IDEALLY drawn and coming off a gallant effort in defeat, IDEAL PLEASURE (2) is poised to go one better, although the mare will need to be at her best if she is to repel quality opposition. Reserve out and the Team Tritton runner will launch her claim from the pole, giving Lauren the option to dictate or adopt a stalking role. The former was ‘plan A’ last time out when she went within a half-head of greeting the judge, only to be run down by Fame Assured. Ideal Pleasure hasn’t been successful since last July, however, the 5yo is rarely far from the action and is bound to again make her presence felt. Queensland mentor Grant Dixon has been enjoying a good success over the past month with AQUA MISS (6) looking to continue the trend. The highly-regarded daughter of Bettors Delight was driven a treat by Luke McCarthy last week in converting the one-one into a solid win over a late finishing She Envy while Tralee Bromac snatched third spot. Handily drawn in five, the 5yo will again be a major threat. SHE ENVY (9) has drawn deeper this time around but the mare hit the line with plenty of intent last time out and is certainly racing well enough to go one better. The interesting runner is BLACK SILHOUETTE (8) who is back from a lengthy spell. The mare has had the benefit of two Newcastle trials, placed on both occasions, in readiness for her return. Boasting a handy record at this venue, Black Silhouette can’t be taken lightly. ART SERIES (3) now peaks in condition and will enjoy the good draw so don’t dismiss her from the exotics, along with TAKARA TRUFFLE (4), BRONSKI BELLE (7) and ROCKNROLL ANGEL (11).
IDEAL PLEASURE 1, Aqua Miss 2, She Envy 3, Black Silouette 4.
DESPITE drawing out in eight, which is with the reserve out, CONVICTION (9) is capable of grabbing his third win at this venue in the past six weeks. The son of For A Reason accounted for Redbank Addi and Rays Choice when he worked in holding on bravely to score on Jan 25, prior to stepping out over the 2260m of the Bathurst track last Sunday. Restrained at the start, Conviction settled back in the pack, prior to working home stoutly for a pleasing 5.2m 3rd to stablemates Atomic Red and Courtsinsession. The 6yo is likely to make his presence felt from the outset in an attempt to grind out another tough win. LITTLE RASCAL (2) was a shade disappointing last week when a 14.5m 4th to Let It Ride, despite enjoying a kind run behind the leader. The 8yo accounted for Conviction three runs ago, and from his ideal draw, is capable of playing an active role in the finish. Harry Martin has DOUBLE ENCOUNTER (6) racing in the ‘peak of his powers’ and courtesy of a fine drive by David Morris last week, the 6yo recorded a stylish win in finishing strongly to defeat Maraetai and Cant Refuse. It is hard to dismiss him as a potential threat again. MATCH IN HEAVEN (11) has drawn badly but the 7yo is coming off a deserving win and now that he has broken through, following an extended period of consistent displays, he could continue to grow in confidence. Another race with plenty of depth so exotic players should consider POCKET OF TERROR (10), REPLACED EYE (3) and LUCKY LOMBO (5).
CONVICTION 1, Little Rascal 2, Double Encounter 3, Match In Heaven 4.
OUTSTANDING Kiwi filly STYLISH MEMPHIS (1) will be out to make up for lost time, due to being a late scratching here last week, when she faces the starter against older opposition. A star contender for the NSW Oaks, the 3yo daughter of Bettors Delight faces an interesting assignment, but gate one will certainly play an important part in her attempt to greet the judge. Stylish Memphis accounted for Dr Susan in a heat of the Victoria Oaks on Jan 18, however, the all-important draw for the Final a week later resulted in the filly drawing the back row while Dr Susan left the machine from gate five. The end result was a brilliant win by Dr Susan while Stylish Memphis was brave in collecting second after doing a power of work. Dr Susan was supposed to clash with Stylish Memphis last week, and with the latter being withdrawn, the good ‘Doctor’ was left with a comfortable run to the winning post. CHRISTMAS TOYBOY (4) has the gate speed to cross the filly, but that is likely to suit Mark Purdon as he looks to save Stylish Memphis for a late surge. Christmas Toyboy led and had every chance last week when he was involved in a three-way split at the post, resulting in a half-head 3rd to Paternity Suit and Macheasy. Expect the 6yo to again be in the mix for a long way. ROYAL LINCOLN (3) will enjoy the move to a draw a lot closer to the pegs after a couple of wide gates since scoring here four starts ago. The Jacob Wallace trained and driven Queenslander could be the value runner. MACH EASY (7) is coming off a couple of solid efforts and is again capable of being involved in the finish. Multiple investors should keep the Brad Hewitt pair in ARMA THE GUN (10) and THE TEXAS RANGER (8) in mind when forming their investments. An ideal draw keeps DIKERRY (2) in the mix in that regard, as well.
