October 28, 2021 National Trotguide
Hitting peak condition following four runs since a spell, and drawing ideally in gate one, the Darren Binskin trained and driven ALPINE STRIDE (1) is poised to make his presence felt in what should be a suitable assignment. The talented 7yo son of Rocknroll Hanover accounted for Never Been Said and Burnham Boy, which has won since, two starts ago, then stepped-up to a G3 challenge when he started a $101.00 chance for the Kevin Robinson Memorial a couple of weeks ago. Restrained from a wide gate, Alpine Stride settled four pegs before working home steadily for a respectable 7.4m 4th to Miracle Mile runner-up, Expensive Ego. DJ will have Alpine Stride closer to the action and ‘poised to pounce’ when the home straight comes into play. RUSTY CRACKERS (5) follows a similar path to that of Alpine Stride as the 7yo also scored two starts ago, prior to contesting tougher 2300m assignment last week which resulted in a solid 6.5m 4th to Burnham Boy. A suitable midfield role will certainly result in Rusty Crackers playing a pro-active in the finish. RAYS CHOICE (11) has a tricky draw to overcome but the 8yo has the gate speed to be in the mix from the outset if Jack Trainor elects to push the ‘go’ button. Runner-up behind the likes of Boncel Benjamin (twice) and King Of Swing in three consecutive encounters, the son of Four Starzzz Shark wasn’t disgraced by an 8.4m 7th to Expensive Ego last time out. This assignment, apart from the deep gate, will be more to his liking. MARTY MAJOR (9) has been thereabouts in each of his four starts since a spell, the opening three at Newcastle, the latest resulting in a 9.2m 4th behind the classy Line Up. The draw is a hurdle but the son of Art Major remains in the mix when it comes to the forming of exotic investments. Others to consider in that regard include MY ULTIMATE STAR (4), LETS KATCHMEIFUCAN (7) and PUMP THE BRAKES (10).
ALPINE STRIDE 1, Rusty Crackers 2, Rays Choice 3, Marty Major 4.
Suitably drawn in gate two, CASSIUS (2) has the chance to come out fighting from the outset in proving the one to beat. The consistent son of Lincoln Royal posted three wins and a couple of placings before his latest unplaced display. One of those placings, which was recorded four starts ago, was a game 4.8m 2nd behind the classy Titian Raider. On that run alone the 4yo warrants plenty of respect. Cassius is coming off a 7.8m 7th behind The Croupier a few weeks ago when left exposed outside of the leader. This time around Cam Hart, who is likely to continue his association with the gelding, will have the chance to secure a kinder run and that will ensure that Cassius will be in contention to deliver a ‘knock-out’ blow. The Tony Bertwistle-trained ARDENS ACE (1), courtesy of drawing the ‘prized pole’ position looms as the main threat as Darren Binskin will have the opportunity to present the Art Major 3yo with a kind trip. That was the case just over a week ago when Ardens Ace converted a soft run behind the leader into a solid win, accounting for Tuesday’s winner Bomb Suit. Rarely far away, Ardens Ace will be in the mix when the judge calls a halt. VIVA LAS VEGAS (3) is building towards a winning display and with gate three a plus, the Amanda Turnbull-trained son of Sweet Lou is again capable of playing a role in the outcome. Following a Bathurst win four starts ago, Viva Las Vegas finished runner-up in his next two Menangle assignments before hitting the line nicely when a 3.2m 5th to Major Obahma a week ago. Brother Mitch will take the reins and he will look to ‘cuddle’ the 4yo for as long as possible, prior to producing him when the final 300m comes into play. ROSSINI (4) is also a consistent type for James Rattray and with a suitable draw next to his name, the Mach Three 5yo is another winning prospects. ASHARK (7) has been performing at a consistent level on his home track of Newcastle, and it will come as no surprise if he is ‘circling’ the main players by the time the winning post looms up. With the benefit of three runs since a spell, LOCHIEL (9), despite drawing deep can’t be taken lightly, with the 4yo coming off a solid, close 2nd to Swaggie Shannon a week ago. The fact that Amanda Turnbull has elected to drive the Lincoln Royal 4yo over Viva Las Vegas should be noted. Former Queenslander WITH THE BAND (11) joins the in-form Jarrod Alchin team and although the draw adds to the degree of difficulty, his claims as an exotic player can’t be ignored.
