October 9, 2020 Michael Court
ATOMIC RED (8) posted a determined win two starts ago, and although unplaced a week ago, the Steve Turnbull-trained son of Rocknroll Hanover is worthy of another chance in a race overflowing with contenders for the major share of the prizemoney. The 6yo found the lead when successful, competing hard for that privilege after burning through the opening quarter in 25.7. When the judge called a halt, Atomic Red proved too tough for The Black Prince and Brocks Territory. It was a different story last time out, as Atomic Red settled in a midfield role and with the tempo a shade stronger through the middle section, prior to a 27.6 wrap of the race, the Bathurst visitor was unable to make his presence felt once again. However, Atomic Red did find the line in a gritty manner, eventually posting a 4.4m 6th to Replaced Eye. There is sufficient speed drawn inside of seven, where Atomic Red will slot in behind the mobile, but he is a tough customer who will be better suited over the longer trip of 2300m. With the benefit of two runs under her belt since a spell, classy mare HAVTIME (6) is capable of being in the mix. From her past 10 starts the daughter of Mach Three has managed to grab three wins, along with being runner-up on six occasions. The mare will step away from her comfort zone of competing against her own sex, which was the case a couple of weeks ago when Bettor Enforce produced a powerful effort in beating her home. In this company, Robert Morris may secure a stalking role with Havtime and that could be a telling factor this time around. As always, Craig Cross has a number of players in the fast class event with three runners and the reserve waiting in the wings. MOTU GATECRASHER (5) is coming off a solid 3m 4th to Replaced Eye last week, courtesy of being behind the all-the-way leader, and eventual winner from the outset. With a slightly easier assignment on the table, the 7yo son of Changeover will again make his presence felt. MAKOA (4) had little luck from a wide gate last week and with a far more suitable starting role, the 6yo is worthy of attention. Unable to secure a clear run over the final stages, the Jack Trainor, trained and driven gelding recorded a 5.2m 6th behind Shortys Mate. Unable to cross the border to drive in the Victoria Cup at Melton, Luke McCarthy will now take the reins behind BRIGHT ENERGY (3) and from the good draw the pair will give a good account. SHORTYS MATE (7) posted a game win here last week and stays in the mix when it comes to exotic investments. If, WRANGLER (1) gains a run, then rate him highly reserve as this would be a suitable assignment, especially from the pole position.
ATOMIC RED 1, Havtime, Motu Gatecrasher 3, Makoa 4.
One of the ‘better bets’ on the card appears here with THE BLACK PRINCE (7) ready to show a return to the winners’ circle following two gritty efforts since a spell. Prepared by Roy Roots Jnr and to be driven by the talented Tom Ison, The Black Prince resumed with a determined 3.9m 4th to Alpine Stride, despite being left exposed outside of the leader, prior to coming from well back in proceedings when beaten a head by Atomic Red. This should be an ideal assignment for the 5yo son of Bettors Delight, with the slightly better draw also being a plus. WRANGLER (11) overcame a wide gate and a tough run for the back half of the race in defeating Pump The Brakes and Always Rockin a week ago. The 6yo has been mixing his form of late, however, that has mainly been the result of him drifting ‘in and out’ of the fast class events won by the likes of Cash N Flow and King Of Swing, so expect him to again be competitive. LIVING AGAIN (10) has been competitive in his past three runs, following a win over this course and distance on September 12. The wide gate is a concern but Living Again did fine the line strongly from a rearward role last week in finishing a 4m 5th to Shortys Mate. Joining stablemates Wrangler and Living Again as potential threats is POCKET OF TERROR (6) who has been contesting races won by Victorian Cup hopefuls, Balraj, Cash N Flow and King Of Swing. Luke will now take the reins behind the Western Terror 5yo and that will ensure that Pocket Of Terror attracts plenty of attention heading into the race. Exotic players should also consider the consistent FOUROEIGHT (9).
THE BLACK PRINCE 1, Wrangler 2, Living Again 3, Pocket Of Terror 4.
