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    Mike Ko’cass with all the winners at Tabcorp Park Menangle Saturday night Mike Ko’cass with all the winners at Tabcorp Park Menangle Saturday night


    RACE ONE: Although he hasn’t raced for a month, SPIRIT OF ANZAC (5) appeals as the one to beat after the Jack Trainor-trained son... Mike Ko’cass with all the winners at Tabcorp Park Menangle Saturday night


    Although he hasn’t raced for a month, SPIRIT OF ANZAC (5) appeals as the one to beat after the Jack Trainor-trained son of Bettors Delight drew suitably in gate five. The former Kiwi is undefeated since crossing the ‘ditch’ with a hat-trick of wins appearing next to his name. The 6yo commenced his association with Trainor after a creditable career back home, with the pair accounting for Just Dessy and Major Obahma, courtesy of stalking role behind the leader, prior to dictating the terms in each of his next two wins, the latter defeating Surfers Delight and Ardens Ace. While he has been off the scene, those which have finished behind him, have continued to race consistently and that adds further merit to his performances. Spirit Of Anzac will be confronted by a step-up in grade, but he will benefit greatly by his first campaign and he certainly appears up to the challenge. The lifting of restrictions, as far as, stables outside of the Metropolitan training centre, has added a great deal of depth and interest to the program. James Rattray will be back in action with his talented 5yo ROSSINI (9), which has been racing in fine fashion at Wagga in recent months. The son of Mach Three wrapped-up the third leg of a hat-trick of wins when he overcame a back row draw, then a three deep run in finding the lead, prior to comfortably defeating Are Doubleyou and Dancing Chick a month ago. Despite coming up with a wide gate, Rossini is bound to make his presence felt. CASSIUS (10) will come out fighting from the outside gate, but the son of Lincoln Royal is bound to attract plenty of attention following an unlucky 3.4m 3rd to Pacman Hammer, one of his main rivals again, back on September 21 when he was unable to secure a suitable run in the straight after being behind the leader and eventual winner. The 4yo has been solid in three runs since joining Jason Grimson and the Cam Hart factor is an added bonus. PACMAN HAMMER (4) has won his past two start at Headquarters, courtesy of leading throughout, and the in-form Jack Callaghan will again be keen to set the ‘pace of the race’ in what will be a slightly harder test for the Peter Russo-trained son of Courage Under Fire. That particular quarter should dominant the placings with STARZZZINTHEMAKIN (7), SCHOUTEN ISLAND (3) and JEDI MIND (6) possible value exotic players.

    SPIRIT OF ANZAC 1, Rossini 2, Cassius 3, Pacman Hanover 4.


    Fresh from a break and a visit to the Sunshine State, the Jason Grimson-conditioned THE STUNNING NUN (10) should take a power of beating. Following a successful period of racing at this venue during the middle of the year, which resulted in six wins and a second from seven starts, The Stunning Nun headed north to tackle the G1 Garrards Gold Girl at AP on July 17. Drawing the inside of the 2nd line, The Stunning Nun was ‘snookered’ three pegs for most of the trip, prior to posting a 7.8m 5th to Jeradas Delight. Contesting a recent trial at Headquarters, the 5yo daughter of Bettors Delight produced a strong effort in finishing a 7.6m 2nd behind the dual Miracle Mile winner, King Of Swing, in a sizzling 1:49.9. Despite giving away race fitness to her rivals, plus drawing wide, The Stunning Nun must be given plenty of respect. SEND IT (11) will face the starter from the outside gate, but the Brad Hewitt trained and driven son of Western Terror is bound to make his presence felt. After ending his ‘mixed’ Queensland campaign on a winning note, Send It spent some time on the sidelines before returning with a solid finishing 12.8m 3rd behind Star Major and Ignatius at Wagga on Sept 10, with the James Rattray-prepared duo both winning since. Send It then came from well back in the pack in posting an eye-catching 8.4m 2nd to Ignatius, this time at Goulburn, with that outing lifting his level of fitness. MY ULTIMATE STAR (9) is coming off an impressive display in defeating Our Madiba and Bracken Knight a week ago when he powered home from a rearward role in overcoming a wide gate. The in-form Jarrod Alchin-trained 4yo has again drawn wide and in a slightly tougher test, but he is racing with plenty of confidence. MIGHTY LOOEE (2) will head around to the start as one of the popular picks, courtesy of drawing the pole if the reserve isn’t required. Regardless, the Belinda McCarthy-trained son of Sweet Lou has drawn ideally and his form has been hard to fault since an unplaced effort when on debut for the stable four starts ago. The 4yo will be in, or near the lead, from the outset and that will be a big plus in what looks a tough and competitive race. RANGER BOMB (4) wasted no time in exploding to the lead, then running his rivals off the legs over the 2300m, in proving too fast and too good for My Ultimate Star and Ilikemebettor a couple of weeks ago. The Sportwriter 4yo has drawn nicely and he is capable of giving plenty of cheek once again. JIMMY LOCKE (5) and ZIGGY ROCKS (6) should be kept safe in multiple discussions.

