On what will be a night of thrilling action, the opening race will provide an intriguing clash between the Belinda McCarthy-trained MUSCLE FACTORY (5) and the Lester Hewitt-prepared HES CHIMING (10), with the likes of SOMEBEACHSHADOW (6) and BAD TO THE BONE (9) also more than capable of greeting the judge. Handily drawn in four, which will apply if the reserve isn’t required, MUSCLE FACTORY is entitled to further attention following a respectable effort in the G3 PJ Hall two weeks ago. Contesting the race from a midfield role, the 6yo worked to the line in fine fashion, but was unable to match the firepower of the champion mare Stylish Memphis in recording a solid 5.7m fourth. Prior to that determined effort, the son of Roll With Joe had returned to his brilliant best in posting a hat-trick of Menangle wins, and although this assignment could be seen as a tougher contest, compared to those appearances, Muscle Factory must be given a high rating. Ash Hart will take over the driving duties from Luke McCarthy, who will be inter-state, with Ash becoming just the fourth driver to sit behind the 32-start entire under race conditions, with Rickie Alchin and Lauren Tritton also involved in that role. HES CHIMING was extremely impressive when he resumed from a spell at the same meeting as the PJ Hall back on Jan 8. The sparingly-raced, but exciting son of Betterthancheddar was driven with aggression and confidence by John O’Shea, despite the outing being his first since a win at Bathurst back in September/2021. Going stride for stride with the leader Ashark, the pair covered the opening 400m in a brisk 25.5, then kept the pressure on which resulted in a 27.9 final sectional and a 1:51.2 time for the 1609m. Boasting 11 wins and seven placings from a mere 21 starts, Hes Chiming will strip fitter but has drawn a shade deeper for this assignment, against slightly harder opposition, but the gelding is bound to make a bold play for the top spot once again. BAD TO THE BONE was a shade disappointing when first-up for Paul Fitzpatrick a week ago when he posted a 16.9m 6th to the long-shot Ellmers Image. Back on these shores following another sound period of racing back home in NZ, the 5yo son of Bettors Delight had previously recorded four wins from seven starts at Headquarters and he will, no doubt, be far more competitive with that run under his belt. SOMEBEACHSHADOW (6) steps up a notch or two in grade following a solid all-the-way win over Doubtless Bay and Alpine Stride at this venue back on Dec 18, his first outing since leaving Victoria and joining the stables of Jason Grimson. Handily drawn in the middle of the front line, the 8yo will be given every chance to play a role in the finish, courtesy of Cam Hart who is of the opinion that the son of Somebeachsomewhere was one of his ‘better’ drives on the card. When assessing exotic transactions, consistent types such as MIGHTY LOOEE (3), RANGER BOMB (4) and ASHARK (11) can’t be overlooked.
MUSCLE FACTORY 1, Hes Chiming 2, Bad To The Bone 3, Somebeachshadow 4.
The first of the star attractions will step out in this race in the shape of Kiwi sensation KRUG (9) which arrived from NZ last Sunday, and according to his caretaker mentor Jack Trainor, ‘looking in great order’. Prepared by Cran Dalgety back in his homeland, the powerful 4yo arrives for his first Menangle assignment with the impressive record pf 16 wins and nine placings from 31 starts, with the multiple G1 and multiple Derby winner coming off a strong display in scoring at Cambridge on Jan 7. Krug has already been scene in action during the Qld winter carnival, with a win in the Redcliffe Derby, followed by a 1.8m 4th in the G1 Rising Sun behind Amazing Dream, Copy That and Expensive Ego, with the Kiwi starting favourite in such elite company. The G1 Queensland Derby was his next assignment, but he had little luck from a back row draw, resulting in another costly effort, when he posted a 6.3m 3rd to American Dealer and Captain Crusader, once again far from being disgraced. Despite drawing deep and facing quality opposition, Krug should start his build-up towards a Chariots of Fire appearance, and beyond, on a winning note. Noted ‘flyer’ and former Menangle Mile specialist CASH N FLOW (7) will also be heading around to the start following just two runs when last in training back in late November and early December. Resuming with a pleasing 4m 2nd to Pay Me Sam, the Belinda McCarthy-prepared 