Since posting back-to-back wins at this venue in January, POCKET OF TERROR (9) contested a couple of far tougher assignments and wasn’t disgraced in the process when just behind the placegetters in races won by King Of Swing and Majorda. A sound fifth to Conviction followed, with two superb placings coming off the back of that run. Last week the Craig Cross-trained five-year-old hit the line strongly, however, the Mark Purdon-trained Im Anothermasterpiece managed to keep him at bay. Despite the draw this will be a far more suitable challenge for Pocket Of Terror and one that is well-within his reach. FOUROEIGHT (5), surprisingly, hasn’t greeted the judge since last September when successful in the Cowra Cup, however, he has rarely been too far away in 12 runs since, with eight placings coming his way. The seven-year-old battled on stoutly when a four-metre third behind Flaming Flutter here a month ago, and he should be in the mix from the outset so don’t discard the reliable Mat Rue trained and driven gelding. CANT REFUSE (6), surprisingly, hasn’t won in eight starts since joining the powerful Craig Cross team following a sound career, south of the border. Four minor placings have come his way, but in the process the seven-year-old has been costly. Handily drawn, Cant Refuse can’t be overlooked as a threat in an open race. MISTERFREEZE (3), who is a stablemate of Fouroeight, draws well for this harder test but his form entitles him to exotic involvement. BLAZIN N CULLEN (2), UNDER WORKED (4), LUCKY LOMBO (10) and ALPINE STRIDE (7) also fall into that category.
POCKET OF TERROR 1, Fouroeight 2, Cant Refuse 3, Misterfreeze 4.
With a vastly improved starting role enhancing his claims, PETES BIG JIM (1) looks the one to beat. Resuming from a spell with wins at Menangle and Penrith, the talented KerryAnn Morris-trained four-year-old drew wide for a tougher assignment, which resulted in a pleasing three-and-a-half metre fourth to the classy Mach Da Vinci. The four-year-old then had mixed luck in running when a sound second to Superbass, prior to again drawing a touch deep here last week when a solid finishing half-head second to Leonidas. Robert Morris will present Petes Big Jim with every chance to greet the judge this time around. SPEAK NO EVIL (8) was having her first run for the Craig Cross stable when a disappointing last behind Our Princess Tiffany in the Group Two Robin Dundee on Feb 22. That was her first run since last August, when her record stood at 12 wins from 15 starts while under the care of Emma Stewart. The highly-regarded five-year-old mare will strip fitter and the huge drop in class is another plus, so expect a far more determined run from the daughter of Well Said. MAKE MINE MEMPHIS (9) was never a threat when resuming, following four trials, however, when last in work he enjoyed a respectable three-year-old career, culminating in a handy nine-metre sixth to Self Assured in the South East Derby at AP last July. Fitter, Make Mine Memphis should be linked to exotic investments. STAR MAJOR (3) draws well and his form from a spell has been sound so respect claims when forming multiple combiinations while ARMA THE GUN (4), BETTOR JIGGLE (5), MAXIMUS RED (6) and TYGAR (10) are also worthy of consideration.
PETES BIG JIM 1, Speak No Evil 2, Make Mine Memphis 3, Star Major 4.
Still searching for her first win since taking out the Group Two Queensland Oaks back in July 2018, SOCIABLE (8) has the perfect opportunity to record the sixth win of her career. The former Kiwi star has managed just two placings from her past 16 starts, however, following a pleasing and unlucky 11-metre fifth to Leonidas at Menangle a week ago, when on debut for the Craig Cross stable, the mare is entitled to top billing. From a deep peg role, Sociable has little luck securing a suitable run over the final stages, and although the mare has a wide draw to overcome, this race looks to be an ideal assignment. YOUNG ROOSTER (7) has won three of his past four starts, two on the country arena, while sharing the top spot with Dee Double You at Bankstown. The 4yo has always shown above-average talent and he is more than capable of making a bold bid for victory. Since campaigning in this State, quality Queensland mare AQUA MISS (1) has been competitive on a regular basis. The Grant Dixon-trained 5yo is coming off a 12-metre sixth to Leonidas last week and, with the pole a definite plus, expect another bold showing from the daughter of Bettors Deight. GAME SET MAJOR (4) peaks in condition following three creditable runs since a spell and from his good draw the sparingly-raced four-year-old stays under notice as an exotic contender. THE TEXAS RANGER (3), CALLMEQUEENBEE (2) and PUMP THE BRAKES (5) also stay under notice when it comes to multiple investments.
SOCIABLE 1, Young Rooster 2, Aqua Miss 3, Game Set Major 4.
