOR TO BE TRICKY (4) both under the care of Elizabeth Heath and, both coming off a strong heat wins. DIDSHEDOIT led in defeating Indasky and Sonic Express while BETTOR TO BE TRICKY also dictated the terms for the majority of the trip in accounting for Rouge Bling and Jeffcoate. The pair have both drawn well and will have the chance to occupy a forward position from the outset. INDASKY (11), despite the back row, will again make his presence felt as the consistent 3yo did a big job in finishing a 2,2m 2nd to Didshedoit in his heat. Coming off the back row and working to be outside of the leader, the Roy Roots-trained son of Our Sky Major didn’t shirk his task and with Grace Panella in the sulky, Indasky can’t be taken lightly. Exotic players should also consider SONIC EXPRESS (9), ROUGE BLING (7) and PAYTONS ROCK (6) when placing an investment.

    HANDS ON 1, Stealth Bomba 2, Didshedoit 3, Indasky 4.


    Conditioner Darren Elder will be hoping there is ‘safety in numbers’ as the Louth Park resident will have four runners contesting this race. BE GOOD BENNY (8) has been on the verge of another winning display following a number of consistent efforts since scoring at Tamworth back in September. Runner-up to Uncle Gregory and Shiralee at Newcastle, respectively, the son of Mr Feelgood struck trouble from his 2nd line draw last week in finishing a 5.8m 5th to Mini Me after coming from a rearward role at the bell. Be Good Benny has again drawn the back row, but better luck in running will see the 6yo being involved in the finish. Stablemate CASH EM IN SHANNON (9) is coming off a 3.8m 3rd to Turbo Tommy at Newcastle prior to Christmas, and although another back row draw comes into play, the mare is racing well enough to again be a factor. Darren will be looking to provide the first trifecta result as TRUE STEPPER (7) is racing well and is more than capable of overcoming her tricky draw in being a contender for the top spot. The daughter of Mr Feelgood recorded a deserving win at Newcastle recently, however, on that occasion Blake Hughes managed to dictate the terms in defeating Uncle Gregory and Don Heston. MONEY HONEY (4), the fourth and final member of the Elder team, also warrants more than a passing thought after drawing handily in four. After overcoming a back row draw in scoring at Tamworth, the Bettors Delight mare had a similar draw at this venue a week ago when she struck trouble in finishing last to Lightning Bob. Forget that run and give the mare another chance, especially when it comes to multiple transactions. Drawing the pole will assist SUNDAY SESH (1) is her quest of a productive showing while STELLAS DELIGHT (2) has also drawn well for Mark and Tom Callaghan so expect a better showing from the mare, compared to a last-start 40.7m 9th to Bravo Stride. The Tom Ison-conditioned DON HESTON (10) also remains in the mix when looking at suitable exotic players.

    BE GOOD BENNY 1, Cash Em In Shannon 2, True Stepper 3, Money Honey 4.


    In what appears to be one of the toughest races on the card, the Chris Bourke-trained TOUGH NUT TEEJAY (5) is worthy of more than a passing thought. The veteran of just seven starts, two resulting in wins, the 2yo son of Bling It On will be taking on older horses, but she has been showing promise. Following a comfortable win at Newcastle over Happy Hamish and Our Ultimate Ivy, Tough Nut Teejay was sent out as favourite here last week, however, the youngster had little luck after drawing the inside of the back row. The end result was a pleasing 4.5m 6th to Feeling Lucky, which Tough Nut Teejay didn’t feel. From the front row Andrew Bourke will be looking to make his own luck this time around. LINCS POOR BOY (2) led when a creditable 4m 2nd to Silent Legend last week and is drawn to again be prominently placed from the outset. The 6yo has only three wins to show for his 62 starts, but he is a handy type in a race of this nature. GLENFRANKIE (7) has been thereabouts of late with his latest effort being a useful 16.3m 3rd to Silent legend last week. Awkwardly drawn the son of Guaranteed is capable of being a threat while IDEAL MONDO (8), despite drawing the back row, remains a threat following runner-up efforts in each of his past two, the latter when beaten 3m by Turbo Tommy at Newcastle. Last start Maitland winner JUSTAWARRIOR (10) led from a good draw last week in scoring, and although the back draw comes into play, the 3yo can’t be ignored as a threat.