9yo then raced without cover in recording a poor 71m last to Jay OK, with his campaign ending on that note. The son of Mach Three recently won a trial over the likes of Titian Raider, Mach Shard and Zeuss Bromac, with that particular trio all trialling strongly since. Cash N Flow completed his work in a 26.9 final quarter after leaving the gate and covering the opening 400m in 26.8. No doubt Cash N Flow will look to keep Krug busy from the outset. Despite coming up with the outside gate, THE BLACK PRINCE (I0) can’t be sold short as the Roy Roots Jnr-trained 7yo is rarely far from the action when the judge calls a halt. Five runs ago The Black Prince came from a deep peg role in defeating Alta Orlando and ultimate Inter Dominion winner Boncel Benjamin in the G1 Len Smith Mile. On that occasion Robert Morris produce a ‘pearler’ of a drive, and it may take a similar display by man and beast to secure victory once again. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of history repeating itself. BUNDORAN (8) hit the line well but was unable to peg back stablemate Ellmers Image a week ago when a half-neck 2nd to the long-shot. The prospect of a solid tempo over the shorter trip of 1609m will allow the 5yo to again sit back and come with a late surge. It will be interesting to see how the Joe Conolly-trained ART TUTOR (6) handles this harder situation after the Art Major 7yo carved out a record-breaking trial effort at Penrith on Monday, which attracted plenty of attention on the night and again at Menangle the following day. The last-start Menangle winner will be driven by Cam Hart, who replaces Amanda Turnbull after she guided him to a comfortable all-the-way win two weeks ago. Amanda will of course partner her runner, Bundoran on this occasion.
KRUG 1, Cash N Flow 2, The Black Prince 3, Bundoran 4.
After taking a gamble against BE MY ROSE (8) a week ago, this time around I’m definitely in the corner of the former NZ based mare, which was impressive when first-up for the astute Paul Fitzpatrick stable. Contesting high-profile races back home, the American Ideal mare arrived with four wins from 15 starts, along with a couple of placings, but she certainly made a statement, as far as, the upcoming Miracle Mile carnival is concerned. Granted, Be My Rose had only five rivals, honest performers, but no stars when she easily put them away over the final 200m, easily defeating Whats Your Secret and Fasika in a time of 1:51.6. Gavin was delighted with the run after the race and is confident that Be My Rose will continue to ‘bloom’. Looming as the main threat to Paul and Gav is another Fitzpatrick in son and brother, respectively, Blake who will be represented by his talented 4yo, WOW HES A ROCK STAR (6), the winner of five from 17 while collecting four placings as well. The son of Rock N Roll Heaven has been off the scene since a 14.3m 3rd to the classy Titian Raider at Menangle last August. Highly-regarded by the stable, Wow Hes A Rock Star had had two solid trials in readiness for his return, which was to be a week ago, with Blake pulling the plug on the basis that the gelding needed another week to get over a mid-week trial outing, which resulted in a solid 2nd to Michelle Lee Mac, with Carlas Mach in third spot. Carlas Mach won impressively at Bathurst on Wednesday night when first-up for Jack Trainor. With brothers Gav and Blake looking poised to fight out the finish, exotic investors should include SMOOTH BAHT (11) in their investments, despite the Steve Turnbull-trained 5yo drawing nearer the grandstand than the pegs.
After landing a decent plunge when he defeated Doubtless Bay and Ilikemebettor at Menangle two starts back, Smooth Baht came out a week later in the New Years Gift Final, but with a wider gate next to his name, which resulted in a creditable 6.5m 7th to Our Cowgirls N Lace. SURFERS DELIGHT (7) is a reliable 4yo which strips fitter for two runs back from a break, the latter resulting in a costly 22m 3rd behind Portalegre and Asterism at Tamworth. EXPERIA (9) managed to bounce back to winning form a week ago and now that his confidence has received a boost, the 5yo is capable of again being involved in the finish as an exotic contender. BANKERS GOLD (2), TRIPLE VC (3) and OUR MONEY ROCKS (5) also fit into that category while IYLAC BEACH (10), despite mixing his form, could add value to the mix.
BE MY ROSE 1, Wow Hes A Rock Star 2, Surfers Delight 3, Experia 4.