    THE STUNNING NUN 1, Send It 2, My Ultimate Star 3, Mighty Looee 4.


    Brad Hewitt appears to have another talented type on his books in former Kiwi mare OUR COWGIRLS N LACE (8). The sparingly-raced daughter of Bettors Delight arrived at his Goulburn stables with a win and a minor placing next to her name following seven trips to the races. After ending her career on the other side of the Tasman on a winning note back on August 5, the mare stepped out for a 2270m assignment at Wagga on Sept 24 and justified her odds-on quote with a stylish display. Hewitt allowed the 4yo to settle into a comfortable role, three back in the running line, after drawing the back row. When asked for her effort approaching the final bend, Our Cowgirls N Lace quickly rounded up her rivals before breaking clear of Roscommon Rose and Silent Rapture, en route to a comfortable and widening 12.5m victory. Our Girls N Lace will strip fitter for that outing and while a tougher task awaits, and from a slightly tricky starting role, the mare will be suited by this circuit. Former Victorian-based filly RACING PAULA (3) debuted for the Steph Lippiatt stable with a stylish win here a couple of weeks ago and courtesy of drawing ideally, the daughter of Union Guy is again capable of making a statement. The filly has only faced the starter on four occasions, with wins either side of a solid 2nd to the talented Bide Our Time at Kilmore. This will be an interesting assignment for Racing Paula, but a kind trip, courtesy of David Morris, should result in a competitive showing. Ideally drawn in two, SMOOTH DEBATE (2) is poised to have a big say and, maybe, the final say in matters. The former Kiwi debuted for the Jason Grimson team with a 3.4m 5th to Miss Mach in early September, when a shade disappointing, prior to justifying his odds-on quote when an easy all-the-way winner over Bettor Romance and Lovin Miss Dixie, the latter taking out the Pink Diamond here last week. Cam Hart will be looking to ‘strut his stuff’ from the front in what will be a harder challenge for the Well Said mare. After an extended period away from harness racing, Tony Bertwistle returns to the sport as a trainer after enjoying plenty of success over the past six months or more as an owner. Darren Binskin did a fine job in preparing a handful of runners for Bertwistle following a spending spree in securing some handy types from NZ. One of those runners is the consistent SHANLOU (4) which is coming off a slid 5.3m 4th to Titian Raider a week ago. The Sweet Lou filly has drawn handily and another bold showing is a distinct possibility. JO ROCKS (6) joins the growing list of talent under the care of Jason Grimson, following a respectable career in Victorian. The 3yo daughter of Pet Rock ended her previous term of racing with a successful trip to Melton on May 29, prior to resuming with a 5.6m 3rd behind Bide Our Time and One Big Shew at Shepparton on Sept 17. The filly should be included in exotic discussions, along with the consistent DIVINE DIVA (10.

    OUR COWGIRLS N LACE 1, Racing Paula 2, Smooth Debate 3, Shanlou 4.


    Despite the presence of a wide gate, last-start winner THE CROUPIER (9) is again favoured to deal punters a winning return. After enjoying a kind run behind the speedy Don Boston, Luke McCarthy was able to wait until the home turn before leaving the pegs and taking charge of the contest with the short-priced favourite. The end result was an emphatic win over a game Katchar Shoobee while the veteran Don Boston was able to hold down third spot. The pace will again be set by Don Boston, and although The Croupier has a tougher gate to overcome, the 6yo is capable of occupying a role back in the pack before making his presence known when the field enter the home straight. The main threat to the Belinda McCarthy-trained son of Roll With Joe is MIGHTY FLYING ART (10), which will carry the number 10 saddlecloth. The Jack Trainor trained and driven son of Art Major attempted to lead throughout when a fading 9m 6th to Uroc Skinny Jeans back in mid-September. Rarely far from the action, the 5yo is bound to be in the mix when the judge calls a halt. WATTLEBANK LASS (2) will appreciate her good draw as it will allow Amanda Turnbull the opportunity to secure a comfortable peg role, which is also a big plus when Don Boston is engaged. The mare has been racing consistently at Bathurst in recent times, with a last-start 2.2m 2nd behind stablemate Viva Las Vegas, a pleasing effort after drawing wide and racing back in the pack. KATCHAR SHOOBEE (5) stays in the mix as an exotic player and following his gritty third last week, noted speedster DON BOSTON (3) could grip on for another cheeky effort as he faces the starter for start 261.