CASSIUS 1, Ardens Ace 2, Viva Las Vegas 3, Rossini 4.
An intriguing race on so many levels due to most of the field mixing their form in recent months. Emerging from a downturn in form is ZAHVEN BANNER (4) which is coming off a solid all-the-way win over Birdy Mach and Admiral Bronski two weeks ago. This will be a harder test, compared to that encounter, but the Belinda McCarthy-trained 7yo had been competing in tougher G3 assignments during his ‘dry’ spell. PITCH PERFECT (6) is on the verge of a winning display and he is bound to be involved in the finish. Following a few sound displays on his local circuit, the Novocastrian had little luck from a five peg role in posting a solid 5.3m 4th to Pump The Brakes at Headquarters on Oct 16. The Roy Roots-trained son of Bettors Delight drew 10 on that occasion so the move to six will be appreciated. BRIGHT ENERGY (2) also contested the Pump The Brakes race and his 7.5m 5th was also a tidy effort in coming from a midfield role. The 6yo son of Western Terror will enjoy gate two so expect him to give a good account as he looks to record his first trip to the winner’s circle since mid-February. Now to the ‘x-factor’, which is better known as STAR GALLERIA (1). On his best form the Art Major 7yo would ‘toy’ with this field, and he may well do so, especially from gate one, But, the Belinda McCarthy-trained gelding left, his mentor, Luke and driver Jack Callaghan scratching their heads after his moderate effort a week ago. Solid efforts in races won by Majestic Cruiser and Boncel Benjamin, respectively, resulted in ‘red figures’ being next his name last week when he enjoyed a kind run behind the leader, only to be a 100/1 shot soon after straightening for home. The end result was a moderate 22m 9th behind Burnham Boy. Every horse is entitled to one bad run and, maybe, Star Galleria has had his so don’t dismiss him in what should be a suitable challenge. SUMMIT SPECIAL (3) peaks in condition following three sound efforts and from the good draw the son of Mr Feelgood stays under notice as a threat while SMOOTH SAILOIR (5) and ZIGGY ROCKS (7) stay in the mix as exotic players.
ZAHVEN BANNER 1, Pitch Perfect 2, Bright Energy 3, Star Galleria 4.
This event will be the first of five Group One title’s up for grabs, with the NSW Breeders Challenge for 3YO C&G’s set to provide plenty of fireworks from the moment the green light is activated. Courtesy of drawing the pole, the Harry Martin-trained TITIAN RAIDER (1) has drawn first blood over his main threat, another locally prepared star in CAPTAIN CRUSADER (5). Tough, determined and with a great ‘will to win’, Titian Raider is looking to complete a run of ‘seven magnificent’ wins, with a G1 trophy. The son of Sunshine Beach made his way into the Final with an aggressive semi-final win a week ago, with driver Glenn McElhinney dictating the terms in defeating Bar Room Banta and Braedos Lad. Both ‘man and beast’ were out to make a statement and they did in a big way, posting a time of 1:50.0 for the 1609m, with the final two sectionals posted in 26.8 and 26.9. Glenn will again be keen to hold the inside running, ensuring that his main threat in Captain Crusader is forced to ‘do it the hard way’ if success is to come his way. However, both Martin and McElhinney won’t be concerned if ‘plan B’ comes into play and they take a sit on the Rickie Alchin trained and driven son of Captaintreacherous. Following Titian Raider’s dominant display, Rickie was keen to ‘return serve’ and CAPTAIN CRUSADER certainly did that and more. Placed in a number of feature events through the course of his outstanding career, Captain Crusader has similar qualities to that of Titian Raider, and he will be out to make his presence felt from the outset. The opening 300m of this race will be enthralling, intriguing and breathtaking. And, it may also decide the eventual outcome, one way or another. Or will there be a ‘twist in the tale’? Captain Crusader completed his semi-final assignment in 1:50.5, an opening quarter of 25.8 set the standard. Drawing clear of the ‘pursuing pack’ with 250m to run, Captain Crusader comfortably accounted for Lyrical Genius and Pops Boy. The ‘power play’ between Titian Raider and Captain Crusader, regarding ‘who will blink first’, may play into the hands of Luke McCarthy and the Michael Stanley-trained BAR ROOM BANTA. There has been plenty of ‘banta’ since the draw between the two Menangle players, however, waiting in the wings is the smart Victorian, Bar Room Banta. From had previously won his only five starts at Menangle, which includes the 2YO NSW Breeders Challenge a year ago. The son of A Rocknroll Dance was brave in defeat last week in recording 2.4m 2nd to Titian Raider after working from a wide gate in keeping the winner company. The outside draw awaits the ‘southern state’ visitor, but he remains a serious threat as ‘cool hand Luke’ will be ‘poised to pounce’ at a moment’s notice. ROCKET BOY (6) tried hard in finishing a 10.7m 4th to Titian Raider, with the Jack Trainor trained and driven son of Art Major leading the list of potential exotic runners behind the ‘Big Three’. POPS BOY (4), KASHED UP (3), MAJOR BRACKEN (8) and LYRICAL GENIUS (10) also have claims in that department.
