November 29, 2021 National Trotguide
Unplaced only twice in his 11 starts, talented 3yo HEZ DUSTY (2) looks the one to beat in the first of four G3 events set aside for the NSWBC Western Region Final’s. Prepared by Brad Hewitt, who will also take the reins, the For A Reason gelding was responsible for a solid effort in a G2 contest at Menangle two starts ago, which resulted in a 3.4m 4th to Kashed Up. Stepping out in a heat of this particular series at Wagga on Nov 23, Hez Dusty managed to secure a kind, stalking role before finishing the race off strongly in defeating Braedos Lad and Ultimate Hughey. With gate two next his name, Hez Dusty will again be in the thick of the action, with Hewitt again having the opportunity to secure a role close to the action. Steve Turnbull has a number of top chances throughout the course of the NSWBC races, with MAJOR BRACKEN (9), despite drawing the inside of the back row, being more than capable of being involved in the finish. After finding the G1 NSWBC G1 challenge at Menangle too tough, which resulted in a 15.7m 9th to Bar Room Banta, the son of Hes watching returned to his home track of Bathurst and managed to lead throughout in defeating Cassius Deck and Tamanisha Terror. Back to a suitable assignment, Major Bracken can’t be taken lightly. Steve will also be represented by TAMANISHA TERROR (5) who will driven by Amanda. The Western Terror 3yo posted a handy 7.5m 3rd behind Major Bracken last time out and with the benefit of a better draw, Tamanisha Terror is again capable of giving a good account. From the pole position, DEFIANT (1) can’t be ignored as the consistent son of Roll With Joe is bound to be prominently placed in making his presence felt, as per usual. WATCH AND WEEP (4), CASSIUS DECK (6), SAINT JULIEN (8), another Steve Turnbull runner, and THE STAIN (12) are also worthy of exotic involvement.
HEZ DUSTY 1, Major Bracken 2, Tamanisha Terror 3, Defiant 4.
Ideally drawn in gate two, BALLERINI (2) will have the chance to back up her easy heat win, with success in the main dance. Prepared and to be driven by Bernie Hewitt, the Bettors Delight filly led in proving far too good for Leah Shannon and Debra Jean at this venue, the effort coming on the back of a couple of sound displays in the NSWBC G1 series at Menangle, with a 3d to Anntonia in a semi-final, followed by an equally creditable 11.7m 4th to the same brilliant filly in the Final. That form must be respected in a race of this easier nature, with the ideal draw being an added bonus. MACH BRILLIANCE (7) has been consistent of late, and although the draw is tricky, the Lester Hewitt-trained daughter of Mach Three remains in contention, at least when it comes to forming exotic investments. IMAJOYRIDE (1) has the opportunity to secure a kind run from gate one, and that will allow the daughter of Lincoln Royal, which is also a member of the Bernie Hewitt team, to be involved in the exotic return. ABOUT TO PEAK (5) led and had every chance when a costly 2nd to Sasha at Wagga a couple of weeks ago, however, the consistent Stephen Maguire trained and driven daughter of Artspeak is again capable of giving plenty of cheek. WINONA WRITER (6), ARTIES DIME (10), SASHA (4) and MAINLAND MAGIC (3) should be linked to exotic transactions.
BALLERINI 1, Mach Brilliance 2, Imajoyride 3, About To Peak 4.