A confident Jack Trainor last week predicated that SOME WARATAH (1) would lead and win and, he was spot-on, as the 5yo landed a good plunge in defeating Carla Clare and Escalera by a big margin. Some Waratah will be confronted by a slightly harder G3 assignment, but the draw is a big plus for the Cameron Ross-trained son of Somebeachsomewhere. That will allow Trainor to again dictate the terms and with four solid wins next to his name, all leading from start to finish, Some Waratah will again take a power of running down. MARTY MAJOR (7) broke through for a deserving win last week when he also led from start to finish. Crossing from a wide gate the Art Major 7yo was rated to perfection by Tom Ison in defeating Lets Katchmeifucan and Mohs Em Down. A similar starting point awaits Marty Major and there is more speed drawn to his left, however, Roy Roots Jnr has this gelding racing well so don’t write him off. DEE DOUBLE YOU (5) tried hard to cross Some Waratah last week, only to be left exposed outside of the heavily-backed favourite. Beaten 15.9m in crossing the line in 4th spot, the son of Sportswriter wasn’t disgraced and a kinder run could see him produce a cheeky effort at odds. LETS KATCHMEIFUCAN (2) was having his first outing for the Craig Cross team when he recorded an improved 2.7m 2nd to Marty Major. Suitably drawn in two, Lets Katchmeifucan has the opportunity to secure a suitable run close to the action and he is another top drive for Luke McCarthy, who could be in for a big night in the sulky. For multiple investors in may pay to play around with ESCALERA (6), BLASTER RANGER (8), CARLA CLARE (9) and NAVUA STAR (11).
SOME WARATAH 1, Marty Major 2, Dee Double You 3, Lets Katchmeifucan 4.
In another open contest, LETS GO TO BRAZIL (8) has the chance to make amends for some costly defeats, although far from being disgraced. After posting back-to-back wins, the latter at Headquarters on August 10, the Michael Doltoff-trained 4yo has managed just one placing from his subsequent five starts, but he hasn’t been far away in the process. The son of Rock N Roll Heaven has been in the market each time, with his latest outing a week ago, resulting in a 5m 5th to Blaster Ranger. Although the wide draw is a concern, Lets Go To Brazil does appear to be confronted by a suitable assignment, and there is the Luke McCarthy factor as well. FIRESTORM RED (9) has drawn one spot wider, which is in stark contrast to his good draw last week. Despite drawing gate two the 4yo was left facing the breeze in recording a fading 16.4m 5th to Marty Major. Prior to that failure Firestorm Red had been racing in fine form on his home track of Bathurst, along with an unlucky 3m 3rd to Im Feeling Firey and Bohannan, with a successful protest against the runner-up assisting him being placed higher on the finishing list. ISLAND BANNER (1) is proving hard to catch these days but gate one is a big plus for the mare. Following a costly 2nd to Laceys Lad, Island Banner worked to the line soundly from a midfield role, enroot to posting a 4.7m 4th to Blaster Ranger. Leonard Cain should be able to ‘cuddle’ the mare from this draw, leaving her with the necessary energy to be competitive. TRUE CONFESSIONS (3) is coming off a ‘forgive’ run behind Marty Major last week and with the 5yo going from the outside gate into three, that is a big factor. Driven a treat by Sean Grayling in scoring at Newcastle, True Confessions then had little luck from a four peg role in finishing a 17.6m 7th after failing to find clear air in the run home. BOHANNAN (10) also had little go his way from a deep peg run in the race won by Some Waratah, with a 20.6 7th the end result. The 6yo should have finished closer and although a wide gate awaits, in an open race he isn’t the roughest. WE SALUTE YOU (11) has a similar story to tell in finishing an 8m 7th to Blaster Ranger. Despite the outside gate the 4yo son of Well Said is another value chance. Just to complete the list of unlucky runners, MASONS DELIGHT (7) also could have finished closer than his 8.5m 8th to Blaster Ranger, but for being held up for a clear run. There should be plenty of value attached to a number of runners.
LETS GO TO BRAZIL 1, Firestorm Red 2, Island Banner 3, True Confessions 4.
The first semi-final for 2YO C&Gs will feature the appearance of the classy Craig Cross-trained youngster, BAR ROOM BANTA (3), with the exciting, former Victorian, drawing ideally in gate two, which is less the reserve. Following an impressive all-the-way win in the Shakamaker Classic at Melton on March 28, then trainer-driver Michael Stanley elected to send his promising colt to the paddock, prior to sending him north with this series high on the agenda. Bar Room Banta has created plenty of discussion in his two runs, winning by a huge margin first-up, then comfortably in a heat over Lets Get Rockin and Swayzee, each time racing the clock as well. Luke will have little trouble being first to the pegs with the son of A Rocknroll Dance and from that point onwards, it will be a matter of how far? ELECTRIC EYE (4) also joined the powerful Cross stable from Victorian, with this outstanding colt coming via, David Aiken. The Bettors Delight colt also had little trouble winning his heat, leading throughout in defeating Rock It Baby and Radar Stride. Also ideally drawn in three, which is less the reserve, the colt will be prominent but is hard to see him matching Bar Room Banta. Gold Crown winner TASTY DELIGHT (9) will launch his claim from gate 8, but he is bound to be in the mix from the outset. Boasting five wins from his six engagements, with a third thrown in for good measure, Tasty Delight resumed with a narrow win at Penrith, but trainer-driver Brian Portelli has given his star youngster two solid trails, the latter resulting in a comfortable win and he will tackle this assignment in fine order. ROCKNROLL RUNA (5) has collected six wins from his eight assignments, but this will be an interesting challenge for the youngster. Spelled after a 22.2m 7th in the Cold Crown back in March, Rocknroll Runa has won his three encounters since resuming, twice at Leeton while the latter as at Wagga. The David Kennedy-trained gelding has been doing it with ease so keep him safe in exotic discussions.