The next ‘star attraction’ will face the starter in this particular event with STYLISH MEMPHIS (9) set to add to her impressive record as she continues to build towards defending her G1 Ladyship Mile crown and another shot at Miracle Mile glory. Following another successful stint of racing back home in NZ, the exciting daughter of Bettors Delight stepped out for her first assignment back under the care of Jack Trainor a couple of weeks ago, and although facing a strong line-up in the G3 PJ Hall FFA, the mare responded to the challenge in superb fashion. Treated to the perfect run, one-out and one-back, by her mentor, Stylish Memphis let down strongly over the final 300m as she gathered in the leaders, en route to accounting for a brave Mach Da Vinci while Aphorism collected third prizemoney. The final 400m was covered in 26.1 and Stylish Memphis was strong to the line, the outing her first in nearly a month. Back to her own sex, Stylish Memphis, despite drawing the outside gate in the field of nine, will have little trouble recording the 13th win of her brilliant career. The battle for the minors will be keenly contested with another Jack Trainor-trained runner in B K SWY (3) favoured to fill the role as runner-up. Talented but also capable of being unpredictable, the daughter of Big Jim failed to take part in the race won by Fairy Tinkabell two starts ago, then bounced back to her best a few weeks later on Jan 8 when she sat back in the pack, prior to unleashing a big finish in easily defeating Jenden Strike and Our Road To Mecca. Suitably drawn in three and if ‘switched on’ from the outset, B K Swy will give a good account. The ultra-consistent and talented FAIRY TINKABELL (6) will, as per usual, be in the mix from the outset and for the balance of the contest. From her past 13 starts the Belinda McCarthy-trained 6yo daughter of Big Jim has greeted the judge six times while being placed on the other seven occasions, six as runner-up. JENDEN STRIKE (5), which is another Jack Trainor runner, is coming off a gritty 2nd to her stablemate B K Swy and she is again worthy of attention when it comes to exotic investments. OUR COWGIRLS N LACE (2) will appreciate the good draw for this tougher test as the Brad Hewitt trained and driven 5yo attempts to complete a hat-trick of wins at Headquarters. While that appears out of reach, the mare will give a good account at big odds. SCARLET BABE (7) also stays in the mix when it comes to multiple transactions following her return from a successful Qld campaign and a sound 10m 6th to Stylish Memphis. The mare will be better suited being involved in a race against her own sex. A better showing from RUBIES FOR TASH (8) a week ago in posting a closing 12.8m 3rd to Ellmers Image, indicates that the Courage Under Fire mare is capable of also being in contention as an exotic player.
STYLISH MEMPHIS 1, B K Swy 2, Fairy Tinkabell 3, Jenden Strike 4.
The G2 J L Raith Memorial will see the clash between local star MADRID (2) and another exciting Kiwi in JUST REMEMBER ME (9), which like Krug, leaves the stables of Cran Dalgety to be prepared by Jack Trainor, with the Miracle Mile carnival her main assignment, the NSW Oaks being her main objective. Despite the presence of the Jarrod Alchin-trained Madrid, which has collected five wins and a placing from her six starts, JUST REMEMBER ME (9) is capable of making a first-up statement and for the remainder of her stay, we won’t forget the beautifully bred daughter of Captaintreacherous and Adore Me, the latter a sensation in her own right. From seven trips to the races, the filly has greeted the judge twice while being placed three times. Just Remember Me arrived last Sunday looking in great order according to Trainer, who is excited to be involved with such an emerging talent. On that basis and the fact that she has the ability to cover any situation which unfolds here, Just Remember Me looks poised to open her career on this side of the Tasman on a winning note. MADRID (2) must be treated with the utmost respect on her record and the fact that Jarrod and Cam Hart have such a fine record when they combine their individual talents. Madrid has the draw over Just Remember Me, but the Kiwi has race fitness and that may be crucial over the final 100m. The Bling It On filly hasn’t raced since leading throughout in taking out the G1 NSWBC 2YO Fillies Final on Oct 30 when she defeated Silk Cloud and Captains Queen. Although Madrid hasn’t contested an official trial reports are more than pleasing surrounding her level of fitness heading into this contest. STENO (5) ended her first period of racing with wins at Penrith and Newcastle, the latter being a NSWBC G3 Regional Final at Newcastle on Dec 5 when she scored by a big margin in defeating Sugar For My Honey and Lets Party Baby. Prepared by Cameron Ross the filly will give a good account when it comes to building exotic transaction around the two major players. The Tony Higgs-trained SILK CLOUD (7) is another talented filly which finished a gallant 3m 2nd to Madrid in the G1 NSWBC 2YO Fillies Final after being parked outside of the winner. The daughter of Shadow Play resumed from a break with back-top-back wins at Bathurst in December and a recent sound trial hit-out has her ready to produce a typical competitive showing. THE IRON LADY (4) is a former Kiwi which is now in the Jason Grimson yard. Placed twice in six starts the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere is worth some thought in the exotics, along with SMOOTH BON BON (3).