    TOUGH NUT TEEJAY 1, Lincs Poor Boy 2, Glenfrankie 3, Ideal Mondo 4.


    The consistent HAPPY AS (3) is capable of putting a smile on all concerned as the Darren Elder-trained son of Mr Feelgood attempts to break back in to the top spot after last greeting the judge at Tamworth back in late August. The son of Me Feelgood has been placed in six of his past eight starts, with the 9yo celebrating his 200th start with a 12m 2nd to Lightning Bob at this venue last week. Driven by Grace Panella, who will again take the reins, Happy As was able to dictate the terms from gate one, and Grace will be looking to do something similar after coming up with three. SKY DIAMOND (9) has drawn the back row for the father and son combination of Mark and Tom Callaghan and while that is a slight concern, the 9yo son of American ideal is racing well enough to be involved in the finish. Leading throughout in greeting the judge at Newcastle three runs ago, Sky Diamond drew the back row when unplaced in each of his next two Newcastle assignments, the latter resulting in a 10m 5th to Kissmelvis. That form should be good enough to be a contender in what appears to be a suitable challenge. ROCKNROLL TONY (1) has drawn ideally in one and that will enhance his claims of being a contender after starting a $101.00 chance at Newcastle in finishing a handy 8m 9th to True Stepper. Locked away in a five peg role after drawing wide, the 8yo had been racing handily prior to that run and is worthy of another chance for trainer Rodney James and driver Josh Gallagher. NIGHTWATCH STAR (2) will also enjoy the switch from the back row and into a far more useful starting role. An easy Tamworth winner two starts back, the 6yo daughter of Follow The Stars  finished a 17.6m 7th to Lightning Bob here last-start out and is poised to be far more competitive this time around. When forming multiple investments the Tom Ison trained and driven IM LOKI (5) should be included, despite mixing his form of late, while BIG TIME HUSTLER (8) and WALLAROY BOY (10) have both been thereabouts of late and should be regarded as useful additions.

    HAPPY AS 1, Sky Diamond 2, Rocknroll Tony 3, Nightwatch Star 4.


    KOZACZYNSKI (1) has had a number of chances of late, with the 2yo son of American Ideal still looking to grab his first win after 13 failed attempts. The youngster did show potential when he started his career, but has failed to carry on with the job at hand. Now under the care of Mitch Chapple, Kozaczynski has been runner-up in two of his past five starts, but has done little in his other recent encounters, mainly due to his manners, or lack thereof. As a result, the 3yo has finished a well-beaten 9th to Collective Works at Newcastle, then a 17m 7th behind Justawarrior at Maitland last week when a short-priced elect. Kozaczynski is fast running out of chances and this could be his last. CRACKER BARREL (2) broke her maiden status when she led throughout in winning at Newcastle four runs back, with her form since being mixed, but steady. The daughter of Betterthancheddar led when a game photo 2nd to Mini Me here last week and is drawn to again be a prominent player from the outset. OUR ULTIMATE IVY (8) again draws the back row following a useful 9m 8th to Love You last week. Placed in three of her previous four starts since resuming, the Clayton Harmey-conditioned 3yo filly will loom as a threat, with Josh Gallagher booked to take the drive. ULTIMATE HUNTER (6) was safely held from his back row starting role last week which resulted in an 11.6m 9th to Mini Me. A winner at Marburg prior to that run, the Ultimate Machete youngster is worthy of further attention. LOCHINVAR JEWELLS (5) and OUR LUCILLE (9) stay under notice when it comes to exotic transactions.

    KOZACZYNSKI 1, Cracker Barrel 2, Ultimate Ivy 3, Ultimate Hunter 4.

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