May 1, 2020 Michael Court
DESPITE posting another frustrating effort last week, the Craig Cross-trained CANT REFUSE (11) receives another chance to redeem himself in what looks a suitable assignment, despite drawing closer to the car park than the pegs. Cant Refuse would have to be a rare commodity, as far as, the stable is concerned, as he is yet to greet the judge after 11 attempts. Still searching for his first win since March, 2019, when successful at Melton, the 7-y-o is coming off a solid display last week when he worked home stoutly in recording a 1.6m 2nd to stablemate Motu Gatecrasher. Confronted by slightly-stronger assignments of late, Cant Refuse should find this to his liking so don’t jump ship just yet. The main threat is the KerryAnn Morris-conditioned REDBANK ADDI (2), which will be backing up from an assignment here on Tuesday. Starting a $1.55 chance, Redbank Addi drew one, the same draw applies here if the reserve doesn’t gain a run, however, was crossed in finding herself three back along the pegs. Held up for a clear run at a vital stage, the mare hit the line strongly in recording a neck 2nd to Redbelly Jack. The 5-y-o has now been placed in three of her past four and with better luck in running is more than capable of keeping Cant Refuse out of the top spot. MANGO STRIDE (8) is open to a vastly-improved effort after resuming with a safely-held 21.5m 6th to Jack Farthing a week ago. A more than useful type the 6-y-o should be included in exotic investments. ALWAYS ROCKIN (5) caught the eye last week when a solid-finishing 8.9m 3rd to Motu Gatecrasher. Although his form has been patchy of late, Always Rockin is a value player for the multiples. THE BACHELOR (6), UNCLE JAY (9) and TRALEE BROMAC (10) also fit into that category.
CANT REFUSE 1, Redbank Addi 2, Mango Stride 3, Always Rockin 4.
ARMA THE GUN (9) hasn’t had a great deal of luck recently, but hasn’t been disgraced in either of his two unplaced, back-to-back efforts, so don’t dismiss the son of Village Jolt as a definite contender for the top spot. After greeting the judge on two occasions in early March, the Brad Hewitt-trained 7-y-o has been competitive, without luck in running, as in each of his past three encounters, he has been exposed outside the leader. The first resulted in a gritty 4m 3rd to Molly Kelly, prior to a 9m 7th to Star Major and a 5.3m 6th to Chevrons Reward last week. Under the circumstances those runs have been respectable, and if Hewitt can secure a suitable run for Arma The Gun, despite drawing deep, then he is capable of playing an active role in the finish. In what looks to be a race of many chances, the quote concerning Arma The Gun’s claims should be enticing. SPEAK NO EVIL (11) led from an ideal draw last week in posting a 1.4m 2nd to Chevrons Reward. This time around the mare finds herself launching her claims from the outside gate. Despite the hurdle and the fact that she did have every chance last time out, the 5-y-o can’t be taken lightly as she hits peak condition following four runs following 18 months on the sidelines. MACHEASY (5) and CHAPTER ONE (3) have been ‘flying the flag’ south of the border for Grant Dixon in recent months, with the pair more than paying their way. Robert Morris takes the reins behind Macheasy while cousin David has secured the drive behind Chapter One. It is hard to split the pair so don’t dismiss them from the equation, especially when it comes to the multiples. WAHS FIRE BUG (6) worked and wasn’t disgraced when a 4.8m 4th to Princess Danica last week, and along with stablemate TOTAL DIVA (10), the pair should also stay under notice.
ARMA THE GUN 1, Speak No Evil 2, Macheasy 3, Chapter One 4.
THE powerful Craig Cross stable will send four runners around to the start, five, if the reserve sneaks into the race, so it is safe to say he holds the key to this race. Todd McCarthy sticks with last-start winner REPLACED EYE (6) and from his handy draw, the son of Rocknroll Hanover will again give a great sight. The 7-y-o is coming off a strong all-the-way win when he accounted for one of his man threats again in Van Mara while Ned Pepper filled third spot. Whether the speedy Don Boston elects to hold the lead is the concern, however, in similar assignments, Brad Abbott has taken cover with his beloved veteran. VAN MARA (5) has been runner-up in his past two assignments for Lucky Lodge and he looks ready to record a win following three runs since leaving Victoria. No doubt the centre of attention is the former Gary Hall Snr-trained ZENNART (10) who is now under the care of Cross, and with Luke electing to drive the WA newcomer, that is a good guide for punters. The 8-y-o hasn’t raced since posting a poor 316m last behind Ideal Liner at Gloucester Park on Jan 3. Zennart hasn’t trialled for his new mentor but did contest four, prior to crossing the Nullabor, the past two as runner-up at Pinjarra and Byford, respectively. Despite drawing deep, respect any positive market move. MOTU GATECRASHER (7) is coming off a solid win and his claims can’t be taken lightly. That quartet hold the key to the race but exotic prospects should be given to DOUBLE ENCOUNTER (8) and OUR WALL STREET WOLF (4).