It is impossible to go past BETTOR ENFORCE (11) as the one to beat after the mare recorded one of the best efforts seen for many a year, when beaten a nose by Bettors Heart in the Group One Ladyship Mile at Menangle two weeks ago. Trapped deep during an opening quarter of 26.4 seconds, then a 27.4 second, the tough seven-year-old then led at the 800-metre, prior to going down in the last stride in a time off 1:49.7. The mare has the speed to off-set the draw and once in front, it will take a mighty effort to lower her colours. Red figures will be placed next to her name so exotic betting will be the best method of attacking this race. SOHO NOLITA (8) will be stepping out for her first run under the care of Craig Cross after former trainer-driver Michael Stanley elected to leave the mare with the Miracle Mile winning mentor last week. That followed her respectable eight-metre fourth to Havtime. The mare has drawn wide but she should be prominently placed from the outset, enhancing her claims to finish second behind her new stablemate. FAME ASSURED (10) finished a 10-metre last to Bettors Heart in the Group One Ladyship Mile, however, from a five peg role the mare didn’t enjoy a great deal of luck in securing a suitable run. The wide gate is a hurdle but she is racing well and is certainly a suitable exotic runner. REDBANK ADDI (5) has four unplaced efforts next to her name, however, the mare is racing a lot better than those numbers would suggest so don’t ignore the five-year-old when forming multiple combinations. SCARLET BABE (6), MYRA DAWN (7), ROCKNROLL ANGEL (9) and ELLE YEAH (3) are capable of adding some value to the dividend.
BETTOR ENFORCE 1, Soho Nolita 2, Fame Assured 3, Redbank Addi 4.
Despite the presence of the outside gate, CASH N FLOW (11) is clearly the one to beat. Disappointing in the 2760-metre Hunter Cup on Feb 1, when the son of Mach Three tired badly to finish a well-beaten last, the classy seven-year-old returned to his ‘pet’ distance of 1609-metre for the running of the Allied Express Sprint. With a spot in the Miracle Mile on the line, Cash N Flow secured a role, three back in the running line, en route to working home solidly in recording a five-metre sixth to his stablemate King Of Swing, who then went on to take out the prestigious sprint title. The Craig Cross entrant has the speed to secure a prominent role, with the role as dictator being a distinct possibility. The powerful Cross stable will also be represented by OUR WOLF STREET WOLF (4) and REPLACED EYE (2), both drawing ideally and also racing well enough to be a serious threat, especially the former. There was a lot to like about the way the six-year-old found the line last week when a closing two-and-a-metre second to Little Rascal. Better luck in transit and the result could have been different. REPLACED EYE is a reliable type who will find the pegs first and from that point onwards give a big sight, with the role behind the leader likely to come his way. With the Cross team set to take control of this race the next plan is to look for possible exotic contenders and LET IT RIDE (8) is worthy of another chance. At times hard to follow but always having the necessary talent, Let It Ride is coming off a disappointing run a couple of weeks ago. However, he is capable of turning that around and being involved in the finish. JACH FARTHING (6) is racing well and is bound to give a good account while DOUBLE ENCOUNTER (3) has drawn ideally and he could add some value to the exotics.
CASH N FLOW 1, Our Wolf Street Wolf 2, Replaced Eye 3, Let It Ride 4.
Open race for the Group Three Team Teal HRNSW Four-Year-Old Trotters’ Foundation Final, with FLINGANDWINGIT (6) looking to turn the tables on the Blake Fitzpatrick stable after being forced to play ‘second fiddle’ to runners from that stable of late. The son of Fling It has been costly on each occasion as he has started favourite, firstly, when beaten by Adelle, then again, when he led until the final few strides when nabbed by Caligula. Flingandwingit will be looking to set the tempo and this time repel the Fitzpatrick onslaught. Boasting an outstanding record with trotters over the past few years, Fitzpatrick will take the reins behind ADELLE while the in-form Jack Trainor will jump in the cart behind CALIGULA. The latter has always been highly-regarded but this preparation has resulted in mixed diplays. The four-year-old can do the odd thing wrong, however, if he remains focused from ‘start to finish’ then he has the ability to play a major role in the finish. ADELLE isn’t without her faults but she was on ‘song’ in scoring two starts ago before posting a pleasing five-metre third to Caligula and Flingandwingit, with the mare closing strongly over the final stages. It is hard to see the winner not being involved in the top three tips. As far as, the exotics go, and ROYAL GLENFERRIE (5) is a handy type with definite claims in the regard, with GLAD ALL OVER (1) and WALKABOUT SUNRISE (3) value players. If, either reserve, PRINCESS KENNY (8) and KAR MANOR (12) secure a run, then include them in the mix as the pair have the talent to cause an upset.
FLINGANDWINGIT 1, Caligula 2, Adelle 3, Royal Glenferrie 4.