Others to include in that regard are LETS GET ROCKIN (10) and CAPTAIN CRUSADER (12), both very talented, however, the wide draws will restrict their claims.
BAR ROOM BANTA 1, Electric Eye 2, Tasty Delight 3, Rocknroll Runa 4.
The 2YO Fillies will face the starter for their first semi-final and it is poised to be a local victory as the David Thorn-trained ANNTONIA (5) has both the form on the board and the draw to be the first to enter the lucrative Grand Final. Spelled after her gallant 2.7m 2nd to Joanna in the Gold Tiara on March 28, Anntonia overcame a back row draw for a comfortable Penrith win on August 20, prior to working home nicely for a close 2nd to Soho Almasi in a heat at this venue on September 29. Fitter for that outing, Anntonia will take a power of beating this time around. The Blake Fitzpatrick trained and driven BREIVIKA (10) has drawn deep but certainly has the ability to play an active role in the finish. The filly is coming off a solid Newcastle win and although the draw is a concern, the filly can’t be taken lightly. HEAVEN ISLAND (12) also has a tricky draw to overcome, but the Paul Fitzpatrick-conditioned filly continues to show promise so don’t write her off when forming multiple investments. There is plenty of depth when looking at exotic contestants with HEAVENLY HOLLY (2), OUR BELLA LUCIA (3) and IM PRESI BELLE (9) all capable of staking a claim for a role in the finish.
ANNTONIA 1, Breivika 2, Heaven Island 3, Our Bella Lucia 4.
The ‘boys’ head around to the start for their second semi-final and WATTS UP SUNSHINE (3) appeals as the one to beat. A member of the ‘high-flying’ Rickie Alchin team and to be driven by the equally, ‘high-flying’ Cameron Hart, the son of Sunshine Beach has greeted the judge in four of his five starts this preparation, with a creditable 5m 3rd to Tasy Delight at Penrith also coming his way. To qualify for a spot in the semi-finals, Watts Up Sunshine headed to Tamworth a month ago, with the 1609m challenge becoming a ‘walk in the park’ for the gelding, as he had a margin of 30m to spare over his nearest rival. From gate three, Hart will again look to dictate the terms. However, lurking in gate two will be his main threat, the Craig Cross-conditioned PANTALOON (2), another southern invader from the stables of Michael Stanley. Following a debut win at Echuca, Pantaloon headed to the paddock, with his next outing coming seven months later when he appeared at Newcastle. Dictating the terms the gelding was untroubled in winning his heat and with that run under his belt, further improvement can be expected. Whether ‘cool hand Luke’ elects to hold or take a sit, will create interest during the early stages of the contest. The Darren McCall-trained maiden ROCK IT BABY (5) continues to improve, with his third outing resulting in a solid finishing 4.9m 2nd to Electric Eye. Handily drawn, the Pet Rock youngster is worthy of including when it comes to exotic investments. HE AINT FAKIN (10) is the ‘real deal’ as his form would suggest in recent times, and although a harder task awaits and a wide draw, the Chris Frisby-trained son of Art Major is entitled to exotic attention. ICANBOLT (9), WESTERN SHILO (8) and ROCLEA RULER (7) also have claims as ‘value’ exotic players.
WATTS UP SUNSHINE 1, Pantaloon 2, Rock It Baby 3, He Aint Fakin 4.