The 2YO C&G’s title looks to be a match in two, with the locally-prepared SAINT VERAN (7) gaining the nod of the Goulburn visitor ESCAPE ARTIST. Another productive member of the Steve Turnbull team, Saint Veran has always shown plenty of natural ability, having won the Goulburn Sapling Stks, as well as being runner-up behind Allstarzzz Frankie in the G3 Tatlow Stks at Menangle. Following a solid 6.8m 6th to Tims A Trooper in the G1 NSWBC 2YO C&G’s at Menangle, Saint Veran had little trouble qualifying for the Final of this series when he led throughout in defeating Lexy Can Bern and Amami. The gelding did have gate one on that occasion, but the wider gate here shouldn’t be a major concern as Amanda Turnbull is bound to be pro-active at the start. ESCAPE ARTIST (8) has drawn the outside gate but the promising son of Tintin In America has the talent to be a major player once again, although the Brad Hewitt trained and driven youngster can find trouble, sometimes without needing any help. Escape Artist did strike trouble before producing an effort, which would have made an escape artist proud, when he defeated Im In Trouble and Ice Blaster at Wagga. The consistent BAXTER RED (11) has been an odds-on elect in each of his past two starts, the latter when a 2.2m 3rd behind Promising at Bathurst a few weeks ago. A back row draw awaits the Steve Turnbull-trained son of Well Said, but he remains in the mix as a possible threat. WATTOSBLAZEOFGLORY (1) broke his maiden status two starts ago, nine runs into his career, when he led in defeating Foxy Dada and Outback Beach at this venue. The Rock N Roll Heaven colt followed that effort with a 1.5m 2nd to Promising, the third time in his past four starts he has finished in that role. From gate one the colt stays under notice as an exotic contender. IM IN TROUBLE (2), ICE BLASTER (3), LEXY CAN BERN (6), PROMISING (9) and AMAMI (10) all have exotic claims.
SAINT VERAN 1, Escape Artist 2, Baxter Red 3, Wattosblazeofglory 4.
Boasting three wins from her past three starts, the Scott Hewitt trained and driven ZENXENA (2) has bright prospects of securing victory in the 2YO Fillies G3 challenge. The daughter of Art Major overcame a back row draw in scoring at West Wyalong, prior to progressing to this race with a solid win at Wagga when she stalked the leaders in defeating Knight Kiss and Couldnt Recommend. Hewitt will again have the chance to find a comfortable role for Zenxena, and that will lay the foundations for a winning display. The Mark Hewitt trained and driven NOT TO BE DENIED (9) has drawn awkwardly on the inside of the 2nd line, however, the filly is racing with plenty of spirit. Back-to-back wins at this venue were followed by two quality efforts at Menangle during the NSWBC series, the first resulting in an 8.6m 3rd to Captains Queen while the latter was in the G1 Final when the Always B Miki filly recorded a 5.6m 6th to Madrid. Returning to a heat of this series, Not To Be Denied produced a gritty effort in defeating Steph and Holy Camp Gloria. That form must be respected, despite the draw. SHES A CARIBBEAN (12) has been involved in seven races since a spell, with the David Kennedy-trained daughter of Caribbean Blaster posting three win and four placings. Beaten narrowly when 2nd to Ideal In Dreams at Menangle on Nov 6, Shes A Caribbean then led when 2nd to Macarena Madi at Wagga. The back row awaits the filly, but she can’t be ignored as a threat. Suitably drawn, and yet to miss a place in seven starts, MACAREMA MADI (3) must be kept safe, particularly when it comes to forming exotic transactions. FINERY (4), ART THOU LEXY (5), KNIGHT KISS (7), PAS CHEVAL (10) and COULDNT RECOMMEND (8) also remain in the multiple mix.
ZENXENA 1, Not To Be Denied 2, Shes A Caribbean 3, Macarema Madi 4.
