July 13, 2023 National Trotguide
Exeter trainer-driver James Rattray has been in superb form of late, courtesy of a productive team. Include the birth of his daughter Estelle a few months ago, life doesn’t get any better. Fresh from his success in the G1, The Great Square at Albion Park a week ago with London To A Brick, James has a solid booking on Saturday night, commencing with STAR MAJOR (3). Just behind the place-getters in races won by Cantfindabettorman and Romanee, respectively, Star Major has since collected a hat-trick of placings. Following a third to Romanee, then a solid 2m 3rd behind Romanee, the 7yo son of Art Major hit the line strongly when a 2.8m 2nd behind Cash N Flow and Cassius Deck, the latter scoring at Bathurst at his next appearance. Surprisingly, Star Major hasn’t greeted the judge since scoring at Headquarters back in Sept/2021 when John McCarthy was in the sulky. Gate three is a plus in an open and tough race, so expect Star Major to be competitive once again. TUPPENCE (1) has drawn ideally, ensuring that the Darren Binskin trained and driven son of Lincoln Royal will be afforded a kind run. Runner-up to Taipo, which is ‘flying’ at the moment for Brad Hewitt, Tuppence has been unplaced, but not disgraced, in three subsequent outings, beaten around 6.5m in the process. Last week the 5yo posted a 6.6m 8th to Teagan Banner, but had little luck in the run home from his three peg role. Better luck and Tuppence would have been in the finish. MAJOR JELLIS (4) has been mixing his form, as he moves up and down various grades, but the Art Major 6yo, like Tuppence, didn’t have a clear run at a vital stage when a 4m 3rd to Teagan Banner. Hannah Rixon will again take the reins for Belinda McCarthy and from his handy draw, Major Jellis remains in contention. Safely held behind South Coast Arden and Spirit Of St Louis, respectively, SAHARA SIROCCO (7) was responsible for a tidy effort last week in recording a 9m 6th to South Coast Arden. This will be a far more welcoming challenge for the son of Courage Under Fire so don’t write him off, especially when it comes to the multiples. SOHO SINATRA (2), which has a change of stables since his 9m 9th to Teagan Banner a week ago, has drawn well and has exotic prospects, along with DOUBLE ENCOUNTER (6).
STAR MAJOR 1, Tuppence 2, Major Jellis 3, Sahara Sirocco 4.
The Belinda McCarthy-conditioned JUST AS WELL (4) appears suitably placed in this company and from her good draw, the speedy daughter of Well Said should have a big say in the finish. Following a win here five runs ago, when she led out and took a sit, the 5yo was safely held in races won by My Ultimate Chevron and Jalaneel, respectively, before a gritty 1.6m 3rd behind Smaltese and Wavethebill, prior to again being prominent when a solid 4m 5th to Polly Put Kettleon. Chris Geary will have Just As Well prominently placed from the outset and that should lay the foundations for a winning performance. Peaking in condition following two quality efforts since a spell, the Elizabeth Heath-trained WAVETHEBILL (7) must be rated highly. Resuming from a wide gate, but still able to find the lead, the 5yo battled on stoutly in posting a 3.6m 3rd behind Terryrama and Im In Trouble. Again dictating the terms at his next assignment, Wavethebill led until the shadows of the post when a head 2nd to Smaltese. Josh Gallagher, who is in fine form, will again search for the top and, this time around Wavethebill will go close to taking the cash. HE BETTOR STEP ASIDE (5) is rarely far away so expect him to again be in the mix. The 8yo is coming off a solid head 2nd to Red Reactor and this event is of a similar nature. LOCHIEL (3) is another with consistent form of late, with the 6yo son of Lincoln Royal placed in three of his past four starts, the latest resulting in a closing 2m 3rd to Red Reactor. Lochiel doesn’t win out of turn, but in this type of contest, he warrants more than a passing thought. Exotic players should also include IM IN TROUBLE (1), RED REACTOR (6) and MAJOR JAROD (8).
JUST AS WELL 1, Wavethebill 2, He Bettor Step Aside 3, Lochiel 4.
It is hard to go past GORDONS BAY (4) as the son of Captaintreacherous looks to extend his winning sequence to five. Another important member of the James Rattray team, Gordons Bay has recently on both the Regional Championship and State Final at Headquarters, prior to accounting for Port Au Prince and Delightful Angel at his most recent assignment a few weeks ago. With the prospect of either being in the lead or stalking the pace, Gordons Bay will take a power of beating. The small field of just eight runners will assist TEAGAN BANNER (8) and her wide gate. The Jarrod Alchin-conditioned 8yo came with a well-timed sprint in defeating Art Tutor and Major Jellis last week, with the gelding coming from the rear of the field. Will Rixon, who produced the ‘drive of the night’ in guiding Firestorm Red to victory last week, will take over from Brad Hewitt, who will be competing in Queensland. Teagan Banner is a model of consistency and making it back-to-back wins is certainly well within his capabilities. HEAVEN ON HIGH (2) had no luck last time out in ‘facing the breeze’ which resulted in a creditable 9m 8th to Port Au Prince a couple of weeks ago. Prior to that effort it was hard to fault the form of the David Thorn-conditioned 5yo, so couple that with an ideal draw, and the son of Rock N Roll Heaven is bound to play an active role in the finish. DOUBLE ACT (3) has been freshened since accounting for King Tiger and Robbie Rocket back in late May. Although the Harry Martin-trained 5yo will be confronted by a harder task, he has competed consistently in similar assignments and he does go well fresh. MY ULTIMATE CHEVRON (6) drew wide and competed from a rearward role last week in the race won by Teagan banner. The end result was a pleasing 4.5m fifth and, as per usual, the son of Sweet Lou is bound to competitive. FIRESTORM RED (7) is coming off a dashing win, courtesy of smart thinking by Will Rixon, so include the 7yo in the multiple mix. SURFERS DELIGHT (5) is back in grade and that will assist his exotic prospects.