The Craig Cross stable look set for a big night and MOLLY KELLY (9) is more than capable of adding to the spoils as the mare attempts to remain unbeaten since joining the team. The quality daughter of Four Starzzz Shark was having her first run since last August when she faced the starter on Feb 25, with an all-the-way win coming her way in a time of 1:52.6. Confronted by a similar 1609-metre assignment a week later, Molly Kelly again dictated the terms, zipping home in a slick 26 seconds. A wider gate and a slightly harder test awaits the mare, however, she is clearly the one to beat again. MISS HALFPENNY (4) boasts a superb record and she will appreciate the return to an easier assignment. Following a comfortable win at Newcastle, Miss Halfpenny then finished a 25m 6th to Havtime and Princess Tiffany on Miracle Mile night. This challenge will be more to her liking and from the good draw the American Ideal four-year-old will make her presence felt. MACHEASY (7) has been a consistent performer over the past few months since arriving from Queensland for an extended campaign. The Grant Dixon-trained six-year-old was never a serious threat last week in recording a 17-metre seventh to Leonidas, however, this type of assignment should be more to his liking. FIRESTORM RED (8) caught the eye with a solid-finishing six-metre secomnd to Catch A Moment a couple of weeks ago, and with the benefit of the three runs since a spell, the four-year-old appeals as a value threat. Exotic investors should also take into account SANTANNAS ROCKET (5), which returns on the back of three trials, and as a result is expected to give some cheek. ZHUKOV LEIS (2) draws ideally and he is also a worthy multiple player as he is rarely far away.
MOLLY KELLY 1, Miss Halfpenny 2, Macheasy 3, Firestorm Red 4.
Boasting a ‘one in four’ winning strike rate when it comes to stand-start assignments, KOWHAI MONARCH (11) is entitled to top billing, despite a tough 30-metre handicap. The talented and tough 8yo scored under these conditions three starts ago, overcoming a tardy start from his 20-metre handicap. That was against easier opposition and that did help the son of Monarchy overcome his early setback. Kowhai Monarch has since contested harder assignments, firstly, the Keystone Del on February 22, which resulted in a two-metre fourth to Majestic Courtney while the latter as the Group One Trotters’ Mile on Miracle Mile night. Restrained from a wide gate, Kowhai Monarch settled in a deep peg role, prior to finishing the race off strongly in posting a three-metre fourth to Big Jack Hammer. On that run alone, the 92-start veteran must be rated highly. MONARO MIA (9) is also a solid performer from behind the tapes, with the talented Darren Hancock trained and driven mare returning to a far more suitable assignment, compared to her recent appearance at Melton. On that occasion the five-year-old was left exposed outside of the leader, prior to posting a gritty and creditable nine-metre fifth to My Skypocket. Usually a swift beginner, Monaro Mia will receive 10m from Kowhai Monarch and that could be vital by the time the judge calls a halt. A watch is placed on CONON BRIDGE (1), a stablemate of Kowhai Monarch and one of four runners for Team Rando. The seven-year-old will step away from the front line and with a sound stand record the seven-year-old is worthy of more than a passing thought. Two starts ago Conon Bridge posted a solid two-metre third to Kowhai Monarch in a similar assignment to this, and, that was despite striking trouble. Last time out the entire worked home stoutly when a close second to Majestic Courtney on Feb 22, his first outing in two months. AMANDAS SPUR (10) has sound stand stats and he will appreciate these conditions following three unplaced mobile assignments so don’t ignore his claims. Exotic players should turn their attention to IONA GRINNER (2), MAJESTIC COURTNEY (12) and BLAZING UNDER FIRE (8) when forming combinations.
KOWHAI MONARCH 1, Monaro Mia 2, Conon Bridge 3, Amandas Spur 4.
In a race if many chances to end the card, RAYS CHOICE (9) holds the key to the outcome, with the outside gate only a minor concern as the seven-year-old is capable of ‘flying’ the gates. After a period of consistent efforts, Rays Choice was never a threat when driven back in the pack, six pegs settling before improving one spot coming to the home turn. The end result was a safely held last to Jack Farthing in a far harder test to this. The Narelle McCarthy-trained gelding is coming off a sound and slightly unlucky effort last week when after beginning well, elected to take a sit, when a four-metre sixth to Little Rascal, failing to secure a suitable run in the run home. In what should be a suitable challenge, Rays Choice is capable of leading and proving the one to run down over the far more suitable trip of 1609-metre, compared to the 2400-metre. ALLELUIA (3) has been struggling to find his best form since campaigning south of the border, but he is worthy of attention in this field and from the ideal draw. The nine-year-old was never a serious threat when a 12-metre eighth to Arma The Gun two weeks ago, however, he is better than recent form suggest. MAXIMAN (1) hasn’t won since July/2019, and although the veteran has been mixing his form of late, he is capable of a far more competitive showing, courtesy of gate one. NO APACHEMEE (7) has been runner-up to Molly Kelly and Island Banner, respectively, and that form is good enough to warrant attention in an open race. Expect a better showing from SMOKEY QUARTZ (5), according to his trainer and co-trainer, Robert Morris. The 9yo has been safely held in each of his past two after a period of solid form, however, the son of Courage Under Fire is expected to give a far better account this time around. IM COMPLIANT (6) scored in fine style when first-up for Leon Jurd, and although a harder task awaits the former Tasmanian, he remains in the multiple mix.
RAYS CHOICE 1, Alleluia 2, Maximan 3, No Apachemee 4.