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    BETTER BE THE BEST

    RACE ONE: Already prominently placed on betting charts when it comes to the Chariots of Fire and the Eureka, FRANKIE FEROCIOUS (5) will dominate... Ready to produce his best

    RACE ONE:

    Already prominently placed on betting charts when it comes to the Chariots of Fire and the Eureka, FRANKIE FEROCIOUS (5) will dominate this easier assignment from start to finish. Following a successful career under the guidance of Ben Crosby in Queensland, the exciting 4yo son of Captaintreacherous went to a higher level, when he recorded an exciting win in the G2 4YO Bonanza over Perfect Class and Captains Knock. Fitter for the outing and drawing suitably, Cam Hart will have the Jason Grimson-trained gelding stamping his authority on this race from the moment the green light is activated. While Frankie Ferocious stands ‘heads and shoulders’ over his rivals, the battle for the minors will be keenly contested. Leading the charge will be MAJOR MAJOR (1), which is also under the care of Jason Grimson. Perfectly drawn in gate one, Major Major finished second to Im In Trouble when having his first run for the team back in late November, prior to peeling off a hat-trick of wins. The 5yo son of Art Major is coming off a costly 3.8m 3rd to Our Cosmic Major in the New Year’s Gift Final when he appeared to have every chance. The prospect of receiving a kind run will assist Major Major in playing ‘second fiddle’ to his star stablemate. The Jarrod Alchin-prepared BROOKLYN BRIDGE (3) ended his previous term of racing with a couple of solid winning displays. A recent useful trial outing has the son of Sweet Lou ready to run a bold race, especially after the 5yo drew handily. The consistent UNFAZED (10) faces a tougher task this time, especially from the outside gate, however, the honest son of Auckland Reactor is entitled to be included when forming multiple transactions. Others to consider include LAST TANGO IN HEAVEN (2), which is coming off a deserving win and the draw is a plus, STINGRAY TARA (8) and SIR RICHARD LEE (4), a winner here last week and while the task will be tougher, the 6yo is racing in peak form while the draw is also a bonus.

    FRANKIE FEROCIOUS 1, Major Major 2, Brooklyn Bridge 3, Unfazed 4.

     

    RACE TWO:
    With the benefit of two runs back from a spell, both solid displays, SOHO MOONRAKER (3) is ready to play a far more active role in the finish, Prepared by Michael Stanley, who will also jump into the cart, the classy son of Sweet Lou resumed with a 7.9m 4th to Earl Of Pembroke over the testing journey of 2690m in the Wedderburn Pacing Cup at Maryborough on January 28, with an all-the-way win attempted on that occasion. Contesting a 2300m assignment at Menangle last week, Soho Moonraker drew wide, resulting in a rearward role coming his way, prior to working home stoutly for a pleasing 6.8m 4th to Carlo Gambino. Fitter and returning to a far more acceptable draw, the 4yo is ready to play an active role in the finish. The Jason Grimson-conditioned LOUS DREAM (7) returns to a suitable challenge after contesting he G2 4Y0 Bonanza at Melton last week. After receiving every chance in the one-one, courtesy of Greg Sugars, the 4yo Sweet Lou gelding posted a useful 14.4m 8th to stablemate, Frankie Ferocious. Prior to that commitment, Lous Dream debuted for the stable with a gritty all-the-way win over the 1609m of the Menangle circuit, defeating Rockokoko and Swell Time, the latter being a subsequent Newcastle winner. Expect Lous Dream to be a major threat this time. MISTER ROBIN HOOD (2), which is also a member of the Jason Grimson stable, has been in fine form since crossing the Tasman, With two wins and two placings, both as runner-up, to his credit from four starts on this side of the Tasman, Mister Robin Hood recorded a solid 2.5m 2nd to the classy, dual G1 winner Captains Knock before leading throughout in comfortably defeating Foxy Rada and Reactor Factor at this venue. Also a son of Sweet Lou, Mister Robin Hood is ideally drawn and that will allow the 4yo to be in the mix from the outset. DANGEROUS (11) has drawn the outside gate but the Shane Sanderson-trained 4yo,  remains a danger. Boasting five placings from seven starts at this venue, the highly-regarded son of Sweet Lou resumed with a smart all-the-way win at Melton, prior to a 12.6m 6th to Frankie Ferocious in the 4YO Bonanza when he drew the back row. His luck with draws again failed him when Dangerous drew the outside marble for his latest assignment at Headquarters last week. Pacing roughly at the start and settling in a rearward role, Dangerous worked home soundly in finishing a 12.2m 8th to the exciting Kiwi Dont Stop Dreaming in the Hondo Grattan Stakes, a qualifying event for the Chariots of Fire. With a higher level of fitness assisting him, Dangerous can’t be overlooked as a winning player. Multiple investors should also consider CARLO GAMBINO (4), SMALTESE (5) and SPIRIT OF ARION (6) when looking to value contenders.