TITIAN RAIDER 1, Captain Crusader 2, Bar Room Banta 3, Rocket Boy 4.
The 2YO C&G’s now take centre stage with the starring role belonging to the Jarrod Alchin-prepared MY ULTIMATE BYRON (11), despite the presence of a tricky draw and a solid support cast. The son of Somebeachsomewhere has been dominant throughout the course of his juvenile career, and he will face the starter unbeaten following seven similar scenarios. Astutely prepared by Jarrod, My Ultimate Byron drew gate one for his semi-final outing and, as a result, the exciting youngster was simply too good for his rivals. Cam Hart has firmly established himself as a masterful performer in the sulky, and although the draw has added some intrigue, the prospect of allowing MY ULTIMATE RONNIE (8) to work his way across the face of the field and secure a role close to the action, will then assist My Ultimate Byron in being in the mix from the outset. MY ULTIMATE RONNIE has clearly displayed his potential and although his stablemate has been grabbing the headlines, and rightly so, the son of Bettors Delight is laying the foundations for a bright career. The colt was able to enjoy a ‘stalking role’ on the exciting SMALTESE (6) in his semi-final win, with the son of Bettors Delight racing clear of the short-priced favourite over the final 100m. A similar kind run in transit will enhance the claims of My Ultimate Ronnie on ‘springing an upset’. SMALTESE is a competitor and so is his trainer-driver Brian Portelli. The pair are there to race and the faster they go, the better. You will have to pass the pair if you want the title and the trophy. Smaltese, less the scratching, will launch his claim from gate five, a suitable starting position as the son of Sweet Lou has the speed to ‘hit the ground running’ and continue to do so. Stopping to admire the view won’t be part of Brian’s plans. It will make for an exciting contest. The speed and determination of Smaltese, the style and power of My Ultimate Byron and the subtle brilliance of My Ultimate Ronnie. An intriguing mixture of young talent. Exotic players should look to the consistent TIMS A TROOPER (5) when forming investments while SAINT VERAN (2), DUGGEE SLOY (3), SKYFALL BENCHMARK (4) and SAINT CRUSADER (7) all have plenty of talent but the best they could hope for is a minor role in the multiples.
MY ULTIMATE BYRON 1, My Ultimate Ronnie 2, Smaltese 3, Tims A Trooper 4.
