December 24, 2023 Michael Court
Sparingly-raced 4yo ALIBERTO (9) will be confronted by a tricky draw when he confronts the starter for the third time, however, the Belinda McCarthy-trained gelding is capable of a competitive showing. Early setbacks hindered the start of his career, but it was worth the wait as Aliberto scored impressively on debut when he started an odds-on favourite in defeating Ultimate Ad and Knight Walker, despite being left exposed outside of the leader. That outing was on November 21, and two weeks later the son of Somebeachsomewhere stepped out for his next assignment against slightly stronger opposition. Dictating this terms on this occasion, Aliberto was unable to get the job done, with a fading 8.4m 4th to Dance And Deliver the best he could manage. A recent solid trial win at Menangle has lifted the spirits of Aliberto. With Luke McCarthy returning from his Queensland Inter Dominion sojourn, the former local will be looking to create an impression from the outset. TWILIGHT BONNIE (5) was having her first outing for new mentor Anthony Frisby, following two solid trial efforts, when a handy 12.3m 4th behind another Frisby runner in Works For Me, which a has been most impressive since joining the Bathurst resident, at Dubbo a couple of weeks ago in the Red Ochre Classic. The daughter of Hes Watching had always shown above-average talent when under the care of Brad Hewitt and with a level of fitness receiving a boost, Twilight Bonnie should run a bold race from her useful draw. On the subject of Brad Hewitt and the Goulburn mentor will be represented by the consistent KEEPERS IDEAL (7), which has just the one win to show for his nine-starts, but the 4yo is always thereabouts. Following placings at Young and Wagga, Keepers Ideal has since posted a 5.8m 5th to Nowherenearcrazy at Menangle when he attempted an all-the-way win. The 4yo son of American Ideal has drawn deep but remains a threat. MY CRACKLING ROSIE (6) has won four of her past five, the latest in proving a shade too tough for Ohana Dancer and Mikibequick at Goulburn. This will be a harder test, but one that the mare is capable of making a good fist of. CROWN MOJO (1) is coming off a pair of wins at Penrith and from the pole is worthy of exotic involvement while TULHURST DANCER (2) CLASSIC MIX UP (4) and SPECIAL DREAM (8) also fall into that category.
ALIBERTO 1, Twilight Bonnie 2, Keepers Ideal 3, My Crackling Rosie 4.
Before displaying bad manners at Menangle a couple of weeks ago, RAGING SEA (4) had been in fine form. Following a solid display in scoring at Headquarters when he powered home, courtesy of a fine drive by Lucas Rando, in defeating Some Chevron and Vinkie B, with the former scoring since, Raging Sea lost it before the green light was activated when a 67m 7th to Major Major. Prepared by Scott Hewitt the 6yo son of Western Terror has drawn suitably and if he ‘plays the game’ from the outset, then this engagement appears to be suitable. The prized pole position awaits the Mat Rue-trained OURSWEETPOG (1) are with rookie sensation Jett Turnbull in the sulky, the mare is bound to be a contender for the top spot. An all-the-way winner at this venue five runs back, the daughter of Sweet Lou has been safely held since, with her latest run resulting in a creditable 8m 5th to Alta Downs at this venue. The 4yo drew deep and settled well-back on the pegs on that occasion. The far kinder draw will see Oursweetpog competitive from the outset. The talented MACH ASSASSIN (9) draws directly behind Oursweetpog and the Doug Hewitt-trained son of Mach Three will be hoping to secure a soft peg run as a result. Boasting two wins from his four starts this preparation, Mach Assassin is coming off a solid display in scoring here last week, with Sugar For My Honey and Vamos filling the minors. With five of his seven wins posted at this venue, Mach Assassin will have this race well in his sights. DANCE ADDITION (7) led in scoring at Wagga before having every chance when a 14.6m 6th to Neptune at Menangle last Tuesday. The 4yo mare has drawn wide but remains a threat. When it comes to multiple combinations ALTA DOWNS (10), JUNGLE BABY (8) and the Nathan Hurst duo of EAGLE COMMANDER (6) and TULHURST TERROR (5) also have claims.
RAGING SEA 1, Oursweetpog 2, Mach Assassin 3, Dance Addition 4.