STYLISH MEMPHIS 1, Christmas Toyboy 2, Royal Lincoln 3, Mach Easy 4.
VICTORIAN conditioner David Miles has been enjoying plenty of success of late and he will be hoping to continue that trend, courtesy of the in-form SIX ELEMENTS (4), who is bound to make his presence felt in what will be her first outing on the Menangle track. That can be a concern at times, however, the mare is an experienced campaigner and her recent form is hard to ignore. Competing in probably the best form of her career, Six Elements is coming off a solid win over Madazalways and Itsallaboutjack at Melton, with the 6yo converting a kind run behind the leader into a dominant display. If Miles can secure a similar ‘stalking role’ then the spacious Menangle run home looks ideal for Six Elements. THE ANNOUNCER (3) is more than capable of having an important say in the finish after drawing well. Following a solid win at Bathurst and a hat-trick of respectable placings, two at this venue, the 6yo had no luck when 7th to Conviction, prior to working home stoutly for a creditable 4.4m 4th to Paternity Suit last week. Trainer-driver Dean Cernovskis will be looking to take advantage of the draw in finding a role close to the action, allowing The Announcer to give this assignment a big shake. Gate one is ideal for OHOKA JOHNNY (1) as it will give the 6yo the option of dictating or enjoying a kind run behind the pace. The latter applied a couple of weeks ago when he recorded a 5.4m 3rd to Superbass. DANCE FOR GLORY (6) is always around the mark and from his handy draw the tough son of Artsplace is bound to give another bold showing while the reliable ZHUKOV LEIS (5), who is still looking to post his first win on this side of Bass Strait, and his first since Oct/2018, is always a sound exotic player. When forming exotic investments a fitter BACKINTOWN (7) is worthy of attention while his stablemate, EVERYBODYLOVEDRAY (9) is also capable of adding value to the end result.
SIX ELEMENTS 1, The Announcer 2, Ohoka Johnny 3, Dance For Glory 4.
THIS should be a ‘cracker’ of a race with a number of Mirale Mile contenders facing the starter, including the star Kiwi, CHASE AUCKLAND (11) who was a respectable 4th to stablemate Spankem in the 2018 edition of the great race. Under the care of the master conditioners Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, the son of Auckland Reactor has continued to perform at the elite level, leaving his homeland on a winning note after scoring at Cambridge on Jan 10. A week later the 5yo recorded a gallant 1.5m 3rd to A Gs White Socks and Self Assured in the Ballarat Cup, en route to another fine display in the 2760m Hunter Cup at Melton on Feb 1, which resulted in a 5.3m 3rd behind King Of Swing and Our Uncle Sam. That form must be respected, regardless of the opposition and the awkward draw. ALTA ORLANDO (10) was suppose to contest the Hunter Cup, however, an accident on the way to the track resulted in some minor concerns, resulting in the 8yo being declared a late scratching. The son of Courage Under Fire defeated My Field Marshal and Tiger Tara here on Dec 14, then won the Shirley Turnbull Memorial at Bathurst on Boxing Day. The son of Courage Under Fire has the speed to follow the pace across and make his presence felt from the outset as he attempts to make up for lost time at the track. Next in line is the breath-taking winner of the 2017 Miracle Mile, MY FIELD MARSHAL (9), who has been below that type of form since, although it is hard to stay at that ‘rarefied’ level. The Tim Butt-trained star was returned from the 2018 Miracle Mile, with three of his four runs since resuming from that setback, pleasing, the latest resulting in a solid all-the-way win over 2300m. On that occasion he defeated Cruz and subsequent winner and stablemate, Let It Ride. The time has arrived for My Field Marshal to test this type of opponent once again. The depth continues to come as the speedy MAJORDAN (8) bounced back to his best with a brilliant win last week while IGNATIUS (7), who finished a gritty 3rd in the same race, is more than capable of being heavily involved in the finish. This is bound to be an intriguing race from ‘go to whoa’. Outside of the ‘big guns’, PAY ME SAM (4), who was an eye-catching 5.4m 5th to Majordan last week, could be worthy of attention as a value player for the exotics.