The older horses will face the starter of the G1 Len Smith Mile and the one to beat is the Miracle Mile runner-up EXPENSIVE EGO (4), with the Belinda McCarthy-trained son of Rock N Roll Heaven entitled to having an ‘ego’ following a brilliant career to date. Boasting 17 wins and four placings from a mere 24 appearances, Expensive Ego enjoyed a successful Queensland campaign, which culminated in an 11.5 7th to Amazing Dream in the G1 Blacks A Fake at AP on July 24. Although beaten, the entire was far from disgraced as little went his way from a back row draw. Returning home, and having a few months off, it was business as usual for Expensive Ego when he resumed from a spell in the G3 Kevin Robinson Memorial a couple of weeks ago. Presented with the one-one by Luke McCarthy, Expensive Ego managed to account for Alta Orlando and Boncel Benjamin, and although the margin was only 2m, the star 4yo had something in hand. Fitter and with a suitable draw next to his name, Expensive Ego will be looking to stamp his authority on this field from the outset. That being the case, win number 18 will be his for the taking. IGNATIUS (3) is coming off a solid, but costly, neck 2nd to Pump The Brakes two weeks ago when the 6yo was surprisingly run down. Rarely far away, the son of Roll With Joe will have the opportunity to be in the mix from the outset and, as per usual, the James Rattray trained and driven gelding won’t go down without a fight. SPIRIT OF ST LOUIS (5) has been runner-up in two of his three starts since a creditable Qld campaign, with a pleasing 8.2m 6th to Expensive Ego nestled between those efforts. The 4yo son of Sweet Lou has hit the line well in each of his past two starts, the latter when he drew wide in coming from a rearward role in posting a solid 1.2m 2nd to Burnham Boy last week. Spirit Of St Louis is ready to greet the judge, but he may have to wait for another tome, although, if there is to be a surprise ending to this race, this fellow is capable of providing such a result. MAJESTIC CRUISER (11) also warrants plenty of respect despite the presence of a wide gate. After winning four-on-end, and five of his past six, the 6yo son of Art Major contested the Victoria Cup at Bendigo on Oct 9 and was far from being disgraced in recording a 12.5m 7th to Max Delight. Cam Hart is likely to drive Majestic Cruiser ‘cold’ before releasing the grip when heads are turned for home. LINE UP (7) had been off the scene since his success in the NSW Derby of 2020, when he led throughout in scoring here in fine style over Fairy Tinkabell and Master Catch. Both have raced strongly since, the latter going two better at his next start. Fitter, but up in grade, Line Up will be an interesting addition to races of this nature and his trainer-driver Darren Binskin is excited about the future when it comes to the son of Bettors Delight. ALTA ORLANDO (9) is racing in great heart and is entitled to be included in exotic investments, along with THE BLACK PRINCE (8).
EXPENSIVE EGO 1, Ignatius 2, Spirit Of St louis 3, Majestic Cruiser 4.
The ‘girls’ takeover for the first of two G1 titles with the 3YO Fillies stepping out for a shot at glory. Despite the presence of a quality line-up, it will take a mighty performance to prevent the connections of ANNONTIA (3) from being present when the trophy is handed over. The brilliant daughter of Bettors Delight will be looking for ‘bitter sweet revenge’ after finishing second to Soho Almasi a year ago. From 18 assignments Anntonia hasn’t finished out of the money, with 11 wins and seven placings appearing on her outstanding record. Following a sub-standard effort when resuming at Penrith six weeks ago when she posted a ‘shock’ 3.2m 3rd behind Chrissy Chic, her astute mentor David Thorn went to work on finding out why, and, discovered it was more a matter of her diet, then a loss of form. The filly returned to the winner’s circle at Menangle a month later before leading throughout in taking out her semi-final in fine fashion over Machs Legacy and Ballerini. It appeared normal programming had been restored. Peaking in condition and drawing perfectly in three, Anntonia and her regular driver Jack Trainor, who has been missing from the sulky for each of her past two wins due to suspension, will find the pegs, the lead and the winning post, en route to receiving all the accolades. CHRISSY CHIC (7) is racing in peak form and while Anntonia looks to be a ‘good thing’, the daughter of Art Major also looks an equally ‘good thing’ when it comes to being next in line for the title. The Major in Art filly has won her past three, the latest overcoming a wide draw in defeating Winona Writer and Bettor Be Kept in her semi-final encounter a week ago. No doubt Cam Hart will be keen to keep Anntonia well within his sights from the outset and gate five, which is less the two reserves, will enable him to do that. Honest filly BETTOR BE KEPT (2) will have the opportunity to snatch a role close to the action from her ideal draw and she is a ‘must’ for exotic players. MACHS LEGACY (8) is another honest filly with a number of recent game displays enhancing her reputation so don’t leave her out of the multiples. HEAVENLY HOLLLY (4), MISS LEMON (9) and the Bernie Hewitt-trained pair, BALLERINI (10) and WINONA WRITER (12) also have claims when it comes to sneaking a role in the exotics.