Despite the presence of a back row draw, the Tony Bertwistle-conditioned ARDENS ACE (10) is a suitable investment in what appears to be an open contest. Following a win at Menangle back in September, Ardens Ace has faced the starter on 10 occasions and hasn’t finished further back than sixth, with four placings coming his way, three as runner-up in a photo finish. The reliable 5yo is coming off a 1.2m 3rd to Unfazed and Cya Art and despite the draw, the Art major gelding will find this an easier challenge. David Morris is bound to give Ardens Ace every chance to post another deserving victory. Luke McCarthy has been booked by Joe Conolly to take the reins behind ROCKET BOY (7), which has drawn wide but remains a major player. The son of Art Major has been mixing his form, with a solid 23m 3rd to Talent Agent, followed by a 23.9m 6th to that particular runner once again in the Christmas Gift Final two weeks ago. It will be interesting to see if Luke elects to ‘launch’ from the outset as Rocket Boy should find this to be a suitable assignment. Neil Day has BAXTER RED (1) racing in fine fashion and with Harrison Ross also driving with plenty of confidence, the trio are capable of enjoying further success, courtesy of drawing gate one. Baxter Red has two wins and three placings to show for his six starts for Neil, with the son of Well Said boasting a solid record on his previous home track as three wins and 13 placings have been recorded from 28 outings. SAILOR GIRL (2) has also drawn well in two and that will enable the Scott Hewitt-trained mare to be a threat from the outset. To be driven by Taylah Osmond the 5yo daughter of Sportswriter had been racing well, with a Menangle win coming her way three starts ago, prior to a 24.7m 8th to Talent Agent. Expect a far better showing from Sailor Girl this time around. MIGHTYATOM (3) has been consistent of late for Mat Rue and from three the son of Auckland Reactor can’t be dismissed as a threat while SIR SIMON (5), SIR RICHARD LEE (6) and ALLSTARZZZ FRANKIE (8) are capable of winning, without surprising. There should be value in playing the exotics.
ARDENS ACE 1, Rocket Boy 2, Baxter Red 3, Sailor Girl 4.
Nathan Turnbull will welcome to the track his star 3yo ON DEADLINE (11), which also looks to be the ‘best bet’ on the card, although ‘red figures’ will appear next to his name. Following a run of four wins, the latest a win in the South East Derby at Albion Park on July 8, On Deadline ended his Queensland sojourn with a 39m 10th to The Lost Storm in the G1 Queensland Derby when he was never a factor. Returning home for a deserving rest, the son of Sportswriter had had the benefit of a solid trial win and his ready to tackle this assignment with a high degree of confidence, and rightly so. Boast 12 wins from his 19 starts, On Deadline has eight wins and a second to show for his 11 appearances on his home track. The colt will be nine from a dozen after this race. The Jarrod Alchin-trained MY ULTIMATE CARTER (10) will loom as a worthy opponent as the son of Captaintreacherous is rarely far away when the judge calls a halt. My Ultimate Carter is coming off a 6.8m 2nd to Major Major at Menangle a couple of weeks ago when he attempted to dictate the terms from start to finish. The back row is a hurdle, however, with Cam Hart in the sulky, nothing is impossible. The Peter Rixon stable continues to enjoy success and WELL SAID NUGGET (7) is capable of producing another honest effort for the Pheasants Nest mentor. A run of four-consecutive placings was finally rewarded when the Well Said 3yo had the final say in matters when he accounted for Ripstone Snorter and Ideal Redemption at Penrith. The wide gate is a setback but the gelding is a suitable exotic player. Others to include in that regard are GOODOLDBOYSANDBEER (2), LINE ME UP BRO (4) and MIKIBEQUICK (5).
ON DEADLINE 1, My Ultimate Carter 2, Well Said Nugget 3, Mikibequick 4.