REPLACED EYE 1, Van Mara 2, Zennart 3, Motu Gatecrasher 4.
CASINO TOMMY (9) has had a number of homes throughout his 159-start career, with his mail now sent to Lucky Lodge. The son of John Street North was having his first run for KerryAnn and Robert Morris last week, following a handy period of racing in Queensland, when he posted a pleasing effort in a harder race, compared to his upcoming assignment. Nestled four back along the marker pegs, Casino Tommy received sufficient room half-way down the straight and, as a result, started to work home nicely, although never a threat, in recording a pleasing 12.3m 4th to Culture King. While he is no star, Casino Tommy has always been a reliable type and prior to leaving the Sunshine State he had been honest in good company. Despite the wide gate, it is a race of numerous chances and Casino Tommy is right up there as being one of those chances. ZHUKOV LEIS (6), despite a long absence from the winners’ circle, which stretches back to October,2018, is bound to give another good sight and the booking of Todd McCarthy should be noted, with trainer James Rattray electing to take the reins behind GOODDEALEHEMILY (8). Zhukov Leis worked from a wide draw, as favourite, when a creditable 5.5m 5th to Bettors Pocket in what was a slightly easier challenge a couple of weeks ago. The 6-y-o is certainly not out of place in this field and with a better draw assisting him, expect Zhukov Leis to again be competitive. GOTTA BE DOWNTOWN (10) has been unplaced in her past four Menangle starts since scoring at Penrith on March 12. However, the mare has been beaten nine metres or less in the process, and her effort last week in finishing a closing 5.7m 5th to Princess Danica was a sound display. Snookered four pegs and held up for a clear run until late, the effort was a lot better than it may first appear on paper. When it comes to forming exotic investments include BRADS LUCK (7), BETTOR BE LUCKY (2), GOODDEALEHEMILY (8) and BETTORS POCKET (11).
CASINO TOMMY 1, Zhukov Leis 2, Gotta Be Downtown 3, Brads Luck 4.
THE Group 2 La Coocaracha is the feature event and it comes as no surprise that noted trotting mentor Blake Fitzpatrick holds the key to the $30,000 race, courtesy of his quality mare ADELLE (6). From her past 11 starts Adelle has topped the charts on six occasions when posting four top-three hits along the way. However, the 4-y-o has been beaten at a short quote in each of her past two starts. The first of those two engagements resulted in a safely-held 2nd to Super Fast Pat while the latter was behind her stablemate Rolling Secret just over a week ago. Caught facing the breeze after working from a three-deep position, Adelle was unable to withstand the strong finish of Rolling Secret who enjoyed a far kinder run on the back of the mare. Suitably-drawn in the middle of the front line, Adelle, despite the harder test, should be regarded as a major contender for the title. ANDYOU (10) has joined the Alex Alchin team on the back of a consistent body of work in Victoria. The mare hasn’t won in a year, however, she is rarely far from the action. The 6-y-o contested a stand at Shepparton two weeks ago, and with a 30m hcp, she was unable to make an impression when a creditable 11m 5th to the classy Big Jack Hammer. Back to a mobile and against her own sex, Andyou will make her presence felt. REVY JAY (5) has been freshened since a sound 11.9m 3rd to Miss Blissful at Melton on Jan 25. Prior to heading south for a couple of assignments, the mare recorded a hat-trick of wins at this venue, and although this will be a harder test, compared to those victories, the 5-y-o is heading in the right direction. HOTJANE BLING (8) is coming off a solid 1.2m 3rd to Drop The Hammer and is capable of giving this a shake. SASSY PANTS (7) has more ability than most and while she has struggled to show that ‘raw’ talent in each of her past four starts, the mare has been enjoyed a good break and with the benefit of four trials, she could explode back into action without surprising. ROLLING SECRET (4), ROMPERS MONARCHY (12) and MONARO MIA (11) stay under notice as exotic contenders.
ADELLE 1, Andyou 2, Revy Jay 3, Hotjane Bling 4.