ANNTONIA 1, Chrissy Chic 2, Bettor Be Kept 3, Machs Legacy 4.
To the final G1 trophy up for grabs and the 2YO Fillies NSW Breeders Challenge title and the draw has given the Jarrod Alchin-trained MADRID (2) first ‘dibs’ at a short of G1 glory. After opening her career with a pleasing 10.6m 3rd to My Ultimate Lizzy at Headquarters on July 13, the daughter of former champion Bling It On, hasn’t been beaten, winning her next four in raising her profile. The youngster made her way through to the Final with a determined win at Penrith, overcoming a back row draw in greeting the judge, prior to dictating the terms, when perfectly rated by Cam Hart, en route to defeating a brave Silk Cloud and an unlucky Miss Ex. With the first reserve drawing the pole, Madrid will set behind gate one when the starter calls the field into position and Cam will have his sights set again dictating the terms. From that point onwards the determination of Madrid and the ‘sulky skills’ of Hart, will lay the foundations for another winning performance and the applause of the crowd. CAPTAINS QUEEN (6) already has a G1 title to her credit, the APG 2YO Fillies championship, while also finishing runner-up to her stablemate Just Hope in the G1 Gold Tiara at Bathurst. Since resuming from a spell the daughter of Captaintreacherous hasn’t been beaten, winning two on the country arena, the latter a heat of this series at Young, prior to leading and proving too good for Martini Stride and Not To Be Denied. Brad Hewitt has been in the sulky, replacing Amanda Turnbull behind the Russell Jack-trained star filly, in each of her three runs since a break and the Goulburn-based reinsman will be keen to make a statement from the outset. The ‘flexing of muscles’ during the opening stages of the contest, courtesy of Madrid and Captains Queen, will assist the winning claims of MISS EX (10), with the David Thorn-conditioned filly definitely the ‘x-factor’ in the race. While the draw is tricky, gate eight with the reserves remaining on the bench, driver Jim Douglass has both ‘plan A and plan B’ ready to activate, depending on how the opening stages play out. Miss Ex enjoyed a kind run behind Madrid in finishing a solid 4m 3rd to that particular filly in a semi-final last week. At no stage did Miss Ex leave the ‘pocket’, due to a brilliant front-running drive by Cam Hart. The prospect of a solid tempo will assist in Miss Ex exploding on the scene over the final 200m. MARTINI STRIDE (3) strips fitter and with an ideal draw assisting her, claims as an exotic runner must be respected. SILK CLOUD (11) has a tough draw to overcome but the filly was brave in defeat when 2nd to Madrid last week, and she must be included in all exotic transactions. LETS PARTY BABY (5), PAS DE CHEVAL (7) and NOT TO BE DENIED (8) are capable of adding some much needed value into multiple returns.
MADRID 1, Captains Queen 2, Miss Ex 3, Martini Stride 4.