Heat four of the Inter Dominion series for the pacers and it is impossible to go past the Belinda McCarthy-trained EXPENSIVE EGO (7) after the exciting son of Rock N Roll Heaven indicated that his high-profile stablemate King Of Swing didn’t have the title all, signed, sealed and delivered. Not yet anyway. After commencing the opening round of heats from a second row draw, Expensive Ego worked his way to the lead, accepting the offer from his stablemate Alta Orlando to take up the role as pacemaker. Comfortable quarters were ticked-off, the opening in 30.3, the during the middle stages, 29.7 and 27.8 before Luke McCarthy decided to put his away his rivals, allowing the exciting 4yo son of Rocknroll Heaven more run, resulting in a 26.0 final 400m and a 12 metre defeat of a game Alta Orlando, with Balraj an eye-catching third, a further 3.6m astern. Expensive Ego moves to the front line for the 1730m sprint assignment, and although there is speed drawn inside, it is unlikely that the second favourite for the title will be forced to remain to contest this race from any other position, then that of the leader. In saying that, it will be interesting to how the early battle for positions unfolds as the role, either behind Expensive Ego or at the very least three pegs plays out. Either one of those roles will suit the Victorian TRIPLE EIGHT (1), which has drawn ideally in gate one. The Jess Tubbs-trained 6yo was responsible for a superb effort in finishing a 1.8m 4th to Malcolms Rhythm in his particular heat at Menangle, with the son of American Ideal hitting the line with intent over the final 200m after being four pegs, then four back in the running line on straightening. Another 10m or so and Triple Eight could have easily been leaving the track with maximum points. With the prospect of a kind peg role, Triple Eight is capable of being pro-active in the finish. MAJESTIC CRUISER (10) was game in defeat when beaten 4m by King Of Swing. Four back in the running line, then the first horse three deep on the home turn, the Art Major 6yo kept finding the line with plenty of confidence and his effort was full of merit. The 2nd line awaits Majestic Cruiser but the prospect of a solid tempo will allow him to finish the race off strongly. The David Aiken-trained REACTOR NOW (9) is a ‘must’ when forming exotic transaction. Buried six back along the pegs in his heat, the Victorian was held up for a suitable run down the lengthy Menangle straight, resulting in an unlucky 13m 7th to King Of Swing. The margin should have been a lot less and the son of Auckland Reactor should have finished higher up the ladder. POCKET OF TERROR (2) will appreciate his ideal draw after starting from the back row when a solid 6.2m 6th to Malcolms Rhythm. The Jack Trainor trained and driven 6yo settled well back in the pack, prior to coming with a late run out deep on the home turn. Peaking in condition and with the prospect of being in the mix from the outset, Pocket Of Terror will be a threat. THE BLACK PRINCE (3) will also enjoy the opportunity of leaving the 2nd line in joining the front row from gate three. The son of Bettors Delight was never a serious threat in recording 10.8m 9th to Malcolms Rhythm, but he didn’t have a great deal of luck down the running. MACH DA VINCI (4) struck some trouble, en route to his 16.9m 5th to Expensive Ego, and with the benefit of moving from the back row to the front, gate four, the Art Major 4yo has the chance to secure some handy points.
EXPENSIVE EGO 1, Triple Eight 2, Majestic Cruiser 3, Reactor Now 4.
The jury is still out concerning SPIRIT OF ST LOUIS (8) and adding to the mystery is the fact that the Belinda McCarthy-trained son of Sweet Lou has drawn the outside gate. Dictating the terms of his Menangle heat, Spirit Of St Louis was rated to perfection by Luke McCarthy, with the favourite completing the opening 400m of the last mile in 30.1, then 29.5, 27.6 before the 4yo raised the stakes with a 26.3 final quarter. However, the masterful drive was undone by a gritty Malcolms Rhythm, which kept grinding away along the pegs in gaining the verdict by the shortest possible margin. Without a win in five runs since a spell, Spirit Of St Louis has been runner-up on three occasions and that is starting to be a concern. It will be interesting to see whether Luke hit the ‘go button’, which is likely, from the outset in the hope of finding the top once again. Stablemate ALTA ORLANDO (4) keep producing competitive efforts on a regular basis, and that was the case when the 9yo led out before taking a sit behind the explosive Expensive Ego. Game in defeat the son of Courage Under Fire posted a 12m 2nd, the third time in a row his has claimed such a role, the previous two behind Expensive Ego and The Black Prince, the latter in the G1 Len Smith Mile. The veteran will again be keen to find the lead and despite the shorter trip, again be driven with cover, possibly behind Spirit Of St Louis. Despite drawing the back row, a big watch is placed on BALRAJ (11), which was responsible for a big run behind Expensive Ego. After securing the one, en route to being exposed three deep on the point of the home turn, Balraj battled on stoutly in finishing a 15.5m third. Prepared by Jack Trainor, Balraj has now had two runs for the stable and a spell and appears to be progressing nicely. First round heat winner in MALCOLMS RHYTHM (5) has again drawn well and that will allow Josh Aiken to go in search of a role close to the action. The 5yo does boast quality stats but has been under-rated throughout his career. A game customer on a regular basis, Malcolms Rhythm should be respected as he is always thereabouts and ready to take advantage of any opportunity presented to him. When looking at exotic investments, IGNATIUS (2) must be included in the mix from his vastly improved draw. From a back row draw at Menangle, the 6yo was never in the picture after settling in a rearward role and remaining there for the majority of the contest. The end result was a 14.5m 10th to King Of Swing. From gate two the James Rattray trained and driven son of Roll With Joe will be far more active at the start and from a forward role Ignatius is capable of giving plenty of cheek. MACH DAN (10) is also worthy of exotic involvement after a respectable 10.5m 5th to King Of Swing. Trapped three deep and four off the leader, King Of Swing, at the 800m marker, Mach Dan, despite being exposed in the one wide line, kept grinding away gamely down the home straight. The Mach Three 4yo has drawn the back row once again, however, he stays in the multiple mix.