This event honours the late Shirley Turnbull and a star-studded field has been assembled to respect her memory. MACH DA VINCI (12) has been racing in outstanding form in recent months, highlighted by his brilliant win in the Kevin Robinson FFA at Headquarters back on October 21. With Jim Douglass timing his run to perfection, the Peter Hanson-trained 6yo powered home in defeating Our Money Rocks, which did a fine job throughout the recently conducted Inter Dominion series while Tasty Delight grabbed third. The brilliant mare Braeview Kelly filled fourth spot. But, in greeting the judge, Mach Da Vinci recorded a PB time of 1:49.4. Recently, Mach Da Vinci has been placed in the Nick Robin FFA, the Lachlan Valley Cup at Cowra, the Tony Turnbull FFA while his latest run was a solid 2.6m 3rd to Taipo and Magician in the Brian Hancock FFA. Two starts back he defeated The Croupier and Wow Hes A Rock Star. Hard to fault or ignore that form for this event. Jack Callaghan has been booked for Mach Da Vinci and also his main rival and a long standing mate of Jack’s, ALTA ORLANDO (6). It will be interesting to see which horse the classy driver elects to partner. ALTA ORLANDO (6), like Mach Da Vinci, will also relish the 2790m of the Bathurst circuit. The Belinda McCarthy-conditioned veteran last greeted the judge back in mid-May, and from his eight starts since resuming, has managed four placings, all resulting in third ‘best’, but always in good company. The 11yo son of Courage Under Fire is coming off a 13.4m 4th to Star Major at Menangle when he did appear to have every chance in the one-one. Back in the ‘sixties’ The Righteous Brothers, they weren’t really brothers, had a huge hit with ‘You’ve lost that loving feeling’, still stands the test of time to this day. The concern with Alta Orlando is whether he has lost that ‘’winning feeling’. It may pay to give him another chance to record the 27th win of his career, which has spanned 154- starts so far, for 26 wins and 62 placings. Alta Orlando won this event back in 2019, defeating a top-class field which included Our Uncle Sam, which won the 2020 version, My Field Marshall and Tiger Tara. Alta Orlando finished down the track when Our Uncle Sam greeted the judge in 2020. Jason Grimson will be represented by CYA ART (4), with the ’Wilberforce Wizard’ Jack Brown taking the reins behind the former Kiwi. The son of Art Major has been runner-up in all three runs for the stable, commencing with a head defeat behind Don’t Stop Dreaming at Addington on November 14 when heavily backed. The 5yo the crossed the Tasman, with a head 2nd to Max Delight in the Cherry City cup at young, followed by a gritty, narrow defeat to unfazed at Menangle. Suitably drawn Cya Art will give a good account and with Jack driving in fine fashion, the gelding is capable of going one better. FIRESTORM RED (10) wasn’t disgraced when a 7m 8th to Taipo at Menangle recently, and with his form prior to that outing also respectable, the 7yo is entitled to be included as a value threat. TAIPO (11) was able to lead throughout in taking out the Brian Hancock FFA, defeating a brave Magician with Mach Da Vinci grabbing third. The back row draw comes into play, however, the Brad Hewitt trained and driven 6yo is more than capable of playing an active role in the finish. Exotic contenders include BALRAJ (1), with the pole and a higher level of fitness assisting his claims, along with the honest performer PETES SAID SO (14), which is coming off a 20.6m 8th to Leap To Fame in the Inter Dominion Grand Final. The back row draw is a setback, but his form in the heats was too good to ignore when forming multiple transactions.
MACH DA VINCI 1, Alta Orlando 2, Cya Art 3, Firestorm Red 4.
The Sam Hewitt trained and driven OHANA DANCER (3) has the chance to enjoy further success after the consistent daughter of For A Reason drew suitably in three. After chalking up a run of runner-up roles at Canberra (twice) and Goulburn, the filly broke through for a deserving win at Penrith when she was untroubled in leading throughout in defeating Mini Me and Well Said Nugget, with the particular duo winning at their next assignments, so that adds further merit to the win. Ohana Dancer was then narrowly beaten by My Crackling Rosie at Goulburn. Sam will have the filly in the firing line from the outset so respect her claims. DREAMTIME NALA (1) is bound to make her presence felt after the Nathan Turnbull-trained daughter of Sweet Lou came up with gate one. Third behind Platinum Jewel and Santuzza Art at this venue, Dreamtime Nala drew the back row for her next assignment a week ago when she worked home stoutly in recording an 18.2m 2nd, again behind Platinum Jewel. Amanda Turnbull will again have the driving duties and with the prospect of being in the mix from the outset, Dreamtime Nala is poised to be a serious player. BETTING JEWEL (6) has also been placed in her past two Bathurst encounters, the latter when a 2.5m 3rd to The Rogue I Am a couple of weeks ago. The consistent daughter of Betting Line appeals as a likely threat. OLIVIA SHANNON (10) has drawn the back row but her for is acceptable for a race of this nature. Prepared by Aaron Williams the 6yo daughter of Live Or Die overcame a back row draw in scoring at Dubbo, prior to being beaten in a photo by Smiling Shandy at that venue three weeks back. Despite the draw the mare remains a contender. ALWAYSBMINNIE (2) will create plenty of attention at her first outing since finishing last to Draw A Dream in a semi-final of the Vicbred Series for 2yo fillies at Melton back in September. The Russell Reynolds-trained daughter of Always B Miki was well-beaten in a Bathurst trial, but the 2yo can’t be overlooked after drawing well in a tough and open race. Suitable players for exotic investments are KISSED BY A ROSE (11) and LEAH SHANNON (7).
OHANA DANCER 1, Dreamtime Nala 2, Betting Jewel 3, Olivia Shannon 4.