With the benefit of one run back from a spell, and an improved draw, the Belinda McCarthy-conditioned KINGMAKER (6) is poised to show a return to winning form. The former Kiwi was an immediate success for his new mentor when peeled off five-consecutive wins, commencing in mid-February and finishing in early May with a solid all-the-way win over The General and Carlo Gambino. The 5yo resumed at Headquarters two weeks ago from the outside gate, but still managed to cross the face of the field in finding the pegs and the lead role. Kept busy through the third quarter, then a 26.5 final 400m, Kingmaker was left vulnerable and that was the case as Rocknlachlan managed to convert a kind run and a pegs trip home, into a last stride win over the game son of Mach Three. Less the reserve and Kingmaker will slot into gate five and with his level of fitness moving up a notch, going one better this time around is a distinct possibility. CLOUD NINE (5) is capable of matching Kingmaker through the opening 400m and if Cam Hart elects to hold it will make things interesting for the McCarthy runner. Cloud Nine has been a model of consistency over the past few months, with his latest appearance resulting in a close 2nd to Major Obahma a week ago. The son of Bettors Delight has led in the bulk of his outings, his latest encounter being the exception. Also representing the Belinda McCarthy stable is MUSCLE FACTORY (11), which has had little luck in his past three for one reason or another. Resuming with a win, Muscle Factory then worked when a gritty 3.3m 3rd to Rocky Creed before drawing the outside gate and having little luck from a deep peg role in posting a 4.4m 4th to The Croupier. The Roll With Joe 5yo then played a role in his downfall last week by playing up in the score-up, prior to settling into the right frame of mind in securing the role behind the leader. Securing a late inside run, after being baulked on a couple of occasions, Muscle Factory finished a 9.9m 7th to Major Obahma, but he should have been more pro-active in the finish. As a result of his manners last week, Muscle Factory will start from the outside gate but he can’t be taken lightly. B K SWY (10) also played up in the score-up, but lost all chance in tailing the field, en route to finishing a distant last to The Stunning Nun. Prior to that display of poor manners, the talented mare had posted back-to-back impressive wins and of she has her mind on the job, then expect to see the daughter of Big Jim being actively involved in the finish. When forming multiple investments, a fitter NOTA REPLICA (7) must be included as the 6yo is building towards a win following three runs back from a spell, the latest an eye-catching 3rd to Major Obahma and Cloud Nine last week. MAJOR OBAHMA (9) has drawn wide but is racing with plenty of confidence while FAR OUT BRO (4) will be assisted by the return to a better draw.
KINGMAKER 1, Cloud Nine 2, Muscle Factory 3, B K Swy 4.
The meeting will end with an exciting clash between an established star and a rising star, and both are prepared locally. The Rickie Alchin trained and driven TOUGH MONARCH (4), the winner of $500,000 plus in prizemoney, resulting from his 30 wins and 16 placings from 88 encounters, will be confronted by the KerryAnn Morris-prepared, up and coming cult figure in FUNKY MONKEY (11), which has faced the starter on a mere 19 occasions for nine wins and four placings, the bulk of those wins, six in fact, since joining Lucky Lodge from NZ. It is hard to go past Tough Monarch as the champion trotter has already proven himself in elite company and, the draw is also in his favour. After overcoming a 30m hcp in defeating Monaro Mia and Aleppo Murphy over the testing trip of 3009m, the same trip the Inter Dominion will be staged over on December 11, Tough Monarch headed back to Melton for a 2240m assignment against a quality line up. After drawing the inside of the second row, the 9yo son of Monarchy worked away from the pegs, then three wide in occupying the role outside of the leader. However, Tough Monarch was unable to maintain the effort in recording a disappointing 42m 5th to Is That A Bid. Back home, where he has won 21 times, Tough Monarch will be a dominant force from the outset after drawing suitably in four. FUNKY MONKEY has the outside gate to overcome, plus Tough Monarch. Driver Robert Morris will no doubt like to be as close to Tough Monarch as possible and is likely to make an early move to achieve such a role. The mare managed to overcome 20m hcp in scoring last week, with the 4yo daughter of Monkey Bones holding on bravely in defeating Gimondi and Aleppo Murphy. This will be an interesting test of her talent as Tough Monarch, as his name would suggest, is always a tough opponent. This event has a long tail, and I’m not referring to one of the runners, but the cricketing term. GIMONDI (1) has been showing steady improvement since a spell and from the pole the Blake Fitzpatrick-conditioned 4yo will have the chance to settle in a forward position, which will then enhance his claims of being in a top four role. ONE MAJIC KENNY (8), which is also prepared by Blake, who will take the reins, is coming of his first win on this side of the Tasman a couple of weeks ago. The vastly improved effort resulted in a gritty all-the-way win over Indefensible and In The Valley. The task this time around will be a lot harder, but his confidence would have received a big boost. Expect a better showing from the talented TIMOTHY RED (5), with the return to a mobile start being more to his liking. Resuming from a long spell with a couple of sound wins, the Muscle Hill 4yo didn’t handle the stand in finishing distant last to Funky Monkey last week. Include Timothy Red in exotic combinations, along with his stablemate SOBOMBA (6).
TOUGH MONARCH 1, Funky Monkey 2, Gimondi 3, One Majic Kenny 4.