SHOOTING for his fourth consecutive win, it is impossible to go past the classy CASH N FLOW (11) as the one to beat. In each of his wins the son of Mach Three has drifted across from a wide gate in finding the pegs, en route to dictating the terms to perfection in greeting the judge. And, so precise has been Luke McCarthy in the sulky, Cash N Flow has recorded times of 1.49.8, 1:49.6 and 1:49.7, the past two coming home in 27.2s. Two weeks ago he accounted for Cruz and the 2018 Miracle Mile winner, My Field Marshall. The lead role will again be on offer and once that happens, it will be simply a case of ‘times and margins’. Delete Cash N Flow from the race and the event takes on an open appearance, although another Craig Cross runner in LITTLE RASCAL (3) looks next in line for the top spot. Apart from a 21m 9th to Cash N Flow three runs ago, Little Rascal has been a model of consistency, with a 15.3m 4th, once again behind his classy stablemate, and a 3rd to Jack Farthing a week ago, when beaten 7.6m in closing late, worthy of him been regarded a solid exotic ‘anchor’. HICKSTEAD (4) has also been reliable in the same assignments as Little Rascal. In the same race won by Jack Farthing last week, the 7-y-o came from five pegs in recording a solid 11m fourth. ROCK N ROLL CHAPEL (8) posted a solid first-up win for the Cross barn two starts ago, then did a shade too much work when a fading, but creditable, 7.7m 4th to Fame Assured. The mare should be included when forming multiple investments while THE TEXAS RANGER (2) will appreciate a far better draw and is a value player for the exotics. JACK FARTHING (9) also stays in the exotic mix, although his claims have been hindered by the wide gate.
CASH N FLOW 1, Little Rascal 2, Hickstead 3, Rock N Roll Chapel 4.
CLASSY mare HAVTIME (11) will contest this event as the one to beat, and in the process, bounce back to winning form after appearing to be unlucky a week ago when beaten into second spot as an odds-on favourite. Taking up the role as pacemaker, with ease after starting from gate two, Havtime was then pressured during the middle stages when stablemate Elle Yeah raced keenly. As a result, the daughter of Mach Three was left vulnerable when the field entered the straight. And that proved the case as her main danger, Hows The Memory had enjoyed a kind run on Havtime and with fresh legs, she had too much ‘zip’ for Havtime over the final 150m. Havtime has the outside gate to overcome, however, it is hard to fault her form and whether Robert Morris elects to ‘pull the pin’ early and make a statement from the outset or look for cover, Havtime is the one to beat. WEEKS END (5) is an interesting newcomer to the local scene having left Victoria to join Jarrod Alchin. Prior to heading north the grey mare posted two wins from her past four starts while her latest effort resulted in a pleasing 6m 5th to Messerati at Charlton on March 29. Suitably drawn, Weeks End is bound to have plenty to offer and if there is to be an upset, the daughter of Jet Laag is capable of providing such a result. LOVE MY SISTER (7) had little trouble scoring at Penrith three runs ago, and each of her past two starts at Menangle have been sound in similar events to this assignment. The 5-y-o hit the line strongly when an 8.2m 3rd to Hows The Memory a week ago, and although a wider gate awaits, Love My Sister appeals as a suitable exotic player. A fitter ROCKING (8) should be ready to be more actively-involved in the finish while SOUNDS OF TERROR (3), ITS MESMERISE (4) and DELILAAH (9) also warrant attention in that regard.
HAVTIME 1, Weeks End 2, Love My Sister 3, Rocking 4.
DROP THE HAMMER (9) finds himself in a similar situation, compared to recent assignments, with a wide gate and the usual suspects joining him at the start. As a result, the quality 5-y-o is again the one to beat. The Darren Hancock-trained and driven son of Bettors Delight has posted wins either side of a 2nd to Adelle, and if that particular mare wins the G2 feature race earlier in the night, it will further underline the grip Drop The Hammer has on this field. Hancock elected to keep his ‘powder dry’ with Drop The Hammer when he scored here two weeks ago, electing to occupy a rearward role before emerging on the scene when the field sighted the winning post. The move allowed Drop The Hammer to nail his rivals over the final 100m, accounting for Kowhai Monarch and Hotjane Bling. This assignment does appear slightly easier and win No. 18 looks there for the taking, as far as, this former pacer, turned trotter is concerned. AMANDAS SPUR (7) is coming off a sound 2nd to Super Fast Pat, and although safely-held in a handful of outings prior, this does appear to be a suitable assignment so expect a competitive showing. EMPIRE BAY (8) has also been thereabouts on a regular basis of late, but the 6-y-o is finding it hard to break back into the winners’ circle since arriving from a stint of racing in Queensland. If MAJESTIC COURTNEY (6) found his best form, then the 5-y-o would take no end of beating. Following a win here four starts back, Majestic Courtney has been safely held, the latest in a stand start when a 9m 7th to Scenic Sky a week ago. Back to a mobile and from a suitable draw, the son of Majestic Son is at the very least a suitable exotic player. CALIGULA (2) and BLAZING UNDER FIRE (5) should also be linked to the multiples.
DROP THE HAMMER 1, Amandas Spur 2, Empire Bay 3, Majestic Courtney 4.