    SOHO MOONRAKER 1, Lous Dream 2, Mister Robin Hood 3, Dangerous 4.

     

    RACE THREE:

    A newcomer to the Jason Grimson stable is HOT AND TREACHEROUS (9), a formerly with Queensland mentor Jack Butler after commencing his career in NZ. Following a mixed Inter Dominion campaign in his home state last December, which culminated with a 25.2m 10th to Cantfindabettorman in the Consolation on December 16, the 6yo son of Captaintreacherous headed south with the Miracle Mile now on his radar. Contesting a Menangle trial, Hot And Treacherous accounted for recent winner Fire Fox, Expensive Ego and Better Be The Best in a time of 1:51.6, the final 400m covered in 26.4. The gelding looked strong over the final 200m, with Cam Hart flicking the reins in maintaining plenty in reserve. Hot And Treacherous has drawn deep, however, this appears to be a suitable assignment to build towards qualifying events for the premier sprint race. The James Rattray trained and driven MAGICIAN (9) has two placings to show for his six starts since a spell, which followed his gallant 4th to Encipher in the $2m Eureka last September. Consistently competing against quality opposition, and having little luck in running on more than the odd occasion, the 5yo son of Sweet Lou is coming off a gritty 1.7m 4th to Loyalist a couple of weeks ago. Confronted by a wide draw, Magician will again be competitive. The Shane Fraser-trained MANILA PLAYBOY (10) did a reasonable job during the ID, then posted a useful 19.9m 7th to Cantfindabettorman in the consolation. Following a gallant 7.8m 4th to the sensational Leap To Fame at AP, Manila Playboy then worked home stoutly when a half-neck 3rd to Turn It Up and Deux Ex at AP a couple of weeks ago. The wide gate is a concern, but the 6yo son of Pet Rock warrants attention as an exotic player. Suitably drawn and racing consistently THE CROUPIER (4) is also a suitable type to add to the list of exotic contenders while DOUBLE ENCOUNTER (3) and TIZ A SIZZLER (7) also fall into that category.

    HOT AND TREACHEROUS 1, Magician 2, Manila Playboy 3, The Croupier 4.

     

    RACE FOUR:

    Despite two unplaced efforts next to his name, BETTER BE THE BEST (7) is capable of again being ‘better than the rest’ so don’t write him off as a major contender for the top spot. After winning races for fun and with the minimum of fuss, the Nathan Turnbull trained and driven stable star has been below his brilliant best. His woes started last October when, as an odds-on elect, the son of Shoobees Place broke, then  struck trouble when a 35m 8th to Captains Knock in the G1 NSWBC 3YO C&G’s Final at Menangle. Resuming with the benefit of three trials, the opening two resulting in wins at Bathurst while the latest was a pleasing effort at Menangle in top quality company, Better Be The Best contested the Hondo Grattan last week, which resulted in a 12.9m 9th to Dont Stop Dreaming. From a midfield role the run was slightly better than it may first appear on paper. Fitter, Better Be The Best, despite meeting tough opposition, is worthy of further attention. GOLDEN BAY (8) is rising in grade, but there is the Jason Grimson and Cam Hart factor to take into account. The 4yo son of Downbytheseaside had handy Queensland form before debuting for his new mentor with a dominant 15m win over Mitsi Gaynor and Gimme A Reason at Menangle a couple of weeks ago. A tougher task awaits, but he can’t be ignored. Victorian trainer-driver Aaron Dunn has LITTLE LOUIE (1) facing the  starter and from the pole the son of Sweet Lou is capable of giving plenty of cheek. Following a period of consistency, Little Louie posted a 17.3m 9th to Frankie Ferocious in the 4YO Bonanza at Melton recently. With the prospect of a suitable peg run coming his way, Little Louie will be ready to strike when heads are turned for home. DON HUGO (2) returned to racing with a 3m 2nd to Swell Time at Newcastle a week ago, but find trouble in the process. The 4yo son of Art major has drawn well and strips fitter so don’t leave him out of exotic transactions. Also consider FASHION ICON (5), which is resuming, but has posted a couple of solid Bathurst trial wins, and SWELL TIME (6) when looking for value. Now that the Michael Stanley trained and driven YAHOO (3) is elevated from the bench, definitely include the talented 4yo son of Vincent in the top bracket of chances. Runner-up in his past two, the latter when narrowly beaten by Carlo Gambino here last week, Yahoo hits peak fitness following three runs back and, also draws well, so expect a competitive showing once again from the lightly-raced gelding.