    THE CROUPIER 1, Mighty Flying Art 2, Wattlebank Las 3, Katchar Shoobee 4.


    Fourteen runners will face the starter for the G2 Tony and Jill McGrath Trotters Cup, with the quality field confronted by the testing challenge of completing 3009m of prime Menangle real-estate, under stand-start conditions. Toughness will be required, especially when confronted by a 30m hcp, but TOUGH MONARCH (16) should relish the chance to make an early statement for the Inter Dominion crown later in the year. After taking out the Queensland Trotters Cup back on July 24, the 9yo son of Monarchy has been costly in two of his three starts since returning home, with a solid win sandwiched in between those efforts. Prepared by Rickie Alchin, who will also occupy the driver’s seat, Tough Monarch had every chance last time out when he led in posting a 7.3m 2nd to Drop The Hammer, with a kind stalking role behind the odds-on elect enabling the Darren Hancock ‘stable star’ to nail another win. The switch from the mobile start to the tapes will suit Tough Monarch while the journey won’t be a concern. While Tough Monarch is a seasoned and classy veteran, his main rival in FUNKY MONKEY (12) will be looking to enhance her growing reputation. The mare will be giving away a number of years and plenty of experience to Tough Monarch, but the KerryAnn Morris-trained daughter of Monkey Bones is heading in the right direction. After winning six-straight for Lucky Lodge since arriving in Australia, the former Kiwi suffered her first defeat a couple of weeks ago, but wasn’t disgraced in finishing 2nd to the exciting, former Northern Hemisphere trotter, Aldebaran Revani. Boasting eight wins from just 16 starts, Funky Monkey strips fitter for this ‘testing’ assignment but she has won over 2700m at Gore so the trip shouldn’t trouble the mare. As always, DROP THE HAMMER (15) can’t be taken lightly, although the 74-start veteran has only contested five races under these conditions, resulting in two wins and a second. After upsetting Tough Monarch three starts ago, Drop The Hammer has been placed in his subsequent two starts, the latter when a 15.9m 3rd to Aldebaran Revani and Funky Monkey. The 20m will present the 6yo son of Bettors Delight with an interesting challenge, but as the winner of 26 races here, which is his career total, the gelding will be in for the fight. Darren will also be represented by his consistent mare MONARO MIA (14). Boasting a fine stand record, which features seven wins and five placings from 24 starts, the Imperial Count 6yo is always a ‘must’ when it comes to forming exotic investments. As you would expect, Blake Fitzpatrick has a few going around, including the talented 4yo GIMONDI (3), which has been off the scene since early May. Runner-up in his past six starts, the son of Peak DNK has been placed in three of his five tape starts, the latest when beaten 6.2m by Empire Bay in the Bulli Trotters Cup over 2300m at this venue, as an odds-on elect. Gimondi has had two trials, the latter a being solid win, but there must be a concern being first-up over such a testing journey. Joe and Mary Rando will send five runners around to the start, with SOBOMBA (8), EMPIRE BAY (11) and REVY JAY (13) worthy of exotic attention.

    TOUGH MONARCH 1, Funky Monkey 2, Drop The Hammer 3, Monaro Mia 4.