GORDONS BAY 1, Teagan Banner 2, Heaven On High 3, Double Act 4.
It is back to James Rattray and TINDER SURPRISE (4), with the pair more than capable of getting the ‘chocolates’ in what is another race of many chances. Since scoring at Penrith back in late April, the 6yo has contested nine races for two placings and a host of handy efforts in finishing fourth or fifth. Such was the case here last week when the son of Betterthancheddar secured a kind run behind the leader, prior to Taylah Osmond taking a peg run, which resulted in a 4.4m 5th to Red Reactor. Handily drawn, Tinder Surprise is worthy of another chance. SHES A CARIBBEAN (7) had been racing consistently before having no luck when a fading 20.5m 8th to Heavenly Holly. The daughter of Caribbean Blaster was always in the mix when a useful 12.9m 3rd behind James Cagney last week. The 4yo won’t be far away when the judge calls a halt. With the benefit of one run from a spell, the Peter Rixon-prepared SIGHT TO SEE (5) is worthy of attention. Stepping out for his first engagement in six months, the son of Hes Watching posted a solid finishing 3.3m 5th to Johnson Step at Newcastle. The 6yo has a useful draw and that will should assist Sight To See in his quest for a bold showing. BERTIE JONES (8) has drawn the outside gate in the field of eight, and although that is tricky, the son of Prodigal Seelster can’t be taken lightly. The Kerry and Dean McDowell stable has been in fine form of late and, Bertie Jones is capable of improving sharply on his 20.7m last to Smaltese here a couple of weeks ago. With consistent form prior to that failure, Bertie Jones should be able to make his presence felt. Exotic investors should also consider MISTER HAYWOOD (3) and KILLARA SHOGUN (6).
TINDER SURPRISE 1, Shes A Caribbean 2, Sight To See 3, Bertie Jones 4.
Now that he has regained his confidence, CASH N FLOW (6) should prove a shade too classy for his rivals, which totals just five. Stepping out for his 97th assignment, the 10yo struggled through the opening five starts of this term, however, he bounced back strongly in overcoming the outside gate in dictating the terms from start to finish. Rated to perfection by John McCarthy, Cash N Flow secured a comfortable 2.8m defeat of Star Major and Cassius Deck. Attempting to again set the temp from start to finish a week ago, the veteran was unable to hold off South Coast Arden and Port Au Prince, but he wasn’t disgraced in recording a 6.3m third. David Morris, who drove Cash N Flow in the Vic Frost FFA last week, will again be in the sulky. Looming as a definite threat is KANENA PROVLIMA (4), which had little luck last week in finishing a 7.3m 4th to South Coast Arden. Blocked for a run in the straight, despite attempting to change course on a couple of occasions, Kanena Provlima would have been in the mix with better luck. IZAHA (1) has an ideal draw and with the benefit of a kind run, the consistent James Rattray trained and driven 8yo will be there to pounce. The son of Roll With Joe is coming off a creditable run last week in finishing an 8.7m 5th behind South Coast Arden. Izaha has been unplaced in each of his past five starts, but in stronger company, compared to his rivals this time around. WOW HE A ROCK STAR (5) has been freshened since a 1.9m 3rd to Chevon Art back in mid-May. Rarely far away, the 5yo is coming off a solid trial and Blake Fitzpatrick looks to have him ready for a bold showing. The interesting runner is the Victorian, YORKSHIRE (2). The 7yo has had two runs back since being off the scene since November 2022. Starting a $100.00 chance for his first run back, Yorkshire posted a solid 2.6m 4th to Vanquish Stride, then last week at Bendigo, he son of A Rocknroll Dance had little luck in failing to secure a suitable run when a 25.8m 9th to Tango Tara. Forget he went around and with the benefit of a higher level of fitness, and a good draw, Yorkshire could spring a surprise.
CASH N FLOW 1, Kanena Provlima 2, Izaha 3, Wow Hes A Rock Star 4.