    BETTER BE THE BEST 1, Golden Bay 2, Little Louie 3, Yahoo 4.

     

    RACE FIVE:

    In what appears to be a race of many chances, RAVISHING SLOY (10) is entitled to a high rating when it comes to the running of the R C Simpson Memorial. Boasting four wins and a second since joining the McCarthy training establishment, the son of Bettors Delight hasn’t started since a brilliant display in taking out the NSWBC Eastern 2C&G’s Final at Menangle last December. Driven by Jack Callaghan, Ravishing Sloy managed to find the lead from gate three, prior to powering clear of his rivals over the final stages in easily accounting for My Ultimate Buddha and Major Allegiance. After posting his sixth win from 10 starts, Ravishing Sloy headed to the paddock, prior to recording a recent solid trial display in readiness for his return. The Kari Males-conditioned SERGEANT LOU (2) is bou8nd to make his presence felt from the pole role, which is minus the first reserve. The Sweeet Lou colt has resumed from a spell full of confidence, posting a comfortable win at Shepparton over The Statesman and The Answer before producing a carbon copy display when he again led in defeating Dee Roe and The Answer in the 3YO Caduceus Classic at Melton. On each occasion the opposition has been strong. Astute reinsman Michael Bellman will again partner Sergeant Lou and another front-running display is on the cards. The Jackson painting trained and driven I DIDNT KNOW THAT (6), like so many others in this contest, will be facing a tougher test, but is more than capable of taking that next step. Unbeaten in two starts, the first when he led in scoring by 34.5m at Shepparton, the latter when he worked to find the top, due to racing greenly, in defeating Elated and Axinite at Albury. On each occasion the Vincent colt has been an odds-on elect. Still learning what this racing caper is all about, I Didnt Know That can’t be taken lightly. KOMODO (11) is a member of the Aaron Dunn team, and although confronted by the outside gate, the Fear The Dragon 3yo remains in the mix. Boasting three wins from his seven starts, Komodo has been placed 4th to Sergeant Lou in his past two engagements, the latter when beaten 12.7m at Melton in the Caduceus Classic. Komodo is likely to be driven off the pace and that will allow him to surge home, which was the scenario at Melton three runs ago. MR BONDI (7) has shown plenty of talent since leaving NZ and joining the Ellen Jones stable. Leaving NZ on a winning note, the Downbytheseaside gelding has led in scoring easily on each occasion at Leeton. Expect a strong showing from the gelding. An interesting runner is IN EXCESS (9) which steps out for his first assignment since crossing the Tasman and linking up with Darrel Graham. The Bettors Delight colt last stepped out on January 29 when a 5th to Little Spike at Cambridge. Fresh heading into this contest, In Excess should be included in exotic discussions while THE GENERAL (8) also has claims in  that regard.

    RAVISHING SLOY 1, Sergeant Lou 2, I Didnt Know That 3, Komodo 4.

     

    RACE SIX:

    With the Miracle Mile qualifying events just around the corner, a number of the ‘big guns’ will face the starter in readiness to face the starter in the prestigious sprint contest on March 9. Despite drawing wide the Luke McCarthy-trained super-star SPIRIT OF ST LOUIS (10) will face the starter as the one to beat. The 7yo will be looking for a change of luck after collecting second prizemoney in three of his past five starts. Runner-up in his final two ID heat appears, Spirit Of St Louis then drew the back row for the final, which resulted in typical solid display in finishing a 15.5m 4th to Leap To Fame. Following a month off and the 7yo stepped out for a 2300m assignment at Menangle, and again found one better, this time the brad Hewitt trained and driven, Taipo. Drawing the second row for the 2760m AG Hunter Cup at Melton a couple of weeks ago, Spirit Of St Louis contested the race from a four peg role, a position he maintained until the field entered the home turn. Searching for clear running, Jack Callaghan managed to ease the star son of Sweet Lou three deep, but the were still hindered in finding clear running. Hitting the line strongly over the final 100m, Spirit Of St Louis posted a sound 9.7m 6th to Leap To Fame, however, the margin should have been closer than that. Surprisingly, Spirit Of St Louis hasn’t greeted the judge since scoring over the course and distance last September. With nine wins, and nine placings, eight as runner-up, from his 22 Menangle assignments, Spirit Of St Louis will again make a statement that he is ready for another shot at the Miracle Mile, commencing with a win here. LINE UP (3), less the reserve, will line up in gate two, a big plus as most of the major players have drawn deep. The classy son of Bettors Delight returned from a long, injury enforced spell with a hat-trick of quality placings before being rewarded with a strong all-the-way win over Zeuss Bromac and Smiffys Terror. Joe and Mary Rando now have the 7yo back to his best and further success is bound to come their way. Placed in all four runs since a spell, SOUTH COAST ARDEN (11) will be hoping to end his frustrating run with a win, however, the 7yo will be required to overcome a wide draw. Resuming with a tough 3rd to Braeview Kelly, South Coast Arden then finished runner-up to the brilliant Hi Manameisjeff on two occasions before having every chance when he led in recording a 1.5m 3rd to Loyalist. Prepared by Paul Fitzpatrick the son of Somebeachsomewhere will again loom large when the judge prepares to call a halt to proceedings. The Michael Stanley trained and driven ROCK N ROLL DOO (7) was a shade disappointing last week when he resumed with a 13.2m 5th to Mach Da Vinci. Sent out as favourite for the 2300m challenge, Rock N Roll Doo was left exposed for the majority of the trip and with the outing being his first since an aborted ID campaign last December, the extra workload was a telling factor. The son of Rock N Roll Heaven recorded a sizzling trial performance at Melton before making the trip north and with a run under his belt, a far better showing should be forthcoming. BONDI LOCKDOWN (9) has mixing his form but the Luke McCarthy-conditioned 6yo can never be taken lightly while TAIPO (8) continues to perform at a high level. Prepared by Brad Hewitt the pair combined for a strong 9.6m 5th to Leap To Fame in the AG Hunter cup and from his middle of the line draw, the outstanding son of American Ideal will again make his presence felt. BETTORZIPPIT (5) contested the opening two round of heats of the ID, the latter resulting in a 36m 11th to Leap To Fame. With trainer Jason Grimson electing to retire the 6yo from the final heat, Betterzippit will be having his first outing since early December, with a safely held Menangle trial behind him heading into this contest. As always, it can be a foolish play to dismiss a Grimson runner.

    SPIRIT OF ST LOUIS 1, Line Up 2, South Coast Arden 3, Rock R Roll Doo 4.

     

    RACE SEVEN:

    MAJOR PERRY (8), a former Kiwi star, who has been facing the starter in WA in recent times, now finds himself as a member of the Luke McCarthy team. The classy 5yo has been off the scene since last December when he finished a well-beaten last to Floewriter at Gloucester Park. The last time Major Perry ventured to Menangle was during the Miracle Mile carnival, two years ago when he won a heat of the NSW Derby, prior to a gallant 2nd to a horse which has done well for himself since, Leap To Fame. Major Perry finished a 3.9m 2nd to the smart Line Up in a Menangle trial with the last 400m completed in 26.5. With his mum being Katy Perry, the Art Major entire will be looking to record a number one hit. Stablemate DANGERZONE (6) looms as a possible danger as the son of Gotta Go Cullect hits peak fitness following three runs back from a break. The 5yo is coming off a 6.5m 3rd behind Fire Fox and Give Me A Minute a week ago and while he has been without a win since last September, Dangerzone is capable of a productive showing. ARDENS ACE (1) has been runner-up in his past three engagements and six times from his past dozen encounters. From the pole position the 6yo son of Art Major will again be within strike of the leaders, with the Tony Bertwistle-trained bound to again eye-off a stalking role in the hope of going one better. IM IN TROUBLE (2) attempted an all-the-way win when a gritty 4.7m 4th to Unfazed last time out and from gate two the 5yo will again be a factor from the outset. Expect another bold showing from the Seaton Grima trained and driven son of Art Major. When forming exotic investments ROLL UP (9) is worth another chance after a period of mixed displays while JOE NIEN (3), SAHARA SIROCCO (4) and GLIDING AWAY (7) also have claims as potential value runners.