CHASE AUCKLAND 1, Alta Orlando 2, My Field Marshal 3, Majordan 4.
THE G2 Garrads Sibelia Stakes is next up and despite the presence of an outstanding array of talent and a wide gate, BETTOR ENFORCE (11) appeals as the one to beat. The mare has gone from strength-to-strength since joining the high-flying Craig Cross team at Cobbitty. Less the two reserves and Bettor Enforce will launch her claim from nine. When last seen in action at this venue on Jan 18, the 7yo led from 10 in posting an opening quarter of 26.3 seconds, en route to bringing the field home in 27.4, leaving Art Series and Hows The Memory to fight out the minors. Bettor Enforce headed back to Victoria for her next assignment, the $100,000 Ladyship Cup, with the inside of the back row awaiting her. However, directly ahead of her was the classy Kiwi Belle Of Montana, and, as expected, the short-priced elect dictated the terms from start to finish in posting an impressive win. To her credit Bettor Enforce didn’t shirk her task in recording a gallant head second, closing with every powerful stride. Collecting the cheque for finishing 3rd, albeit on protest, in the above-mentioned race was GOODTIME HEAVEN (8) who was having her first run since last August. The Courtney Slater-trained mare worked from a back-row draw and was left exposed outside of the leader and her effort in finishing 8.9m was superb. Anthony Butt, who is driving in great fashion, has secured the drive behind the ultra-consistent and fitter 5yo, who has a fine record at this venue. As always, when Barry Purdon leaves New Zealand with a feature runner, the stable must be respected and on this occasion HAVTIME (9) is the horse in question. The 4yo mare has recorded six wins from her 20 starts, and although her stats will show her finishing last in her most recent assignment, it was behind the likes of Star Galleria and Belle Of Montana. PICK UP LINE (7) did finish 3rd in the Ladyship Cup at Melton, however, the quality 5yo lost that spot on protest due to contacting marker pegs when charging home strongly. Rarely far from the action, Pick Up Line can’t be taken lightly and could be the value player in a tough race. SOHO NOLITA (6) also arrives from south of the border with consistent form and she remains in the multiple mix, along with FAME ASSURED (4).
BETTOR ENFORCE 1, Goodtime Heaven 2, Havtime 3, Pick Up Line 4.
THE G2 Cordina Chickens Paleface Adios will give runners another chance to secure a berth in the Chariots Of Fire, and, another exciting array of 4yo talent will ensure an exciting contest. After an outstanding 3yo season, OUT TO PLAY (8), who was under the care of Emma Stewart at the time, will be looking to continue to the good work for Clayton Tonkin, who is no stranger to the exciting son of Art Major. Spelled after a gallant 1.3m 2nd to Max Delight in the 3YO C&Gs Crown Final at Melton last August, Out To Play resumed with a sparkling 11.5m win at Globe Derby on last week, despite covering more ground than the early explorers. With that run under his belt, Out To Play will be able to play with this field in the same relaxed manner as Emma Stewart arrives with a couple of her stable ‘big guns’ in HURRICANE HARLEY (3) and FOURBIGMEN (2), both drawing perfectly. HURRICANE HARLEY has commenced his new term of racing in fine style as he continues to perform at a high level on regular basis. The Bettors Delight bay drew the inside of the back row for the 4YO Bonanza at Melton on Jan 25, and although beaten 28.5m into 3rd spot behind Lochinvar Art and Self Assured, Hurricane Harley wasn’t disgraced in the process. Tough and durable, Hurricane Harley has the chance to dictate and that will see him giving this a big shake. FOURBIGMEN has won four of his five starts since a spell, the latest a week ago when he proved too good for Pay Rise, after setting the tempo for most of the trip. The son of Mach Three has the chance to secure a kind run on the back of his stablemate, if so desired, and then make things interesting for his rivals over the final stages. CULTURE KING (1) steps up to the plate in the big time after scoring at Goulburn last time out when first-up from a spell, and for the Craig Cross stable. Gate one is a huge plus and that will at least assist his exotic prospects. BALRAJ (12) was the ‘boom’ horse in this state, however, the 4yo was a big disappointment in the Hondo Grattan a week ago when he led and tired to finish a well-beaten 9th to Self Assured. Balraj is better than that, but from the wide gate a minor exotic role could be the best he could hope for. PITCH PERFECT (9) is a nice type and although resuming he did post a solid Newcastle trial win so don’t ignore him as a value chance in the multiples.