This particular race is named in honour of the champion mare Stylish Memphis and, while there is a line-up of quality mares, they fall well short of her class. Following a first-up win for new mentor Sofia Arvidsson, former Victorian POLLY PUT KETTLEON (11) was quick to come to the boil when she returned to racing at Menangle last week, nearly seven weeks after having a break. Playing the ‘waiting game’, which was the case when successful previously, the 6yo daughter of Courage Under Fire powered home from a rearward role in accounting for Punt Away and Heavenly Holy, two of her rivals once again. Polly Put Kettleon has again drawn deep, this time the outside gate, but that shouldn’t be a major factor as Arvidsson is again likely to allow the mare to compete from back in the pack, prior to charging home down the middle of the track. No need to change a winning formula. IM PRESI BELLE (10) is racing in career best form, having won the Mares Championship at Melton recently, prior to finishing a gallant 2.5m 3rd to B K Swy, then a gritty 4.9m 4th to Port Au Prince. The draw hasn’t been kind, however, the Peter Rixon-trained daughter of Mach Three is bound to make her presence felt. ANNA LOVE (7) followed a solid all-the-way win at Headquarters with a couple of sound placings. Starting favourite here last week, the daughter of Terror To Love posted another creditable effort in recording a 2.9m 4th to Polly Put Kettleon. Anna Love will be in the mix from the outset and is more than capable of being a major factor in the finish. COMMON COURTESY (3) has drawn handily and with consistent form behind her, the Darren Binskin trained and driven mare is worthy of exotic involvement. Others to consider in that regard include SOHO RHAPSODY (6), who is coming of a luckless half-head 2nd to Free Thinker at Albion Pak last week. The move from a back row draw to a handy front line starting role is a plus for the daughter of American Ideal. HEAVENLY HOLLY (8) did a good job with a flat tyre last week in finishing a 2.4m 3rd to Polly Put Kettleon. Consistent in races of this nature, the 5yo daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven should be linked to the multiples.
POLLY PUT KETTLEON 1, Im Presi Belle 2, Anna Love 3, Common Courtesy 4.
This is a tricky race with any number of chances. The Trevor Munday-trained KISSMELVIS (8) met with solid support last week, but must have had a ‘suspicious mind’ when approaching the gate as he became ‘all shook up’ and lost all chance, leaving those who backed him on the ‘edge of reality’ as they headed off to ‘heartbreak hotel’. Well, ‘it’s now or never’ for Kissmelvis, as this looks a suitable challenge, despite drawing the outside gate in a field of just eight. Hopefully, punters won’t need a ‘good luck charm’, maybe, a ‘teddy bear’. Runner-up in each of his previous two stars, the 9yo looks poised to go one better. Otherwise, it will be a case of ‘return to sender’, as far as, Kissmelvis is concerned. MAJOR OBAHMA (7) was placed behind Tuppence and Chevron Art four runs back, but has been unplaced since. However, the 7yo hasn’t been far away on each occasion, the latest resulting in a 5.9m 6th to Red Reactor. A member of the Kerry and Dean McDowell team, the son of Art Major finds himself in a suitable contest so expect him to be pro-active in the finish. LOCHINVAR JAG (5) wasn’t disgraced when a 7.5m 8th t Red Reactor last time out. The 4yo has had three runs since returning from a Queensland campaign and it will come as no surprise to see him giving this a shake. TIMELY SOVEREIGN (1) will appreciate gate one, and although safely held here on Tuesday when a 13.4m 5th to Montalbano, claims as an exotic runner can’t be ignored. SELSEY BILL (2), SPIRIT KING (3) and UNCLE JAY (4) also warrant attention in that regard.
KISSMELVIS 1, Major Obahma 2, Lochinvar Jag 3, Timely Sovereign 4.
With the benefit of two runs back from a spell, both respectable, DOFF YOUR CAP (4) is ready to greet the judge. Resuming in a stand and from a 10m hcp, the Jarrod Alchin-conditioned son of Peak DNK soon found himself dictating the terms, but his lack of race fitness resulted in Funky Monkey gaining the upper-hand, leaving Doff Your Cap to finish a creditable 7.8m second. A week ago, against similar opposition, the 7yo had every chance in the one-one, en route to posting a gritty 3m 3rd behind Majestic Trio and Funky Monkey. Drawing a couple of spots closer to the pegs, Doff You Cap will again make his presence felt from the outset, and that should pave the way for a winning display. FUNKY MONKEY (5) has found her true form once again, following a stylish win and her last-start 2nd to Majestic Trio. The daughter of Monkey Bones will provide Doff Your Cap with strong opposition once again. REGAL ATTIRE (6) was never a serious factor last week in posting a 16m 4th to Majestic Trio. Rarely far away, the son of Muscle Hill should be respected as the 5yo is more than capable of being a threat. ESCAPE THE PACE(7) has been her own worst enemy since scoring here five runs ago. Taking no competitive part when a well-beaten last to Regal Attire, the Rickie Alchin trained and driven mare then headed north, but all three runs resulted in the daughter of A Rocknroll Dance finishing at the tail of the field after finding trouble, in one way or nothing. The mare has too much talent to ignore, although the opening stages of the race may well determine her fate.
DOFF YOUR CAP 1, Funky Monkey 2, Regal Attire 3, Escape The Pace 4.
– FORM ASSESSED BY MIKE KO’CASS