    MAJOR PERRY 1, Dangerzone 2, Ardens Ace 3, Im In Trouble 4.

     

    RACE EIGHT:

    ILLAVABUBBLES (6) has made a huge impression since leaving Queensland and coming under the care of Jason Grimson. The daughter of Always B Miki has faced the starter on three occasions for the stable, maintaining an unbeaten record over the Menangle mile, with winning margins of 16.4m, 13.7m and 17.6m and on each occasion the distance between her and her rivals could have been increased, had Cam Hart so desired. On two occasions the mare has clocked a final 400m in 26 and change. Handily drawn in six, which will be officially one less if the reserve isn’t required, Illavabubbles will be facing a toughest test to date, but is bound to be heading towards the ‘big time’. Standing in her way will be the proven star mare BRAEVIEW KELLY (11), which returns to racing following three months off. Astutely prepared by Jack Trainor, who will also take the reins, the 6yo daughter of Bettors Delight ended her previous term of racing on a winning note when she powered to a solid win over Double Encounter and South Coast Arden over the 2300m of the Menangle track last December. Boasting 11 wins and five placings from her 19 starts at this venue, Braeview Kelly has been to the trials on one occasion for a 12m 4th (four runners) to Line Up, Major Perry and Missed The Truth. The field raced in ‘indian file’ from start to finish and at no stage did Jack ask his star mare to lengthen stride, going to the line ‘hard held’ which was also the case for the other runners. With the benefit of a better draw and race fitness, Illavabubbles gets her chance to topple Braeview Kelly, For now. PROMISELAND (4) will be keen to make her presence felt and after drawing handily, the Freddy Taiba-trained mare is more than capable of achieving such a result. Ending her previous term of racing as a 3to on a winning when the filly won the Breeders crown Silver at Bendigo last November, Promiseland resumed with a solid 1.4m 3rd behind Major fire and Heavenly Charm at Cranbourne on February 10. The mare has a consistent record at this venue and another bold showing should be forthcoming. The race then takes on a far more open appearance when it comes to the multiples. POLLY PUT KETTLEON (80 has been mixing her form but is a suitable player for the multiples while the Victorian LA BELLE BIJOUX (1) has drawn ideally in one and that will certainly enhance her claims of being a contender for a minor role. SUGAR FOR MY HONEY (3) also has claims as a value runner.

    ILLAVABUBBLES 1, Braeview Kelly 2, Promiseland 3, Polly Put Kettleon 4.

     

    RACE NINE:

    Boasting six wins from his seven Menangle engagements, the latest just a week ago, CONSTANTINOPLE (8) again looks the one to send punters home on a winning note. Trained and driven by Luke McCarthy the son of Trixton recorded his only unplaced Menangle appearance two starts ago, when he went into a pace, then broke in finishing a 33m 9th to Majestic Trio. However, the 7yo remained focused from start to finish in finishing strongly from his three peg role in defeating Funky Monkey and Majestic Trio. The small field will help off-set the outside gate and again similar opposition to last week, Constantinople again looks the one to beat. FUNKY MONKEY (6) looks to have the race in her keeping when perfectly rated by Robbie Morris. The daughter of Monkey Bones fought on bravely in the straight but was unable to fend of the late surge by the winner in going down by a narrow margin. Robert will again be keen to have Funky Monkey in the thick of the action from the outset. SCRUFFY DDOLAN (7) followed his gritty win two starts ago with a 12m 5th to Constantinople. The 8yo is rarely far away and another bold showing can be expected. SUNNY GEE (4), like Funky Monkey and Scruffy Doolan, is prepared by KerryAnn Morris and while his trips to the winner’s circle are few and far between, the 7yo is racing in some of the best form of his career of late. The Majestic Son gelding is a suitable exotic player while KING OF LOVE (5), which is capable of giving this race a big shake if in the right frame of mind, is also worthy of attention when it comes to exotic transactions.

    CONSTANTINOPLE 1, Funky Monkey 2, Scruffy Doolan 3, Sunny Gee 4.

    • MIKE KOCASS

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