SPIRIT OF ST LOUIS 1, Alta Orlando 2, Balraj 3, Malcolms Rhythm 4.
Dual Miracle Mile winner KING OF SWING (8) took another giant step towards further ‘harness racing history’ when he secured top points at Menangle last Saturday night. After a brief extension of his work load in finding the role as dictator, after Boncel Benjamin decided to step away from that role in preference for a kind run, King Of Swing was always in total control of the situation, en route to wrapping up his work in 26.1, with the margin just four metres as Luke McCarthy allowed King Of Swing to ease down over the final 50m or so. Despite drawing the outside gate, the 6yo son of Rocknroll Hanover will cross to the pegs when Luke elects to do so, as it would be a brave decision to race the ‘King’ for that position. With King Of Swing’s DNA all over this heat, the battle for the next available points on offer will be keenly contest. One of the major chances for that spot goes to BONCEL BENJAMIN (5), which has drawn handily in five and that will allow Jack Trainor to again be first to cross, en route to stalking the top seed for the Inter Dominion title. Boncel Benjamin fought on gamely in recording a 4.2m 3rd to King Of Swing and with a consistent body of work behind him, the 6yo is bound to be involved in the finish. Former NSW Derby winner LINE UP (4) was having his first serious test in this company when he contested the heat won by Malcolms Rhythm. Drawing the back row, which resulted in a rearward spot coming his way, an aggressive drive by Darren Binskin resulted in Line Up joining Spirit Of St Louis at the head of affairs, and although the tempo was keen, resulting in the final two sectionals being posted in 27.6 and 26.3, the classy 4yo refused to surrender his position. When the Judge called a halt, Line Up was responsible for a brave half-neck 3rd, with the son of Bettors Delight announcing himself on the big stage after missing nearly 20 months of his career, following his success in the NSW Derby. Peaking after four runs back and drawing a lot better in gate four, Line Up will again be competitive. LOORRIM LAKE (7) was brave in defeat when a 2.3m 5th to Malcolms Rhythm while MAX DELIGHT (12) recorded a useful 16.8m 4th to Expensive Ego. Both are worthy of involvement when forming multiple transactions.
KING OF SWING 1, Boncel Benjamin 2, Line Up 3, Max Delight 4.