JUST REMEMBER ME 1, Madrid 2, Steno 3, Silk Cloud 4.
This race looks a tough and open race on paper with any number of contenders for the top spot. Despite being confronted by another wide gate, although not as bad as a week ago when he launched his claim from gate 10, SHANNONSTHEMAN (8) is bound to be in the fight for a long way. The 8yo led from his wide gate a week ago, and it took the length of the Menangle straight for Experia to grab and pass the son of Rocknoll Hanover, with a half-head the difference between greeting the judge and defeat. This will be a similar assignment for Shannonstheman, but with Darren Elder and son Brad enjoying so much success of late, the combination can’t be taken lightly. Returning to a suitable assignment is ZIGGY ROCKS (5), with the KerryAnn Morris-trained son of Pet Rock coming off a respectable 18.5m 4th behind Colt Thirty One a week ago. The 6yo has been mixing his form of late but a handy draw and a suitable challenge should be enough to see Ziggy Rocks producing a competitive showing. An interesting runner is the Corey Peterson trained and driven ROMAN AVIATOR (6), which was formerly under the care of Tim Butt. The son of Mr Aviator hasn’t managed to land the cash since scoring at Gloucester Park back in December 2020. Lining up for start 100, and coming off a few handy efforts in Victoria, the latest an 11.9m 4th to Bernie Winkle at Mildura last October, My Aviator recorded a useful 11.9m 6th to Cash N Flow in a recent trial, and although he needs a confidence-boosting run, the 7yo can’t be taken lightly. MISTER MAGIC MAN (2) is one of two runners under the care of Joe Conolly, the other being the polemarker THE FORTUNATE SON (1). Mister Magic Man led in scoring over Under Worked and Escalera, completing the challenge in 26.8, prior to racing outside of the leader when a fading 16m 6th to Jazzy Star two weeks ago. To be driven by Seaton Grima, the 9yo is capable of spearing to the lead and giving his rivals something to catch. ALWAYS ROCKIN (3) was never a threat when a 25.3m 7th to Colt Thirty One, and like Ziggy Rocks, the 8yo will find this a far more comfortable assignment so keep him in the mix, especially from his handy draw. Prior to his latest run, Always Rockin had been performing consistently. THE FORTUNATE SON (1) led and gave nothing else a chance in scoring on Tuesday, but a tougher task awaits, although minor exotic attention remains in place.
SHANNONSTHEMAN 1, Ziggy Rocks 2, Roman Aviator 3, Mister Magic Man 4.
The Peter Russo-trained PROSECUTION WITNESS (5) could argue a good case for his role in greeting the judge. Unplaced since scoring seven starts ago, Prosecution Witness, while never a threat, posted a creditable 17.4m 4th to Experia a week ago, and with only five rivals to account for in what should be an easier experience, the son of Well Said may well have the final say, with driver Jack Trainor more than happy to take the reins behind the 6yo. BETTOR TO BE TRICKY (4) enjoyed a kind run when successful at Newcastle during the week, and although a slightly harder task awaits, it is only slightly, and the KerryAnn Turner-trained 8yo should be regarded as a definite contender. SPIKE ROBYN (1) also greeted the judge in an easier event at Newcastle during the week, but he draws the pole and that should result in trainer, driver and owner Brad Abbott giving him a kind run in this company. As a result, the 8yo could spring another surprise. FEAR CRUISIN (6) posted a win at Wagga, then a couple of pleasing placings at Headquarters before three, recent unplaced runs at Menangle, the latest an 18.4m 6th to Chevron Art. Suited by the small field, which will offset the outside gate, and to be driven by Inter Dominion winning reinsman Josh Gallagher, the son of Christian Cullen is a knock-out runner. DANCE FOR GLORY (3), the third of the Lucky Lodge runners, has been hard to catch of late but remains in the multiple mix.
PROSECUTION WITNESS 1, Bettor To Be Tricky 2, Spike Robyn 3, Fear Cruisin 4.