Back to the ‘girls’ to stake a claim in the main event and once again another Craig Cross-trained filly looks set to take a power of beating, with SOHO ALMASI (6) stepping out for her third run for the team after coming via the stables of Michael Stanley. The filly started favourite for the Pink Bonnet back in late February, but broke and lost all chance, as a $1.65 chance, in finishing a distance last to Girl From Oz. Spelled after that shock performance, Soho Almasi headed back up the highway some months later before debuting for the Cross stable with a stylish all-the-way win here on September 20. Her second win was in a heat of this series, with the daughter of Mach Three holding on to a narrow margin over Anntonia. Drawing the middle of the pack, Soho Almasi should be able to pounce on the lead and from that point onwards Luke McCarthy, who looks poised for a big night, should continue to improve the position of the exciting filly. However, whether he does lead or not, and does win or not, will depend on the pole marker, the undefeated Brad Hewitt trained and driven daughter of Captaintreacherous, ARMA RENEGADE (1). Spelled after her debut win at Bathurst back on March 4, the filly resumed with wins at Penrith in late August and early September, prior to defeating Franco Hampton and Shezsavvy at this venue when taking on older rivals. Soho Almasi will provide Arma Renegade with an interesting challenge, but one she is capable of confronting with a degree of confidence. Pink Bonnet winner GIRL FROM OZ (7) has been mixing her form since her feature win, but did show more commitment last time out, despite being safely held, when a closing 28.4m 4th to Soho Almasi. The Darren McCall trained and driven filly is worthy of exotic involvement. Others to consider in that regard include LA CABEZA GEM (8), HONEY CHICKEN (9) and IAMAJOYRIDE (2).
SOHO ALMASI 1, Arma Renegade 2, Girl From Oz 3, La Cabeza Gem 4.
CONVICTION (6) has been around the mark in each of his past three assignments at Headquarters and in a race as open as the Sydney Heads, the Bathurst visitor is entitled to another chance. The 6yo had every chance when a 7.2m 3rd to Arma The Gun, courtesy of a fine drive by Mitch Turnbull, then last week the pair didn’t have the best of luck in the race won by Wrangler. Three pegs for most of the mile assignment, Conviction didn’t have a great of space to work with over the final stages, which resulted in a 12.5m 5th, and there is no doubt with room to move, he could have finished closer to the action. Less the reserve and Conviction will launch his claim from the middle section of the mobile arm, and that should allow him to be in the mix from the outset. Peaking in condition after contesting two races from a spell, OUTRAGEOUS EL (4) is ready to make his presence felt. Resuming with a pleasing 2.6m 4th to Our Wall Street Wolf a few weeks ago, the David Thorn-trained 9yo was again doing his best work over the final 200m when a 10m 7th to Arma The Gun on September 26. Since scoring here last November, Outrageous El has been unplaced in his past eight starts, which includes two preparations, however, this assignment should suit him so don’t ignore him as a threat. The giant frame of LEFT TENNANT (7) is bound to be charging home, as per usual, in this type of engagement. The 7yo had been a consistent performer at this venue before facing the starter at Penrith last time out. From a back row draw the son of Art Major settled in a rearward role before grinding away over the final 600m in posting a gritty 24.8m 3rd to Backintown. The return to the spacious Menangle track will be more to his liking. LITTLE RASCAL (2) did his fair share of work, and more, when a gritty 4.3m 2nd to Loorrim Creek on Tuesday. The 8yo has been out of sorts of late, mainly due to being confronted by the likes of Cash N Flow, Balraj and King Of Swing, so this challenge and gate one will be appreciated by Little Rascal. Exotic players should keep UNCLE JAY (3), ALWAYS ROCKIN (8), MATCH IN HEAVEN (11) and AZTEC BROMAC (10) in mind when forming combinations.
CONVICTION 1, Outrageous El 2, Left Tennant 3, Little Rascal 4.
Another open race, this time for the trotters, with the Tim Butt-trained MAJESTIC COURTNEY (1) the way to go in the hope that the 5yo can remain focused from start to finish. When he does, the son Majestic Son is very good when he doesn’t he usually finishes with the ‘cap catchers’. Resuming with a 17m 8th to Hotjane Bling, Majestic Courtney then appreciated the return to mobile conditions when he led for most of the trip in turning the tables on Hotjane Bling. Last week, as Forrest Gump would say, “Majestic Courtney is like a box of chocolates – you just don’t what you’re gonna get’, and what we got was the gelding breaking and losing all chance, with a 97.9m 9th to Tough Monarch being the end result. Let’s hope that the chocolate is filled with mint and Majestic Courtney provides his supporters with a smooth finish. CALIGULA (4) has won a trial in readiness for his first run since a costly 8m 3rd to Blazing Under Fire back in mid-June. The 4yo certainly has the ability to give this a big shake so respect his prospects. PRINCESS KENNY (8) has been mixing her form of late but is more than capable of playing an active role in the finish while EMPIRE BAY (2) did a fine job when stepping out for his second assignment from a spell when a gritty 5.8m 2nd to Tough Monarch a week ago. Three runs back have MONARO MIA (7) peaking, with her latest 2nd to Conon Bridge here on Tuesday, suggesting that the mare is ready to greet the judge. GOLD SOVEREIGN (5), KOWHAI MONARCH (6) and AMANDAS SPUR (9) are also in the mix, as far as, exotic players are concerned.
MAJESTIC COURTNEY 1, Caligula 2, Princess Kenny 3, Empire Bay 4.