OUT TO PLAY 1, Hurricane Harley 2, Fourbigmen 3, Culture King 4.
STAR colt LINE UP (10) will be looking to take another step towards the big ‘blue ribbon’ double when he faces the starter from a wide gate. Under the astute care of Anthony Butt, who has only recently taken over his training routine, Line Up is coming off a brilliant heat win, then an equally sensational display in taking out the Victoria Derby at Melton on Jan 25, leading throughout on each occasion, the latter defeating Governor Jujon and Perfect Stride. Despite the wider draw, Butt is bound to look to again dictate, a role which will again see his rivals, lining up, for the ‘next best’ finishing role behind Line Up. Leading the charge will again be the highly-regarded Queenslander, GOVERNOR JUJON (11), although the Grant Dixon star has drawn the outside gate. The colt was brave in defeat behind Line Up in the Victoria Derby, following a stylish all-the-way win in his heat. Dixon may elect to follow Butt across the face of the field, ensuring that he keeps the favoured pair well within his sights. YOUAREMYSUNSHINE (9) has joined the Craig Cross stable after his first-rate effort in the Victoria Derby, which resulted in a pleasing 9.3m fourth. The colt certainly stays under notice when it comes to multiple discussions. PERFECT STRIDE (7), who is a stablemate of Line Up, was responsible for a big job in the Victoria Derby, overcoming a back-row draw and a deep trip home in recording a 7.4m third. Handily drawn this time around, Perfect Stride is bound to give another good account. Outside of the ‘power players’, VIRGIL (6) who tired badly to finish a well-beaten 11th in the Victoria Derby, is worth including as a value chance in the exotics, courtesy of a sound 6.7m 3rd to Line Up in his heat of the Derby.
LINE UP 1, Governor Jujon 2, Youaremysunshine 3, Perfect Stride 4.
EVENLY-MATCHED field with the draw presenting the James Rattray trained and driven filly DELIGHTFUL ANGEL (6) the opportunity to gain the major share of the prizemoney. Following a consistent start to her career and a sound and gritty 7.3m 4th to the promising Vincenzina, Delightful Angel broke through for her inital win at Penrith a couple of weeks ago when she raced without cover, en route to proving a shade too good for Miss Mach and Iris Stride. With the prospect of again being prominently placed from the outset, Delightful Angel will make her presence felt. TINGIRINGI (12) has drawn the outside gate, but remains a major contender, although the filly just managed to convert a comfortable role in the lead into a narrow win here on Tuesday. JOES JOY (11) is an experienced campaigner and her form warrants attention, despite the wide gate, while TALK ABOUT LEXY (10) can’t be dismissed as a threat on the basis of a last-start defeat when she started favourite at Bathurst. The filly didn’t have the best of luck from a back-row draw, and although confronted by a deep draw, she is capable of being active in the finish. Exotic investors should keep SHEZLIKEROYALTY (2) and MISS MACH (8) in the mix when forming combinations.
DELIGHTFUL ANGEL 1, Tingiringi 2, Joes Joy 3, Talk About Lexy 4.
FOLLOWING a consistent but frustrating start to his career, PERCY BAILEY (8) greeted the judge in fine style at Menangle on Tuesday. Runner-up in each of his opening four assignments, which included a huge run when beaten 4m by the exciting Jilliby Nitro in the Bathurst G1 Gold Crown, the Michael Leary-trained 3yo enjoyed a kind run before finishing his latest encounter off solidly in defeating Fire And Sword and Major Lester. The draw has thrown the race open, however, Percy Bailey is entitled to top billing. SHADES OF HEAVEN (4) will give plenty of cheek after leading for most of the trip at Penrith last time out in defeating Fifteen Aces and Major Statement. The Team Tritton runner is bound to go in search of the lead and with added fitness, the Shadow Play gelding will prove hard to run down. ROCK FISHERMAN (3) has been runner-up in each of his past two starts and although he keeps falling short of catching the ‘big one’, he stays in the mix from his ideal draw. FIRE AND SWORD (12) hit the line nicely on Tuesday and despite the presence of the outside gate, he again warrants exotic involvement. Others to consider in that regard include CHASING THE WIND (9), MAJOR STATEMENT (10), and MAJOR LESTER (6).