This is a heat for the trotters and with gate three next to her name, the brilliant Matthew Craven trained and driven PINK GALAHS (3) should make a ‘bird’ of this race and continue to stake her claim for the trophy in a couple of weeks. Pink Galahs was forced to race without cover in her heat at Menangle, and after grinding her way to the front on straightening, the Victorian was unable to fend of the late surge from Kyvalley Chief, which claimed 2nd, and Timothy Red, with Cam Hart producing a well-timed peg run in coming from well back in proceedings to gain the top spot. This time around Pink Galahs will have first call on the role as pacemaker, a role both the mare and Craven will enjoy. HUMBLE LADD (1) lost all chance with a tardy beginning in the same heat as Pink Galahs, which resulted in the 6yo eventually joining the field, en route to recording a 24.7m eighth. The 6yo was having his first run since a successful Qld campaign which culminated in a gallant 2.9m 2nd to Tough Monarch in the Qld Trotters Cup. Fresh and stepping out on the big stage, Humble Ladd may have been a victim of circumstances and with gate one next to his name, expect the Majestic Son gelding to give a far better account. THE PENNY DROPS (8), as per usual, was responsible for a determined effort in finishing a head 2nd to Majestic Man. Caught facing the breeze outside of Majestic Man, the 5yo kept grinding away, enjoying the opportunity to worry the short-priced elect outside of the top spot. However, class did prevail and Majestic Man, which was rated to perfection by Anthony Butt, kept finding enough to greet the judge. The Penny Drops has drawn deep over the shorter trip, and that combination will present The Penny Drops with an intriguing challenge, but he is more than capable of overcoming both situations. MAORI LAW (12) hit the line in fine fashion from a midfield role in recording a 5.4m 5th to Majestic Man, with the 8yo son of Lawman worthy of including as a potential threat, despite the 2nd line draw. ROBBIE ROYAL (6) is always thereabouts and that was the case in his heat, which resulted in a 13.4m 5th to Timothy Red. An improved draw will assist the 7yo in his quest to fill a role in the exotics. TIMOTHY RED (9) caused an upset when he charged along the markers, courtesy of another outstanding drive by Cam Hart, in defeating Kyvalley Chief and Pink Galahs. The inside of the back row awaits the 4yo son of Muscle Hill, but that will give him the opportunity to again enjoy a kind run before making his presence felt once again. ONE MAJIC KENNY (5) wasn’t disgraced by his 9.2m 6th to Majestic Man, with the return to a suitable front line draw assisting his exotic prospects.
PINK GALAHS 1, Humble Ladd 2, The Penny Drops 3, Maori Law 4.
After drawing gate two at Menangle in his opening heat win, star Kiwi MAJESTIC MAN (2) will carry the same number in this round and, barring bad luck, the end result will be the same. Prepared by Phil Williamson and driven by Anthony Butt, Majestic Man led and was able to covert a kind run, into a winning display, albeit, without a few concerns over the final 100m. When the judge called a halt the decorated son of Majestic Son had just a half-neck margin to spare over a gallant, The Penny Drops while Illawong stardust was the same margin away in grabbing third. Over the shorter trip and Butt will again dictate the terms to perfection in maintaining an unbeaten record for the series. FUNKY MONKEY (10) warrants another chance after doing a few things wrong in posting a 25.3m 9th to Majestic Man. One of the favourites for the title, heading into the first round of heats at Menangle, the mare found the occasion a shade too daunting, according to her driver, Robert Morris. With that experience behind her, Funky Monkey is capable of a strong showing so don’t jump ship just yet. The Tony Peacock-trained ILLAWONG STARDUST (6) was having just her second run since a spell when she recorded a gritty 1.2m 3rd to Majestic Man, with the daughter of Muscle Hill holding her ground with intent after stalking the winner every step of the way. Fitter, Illawong Stardust, despite drawing a touch deep this time around, is bound to make a bold play for victory. TOUGH MONARCH (9) has enjoyed a wonderful career, and although the 9yo continues to be a determined competitor, his best days appear behind him. However, the son of Monarchy can’t be taken lightly. With trainer Rickie Alchin dictating the terms at Menangle, Tough Monarch faded in finishing an 18.2m 6th to Timothy Red. The inside of the back row awaits Tough Monarch and with the prospect of a kind role behind the speed, the veteran is capable of being thereabouts when the judge calls a halt. The Matthew Craven trained and driven LOTOFMUSCLE (1) drew the inside of the back line at Menangle, and from a three peg role, hit the line well in finishing a 3.3m 4th to Majestic Man. A move to the pole will result in Lotofmuscle giving another good account so don’t ignore him as a ‘value’ threat. CALIGULA (3) will derive a great deal of benefit from his 8.9m 4th to Timothy Red as the 5yo was stepping out for his first assignment in four months. Trained and driven by Blake Fitzpatrick, Caligula has never been short of talent and with gate three a big plus, the son of Majestic Son warrants further attention. KYVALLEY CHIEF (5) remains in the mix when it comes to exotic investments.
MAJESTIC MAN 1, Funky Monkey 2, Illawong Stardust 3, Tough Monarch 4.
– MICK KO’CASS