    The ‘King’ is back and following two unlucky appearances in Queensland, the dual Miracle Mile winner is ready to ‘swing’ back into action with a winning display. The Belinda McCarthy-trained ‘super star’ opened his northern campaign with a couple of effortless wins, but KING OF SWING (11) was on the wrong side of ‘lady luck’ in both the Sunshine Sprint and the G1 Blacks A Fake. A 2nd row draw, coupled with a three wide trip home and being baulked on a couple of occasions in making his run, resulted in a gallant photo 2nd to Copy That. Gate one welcomed the champ when he stepped out for his next challenge over 2680m, however, early trouble wiped out that advantage, resulting in another brave effort in defeat, a 1.8m 3rd to the amazing mare, Amazing Dream, with Rockin Marty splitting the pair. Following a deserving holiday, King Of Swing headed to the trials a couple of weeks ago, with the multi-millionaire looking a ‘million dollars’. Luke McCarthy was in a hurry to get the trial ‘done and dusted’ in allowing the 6yo son of Rocknroll Hanover to polish the 1609m off in a time of 1:49.9, under a tight hold. This will be a case of standing King Of Swing out in the multiples in the hope of securing some ‘bang for the buck’. His stablemate MAFUTA VAUTIN (6) is more than capable of heading back home as the runner-up to his illustrious mate. The 10yo scored in fine fashion here two starts ago, then worked home stoutly, without threatening, when a creditable 9.4m 4th to Boncel Benjamin. Handily drawn, Mafuta Vautin will be looking to ‘eye-off’ a role in the first half of the field, which will then allow him to follow the champ home. ALPINE STRIDE (7) opened his latest term of racing with a solid 2.6m 3rd to Uroc Skinny Jeans and Major Bob just over three weeks ago. That was his first run since rejoining the Binskin stables, following a period under the care of Anthony Butt and Sonya Smith in Victoria. The 7yo is bound to make a bold play for an exotic role so respect his claims. ROCKIN MARTY (10) is an honest performer and despite drawing wide, he remains the exotic mix. RAYS CHOICE (5), ESCALERA (3) and BRIGHT ENERGY (2) also fit into that category.

    KING OF SWING 1, Mafuta Vautin 2, Alpine Stride 3, Rockin Marty 4.


    The outside gate won’t be enough to prevent CLOUD NINE (8) from dictating the terms in again proving to be the one to beat. After posting a hat-trick of winning performances for new mentor Jason Grimson, the 4yo has since been runner-up in his next two encounters, the first when beaten Ardens Ace while the latter was a week ago when he was collared by Muscle Factory. With only seven runners drawn to his inside, Cloud Nine has the gate speed to cross the face of the field, and that will allow Jack Trainor to dictate from start to finish. OLD LUKE (3) is an honest type from the stables of Amanda Turnbull. Nicely drawn the 8yo heads back to Headquarters after restrictions kept him away from the Metropolitan track. As a result, Old Luke was responsible for a number of solid efforts back home, with his latest effort resulting in a closing 3.2m 3rd behind Viva Las Vegas and Wattlebank Lass. Old Luke should find a role close to the action, no doubt on the pegs, and if there is a threat to Cloud Nine, the son of Bettors Delight is capable of proving such opposition. Fitter for two runs back from a spell, RED REACTOR (6) should be ready to play a far more active role in the finish. The 6yo is coming off a creditable 9.9m 6th to Muscle Factory a week ago, and with a suitable assignment on the table, the David Thorn-trained son of Auckland Reactor is worth more than a passing thought. Gate one is a big plus for MAJOR OBAHMA (1) as he looks to bounce back from an 11.5m last to Soho Tsunami a couple of weeks ago, following a tough run outside of the leader. Prior to that the 5yo had been racing in peak form and he is bound to attract plenty of interest. BITE THE BULLET (7) and ART TUTOR (4) have claims in multiples.

    CLOUD NINE 1, Old Luke 2, Red Reactor 3, Major Obahma 4.


    The Belinda McCarthy-conditioned MUSCLE FACTORY (8) will head around to the 1609m start as the popular pick, however, the Jason Grimson-trained TERRYRAMA (6) is capable of springing a minor upset. The pair clashed a week ago when Muscle Factory accounted for Cloud Nine, with Terryrama finishing a closing 1.5m third. That was his first run since joining Grimson and there is no doubt further improvement can be expected. Last week Terryrama drew outside of Muscle Factory, with the latter able to enjoy a kind run behind the leader, prior to Luke timing his run to perfection. Terryrama had the one-one in making his run out three deep as the field entered the home straight. There was a lot to like about the way the son of Western Terror hit the line and he will be better for the experience, as it was his first Menangle challenge. MUSCLE FACTORY (8) was having his first run since a disappointing 32.4m 9th to Eye Can run in a G1 challenge on May 22. The classy 5yo will strip fitter for that run a week ago, and although the son of Roll With Joe has drawn deep, expect to see him flexing his muscles from the outset in making a bold statement of intent. ROCKY CREED (7) posted a useful 17m 4th to The Croupier last week and claims as an exotic contender should be respected while QUEENOFDANCE (5), ROCKIN WITH ELVIS (1) and VIVA LAS VEGAS (2), which was Elvis Presley’s highest grossing movie of his 31 starts as an actor, stay under notice as multiple players.

    TERRYRAMA 1, Muscle Factory 2, Rocky Creed 3, Queenofdance 4.

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