PERCY BAILEY 1, Shades Of Heaven 2, Rock Fisherman 3, Fire And Sword 4.
A CASE could be put forward for a number of runners, mainly due to the lack of winning efforts of late, although still consistent. With the benefit of an ideal draw, EXPRESSIONIST (2) has the chance of continuing the good run, currently being enjoyed by Shane Sanderson and his stable driver Cameron Hart. Less the reserve and the 10yo will launch his claim from gate one, and that will give Hart the chance to dictate, if he so desires, or, at the very least, present the veteran with a kind peg run. A Newcastle winner two starts ago, Expressionist enjoy a cosy run behind the leader when a solid 2.5m 4th to stablemate Lucky Lombo here on Feb 8, a run good enough to respect his claims here. MONGOLIAN ARCHER (5) was given a couple of months off after a solid 3.5m 3rd to The Bettormack, prior to resuming with an unlucky 10.2m 8th to Lucky Lombo a couple of weeks ago. Suitably drawn and fitter, the 7yo is capable of bouncing back to winning form so don’t ignore his claims. CANT REFUSE (11) has a tough draw but the 7yo can’t be left out of the mix, although he has been costly since a spell. Four of his five starts have resulted in placings, the latest a week ago when he worked to the line in an encouraging manner, resulting on a 3m 3rd to Double Encounter. Craig Cross has a strong hand in the race as apart from Mongolian Archer and Cant Refuse, the Cobbitty stable also have OUR WALL STREET WOLF (9) engaged. The 6yo has been mixing his form of late, however, there was merit in his latest effort a week ago, which resulted in a pleasing 8.4m 3rd to Let It Ride. On that effort he warrants another chance. Exotic players should look for assistance from FLAMING FLUTTER (4), MISTERFREEZE (6) and RAYS CHOICE (8). Reserve runner FOUROEIGHT (1) is rarely far away and from his ideal draw, if he gains a run, then respect his claims, especially when it comes to the multiples.
EXPRESSIONIST 1, Mongolian Archer 2, Cant Refuse 3, Our Wall Street Wolf 4.
TWO classy trotters in DROP THE HAMMER (9) and LILY STRIDE (10) are likely to fight out the finish, with the nod going the way of the fitter DROP THE HAMMER. Since resuming the highly-regarded, Darren Hancock trained and driven son of Bettors Delight has faced the starter on eight occasions, which has resulted in a 50 per cent winning strike rate. After winning here on Jan 20, Drop The Hammer had his next assignment in the Dullard Cup at Melton two weeks later, with the gelding settling midfield, only to break and then going inside the pegs, en route to settling at the rear of the field, where he remained in finishing a distant last to Temporale. Back to his favoured racing circuit, Drop The Hammer has recorded 14 wins to date, all posted here, along with 11 placings from his 37 trips to this venue. Expect him to bounce back strongly in proving the one to beat. LILY STRIDE established her wonderful reputation, via the USA, prior to heading to the Southern Hemisphere and performing in fine style. The 5yo mare is coming off a disappointing and costly 38.8m 7th to Drop The Hammer back in late October, and although safely held in a recent trial, Lily Stride is bound to be ready for a bold first-up showing. The reliable AMANDAS SPUR (8) didn’t have a great deal of luck in the E B Cochran Trotters Cup at Ballarat a few weeks ago, following some strong performances at Menangle before crossing the border. Don’t write the 8yo off as a potential threat. When forming exotic combinations EMPIRE BAY (5) must be included following a big effort here last week in finishing a 7.8m 4th to Kowhai Monarch. The 6yo struck trouble and lost considerable ground at the 500m mark and to make up a huge amount of ground from that point onwards was a big effort. MAJESTIC COURTNEY (2), despite being below his best, also has claims in the multiples, along with HOTJANE BLING (7).
DROP THE HAMMER 1, Lily Stride 2, Amandas Spur 3, Empire Bay 4.