Unbeaten in three runs on this side of the Tasman, following four placings from a dozen starts back home, former Kiwi WORKS FOR ME (8) again looks the one to beat. Now a member of the Anthony Frisby team, the daughter of Bettors Delight has been untroubled in greeting the judge, scoring by big margins on each occasions. After taking out the Soldiers Saddle Final at this venue, Works For Me led in defeating Saveeon and Sporty Mary in the Red Ochre Classic at Dubbo on December 15. The filly has been drawing ideally to date, but draws the outside gate in the field of eight. However, that won’t be major concern for Works For Me as Anthony is bound to go in search and find the lead role. From that point onwards, Works For me will be well on her way to stretching her winning sequence. The Ash Grives trained and driven SAVEEON (7) looms as the only possible obstacle standing between Works For Me and the winning post. After a slow start to her latest term of racing, Saveeon has been placed in her past three engagements, the latest when she worked from a back row draw in finding the role outside of Works For Me in the Red Ochre Classic at Dubbo. Although beaten 7.5m, the daughter of Warrawee Needy was game in defeat. The filly has always shown plenty of ability and is capable of turning the tables on the favourite with a kinder run. TUKURUA (5) is coming off a solid win at Goulburn and heads the list of runners when it comes to a minor role in the finish. NOVA JO (3) and PLEASE DONT ASK (4) are also in contention when it comes to forming multiple transactions.
WORKS FOR ME 1, Saveeon 2, Tukurua 3, Nova Jo 4.
The Bernie Hewitt-prepared SARGEANT (7) has bright prospects in an open contest. The son of American Ideal overcame a back row draw in defeating Betting Jewel and Take Out at this venue three weeks ago, then again had a similar draw in working home stoutly in posting a sound 4.9m 4th to Alta Downs last week in what was a harder assignment. A wise draw awaits the 3yo, but his form is good enough to greet the judge. The consistent EAGLE ART (9) won back-to-back races a few months ago before going on a run of minor placings. Prepared by Steve Turnbull and to be driven by his son Mitch, the mare has been placed in eight of her subsequent 11 starts, with the daughter of Fly Like An Eagle finishing fourth on the other three occasions. That is a model of consistency. Drawn on the inside of the second row, Eagle Art will again be in the mix when the judge calls a halt. TAKE OUT (4 ) has also been competitive on a regular basis and is coming off a gritty 3, 2nd to Special Spin at Bathurst a week ago when she led. Handily drawn again, the 4yo Well Said gelding is capable of another bold showing. CRUZ WITH ROME (3) has been mixing his form of late but the return to a suitable draw will enhance his claims of giving a good account. MACS DUDE (2) is capable of assisting when it comes to exotic combinations while SATELLITE SIMBA (8) returns from a spell after a sound Bathurst trial so also include the For A Reason 3yo. Last-start Dubbo winner ROLL THE SEVEN (10) led in scoring on that occasions and although the back row adds to the degree of difficulty, don’t ignore his claims.
SARGEANT 1, Eagle Art 2, Take Out 3, Cruz With Rome 4.
Tricky race to end proceedings with just six runners, with the Steve Turnbull-trained MISTERFOURTHOUSAND (5) the one to beat. Boasting a handy record on his home track, which includes three wins and four placings from nine starts, the 2yo son of Warrawee Needy contested the NSWBC series, making it through to the semi-final at Menangle back in mid-October, only to finish a 32.3m 9th to the classy Nathan Street. Contesting a heat of the Regional Series, Misterfourthousand posted a sound 9.2m 3rd to the talented Royal Cruiser, prior to a 28.7m 6th to that same pacer in the Final at Bathurst on December 6. This will be a far easier challenge for the gelding and he should prove to be a standout when it comes to the multiples. Ash Grives will provide the two main dangers, commencing with SUWALI (2) then WAHAKA (4). Suwali has been unplaced in all four starts, however, the Control The Moment youngster is coming off an improved effort when a 5.2m 4th to Cala Jewel. The move from the inside of the second row to gate two is a plus so expect another solid display. WAHAKA posted his first win after eight previous attempts when he led in defeating Ideal Timing and Missus Nesbitt last week. Yet to make a decision on which juvenile she will drive, which way Ash goes will be an important guide. LIMBO LENNY (3) managed to overcome a second line draw when successful at Dubbo a couple of weeks ago and courtesy of a useful draw for this encounter the Bling It On gelding warrants more than a passing thought.
MISTERFOURTHOUSAND 1, Suwali 2, Wahaka 3, Limbo Lenny 4.
– FORM ASSESSED BY MIKE KO’CASS