• Racing Tips
    Take the ‘Knock’ and stick with the class at Menangle this weekend Take the ‘Knock’ and stick with the class at Menangle this weekend

    WINNING TEAM: Swayzee, Cameron Hart and trainer Jason Grimson.

    RACE ONE: Small in numbers, but overflowing with class, that sums up the eight-event card, with the return to racing in the opening event... Take the ‘Knock’ and stick with the class at Menangle this weekend

    RACE ONE:

    Small in numbers, but overflowing with class, that sums up the eight-event card, with the return to racing in the opening event by CAPTAINS KNOCK (9) being one of those exciting performers on the night. Prepared by Brad Hewitt, who will also take the reins, the multi-award winning son of Captaintreacherous will be stepping out for his first assignment since recording an 8.9m 4th to the brilliant Kiwi Its Merlin in the G2 Light Horse FFA on Miracle Mile night, March 9. That performance was posted a week after the 4yo worked home stylishly in recording a 2.5m 3rd behind Frankie Ferocious and Sooner The Bettor in the G1 Chariots of Fire. Currently a $9.00 chance for the $2m Eureka, which has the David Hewitt-conditioned Extreme Sea a surprising $3.00 equal favourite Frankie Ferocious in early markets, Captains Knock will commence his build towards further glory on the back of two solid trials, the first resulting in a comfortable 3rd at Goulburn while the latter was a gritty, narrow win at Menangle over the former Kiwi Hesashorething, which will be close to a ‘sure thing’, when he debuts for Jason Grimson. The margin was only a head, however, Brad had a good hold off the reins as the final 400m was covered in 26.2. A wide gate awaits Captains Knock, so it will be interesting to see how the Goulburn combination attacks the opening 400m of the 1609m challenge. Regardless, Captains Knock will take a power of beating. The only threat will come from NO HEART THROB (8), which is one of a number of runners that have been transferred from the stables of Jack Trainor to Jason Grimson. No Heart Throb  contested eight races while under Jack’s care, winning seven and being placed on the other occasion. The 4yo son of Sweet Lou enjoyed a kind, stalking role, courtesy of Cam Hart, when he finished strongly in defeating another Brad Hewitt runner in Bluto a couple of weeks ago. No Heart Throb will be driven by Jack Trainor, who will be keen to occupy a prominent role with the bay in the hope of taking advantage of his higher level of fitness. The consistent JILLIBY NITRO (7) scored here five starts ago, and has been placed in three of his four starts since, the latest when a gritty 5.4m 3rd to Pas Guarantee last week. Expect another competitive showing while UNFAZED (1) returns from a spell from the outside gate, but the consistent Paul Fitzpatrick-trained 7yo has had the benefit of two trials so include the son of Auckland Reactor in the multiples. Others to consider include PORT AU PRINCE (10) and BOOM (2), despite his inconsistent efforts of late as the draw will be a big plus.

    CAPTAINS KNOCK 1, No Heart Throb 2, Jilliby Nitro 3, Unfazed 4.

    RACE TWO:

    In one of the more open races on the card, as there will be a handful of short-priced favourites go around, MY ULTIMATE SNOWY (10), despite drawing the outside gate, warrants attention. Prepared by Jarrod Alchin and to be driven by Cam Hart, the talented son of Sweet Lou posted back-to-back wins at Headquarters before bumping into a ‘high flying’ Extreme Sea in two Regional Championships at Menangle, recording a 27.3m 3rd and a 30.2m 4th, respectively. And to be fair to the son of Sweet Lou, Extreme Sea did win by huge margins on each occasion. This will be a suitable challenge for the consistent 4yo, who dies boasts eight wins and seven placings from his 21 engagements. Suitably drawn in gate two is the Kevin Pizzuto-conditioned AMORE INFIDA (2), which is coming off a ‘forgive’ outing at this venue a week ago. Midfield to the home turn, then three wide and four deep soon after straightening, the 4to mare was just starting to work into the contest when she struck trouble and lost all chance in finishing a 19.9m 8th to Little Bliss. Prior to that outing the daughter of Captaintreacherous had been racing with confidence and with the draw being a plus, Amore Infida is definitely worthy of another chance. The consistent HAS THE COURAGE (6) been placed in four of his past six assignments while finishing fourth on the other two occasions. The 9yo son of Courage Under Fire led when a gritty 4.7m 3rd behind Van Basten, which has won easily since, prior to a solid 2.2m 2nd to Windy Hill Tara last week. While winning just one race at Headquarters from 70 attempts is a concern, Has The Courage has collected 19 placings and a number of close efforts when just behind the place-getters. That makes him a possible threat and definitely a runner to include when forming multiple transactions. VINKE B (4) led when a fading 7.9m 5th behind Windy Hill Tara last week. Prior to that run the son of Vincent had recorded a win and four placings from his previous five runs since a spell so keep the 4yo in mind when it comes to the multiples. SWEET COCO (1). Which is another Jack Trainor runner heading to the stables of Jason Grimson, is the ‘x-factor’ as the former Kiwi looks to mend her manners and produce a competitive showing, which from all reports, she is more than capable of achieving. Starting favourite when on debut for Jack, Sweet Coco posted a 21m 9th to Zenxena, then at Menangle last week, galloped out and lost all chance when a well-beaten last to Little Bliss. On both occasions the 4yo daughter of Sweet Lou has been in the market. It could pay to keep her in the mix at this stage. SHEFFIELD SPARKY (5) has been thereabouts on a regular basis and is another suitable exotic runner, along with OURTREACHEROUS REIGN (7) and OUTSIDE FIGHTER (8), the latter coming off a disappointing 8.8m 9th to Windy Hill Tara, however, his form prior to that run had been sound.

    MY ULTIMATE SNOWY 1, Amore Infida 2, Has The Courage 3, Vinke B 4.

    RACE THREE:

    Jason Grimson-prepared runners look set to dominant the meeting and the former Kiwi HESASHORETHING (2) is likely to be one of those runners which will be greeting the judge. Arriving on these shores with 67 starts to his credit, the son of Somebeachsomewhere has recorded eight wins and 10 placings, with his latest outing resulting in a last to Smoke On The Water at Alexandra Park on April 26. Leading in his trial outing, Hesashorething was stalked by Captains Knock for the majority of the trial, prior to the pair coming together on straightening for home. The former Kiwi was ‘flicked’ along by Bailey McDonough while Brad Hewitt was cool., calm and collected in the sulky. The 6yo covered the final 400m in 26.2 and over the final 100m, Bailey did was also kind to the entire. So there was plenty of merit in both performances. From gate two Hesashorething is likely to be taken straight to the front by Jack Callaghan and that should be enough to see the pair home. The 2300m first-up shouldn’t be a concern as the opening 800m of these events and usually run at a sedate tempo anyway. The main threat will come from a fit and in-form CLASSY OPERATOR (5). Prepared and to be driven by Seaton Grima, who is enjoying a good run of late, the 5yo son of Bettors Delight has won his past three and four of his past five, so he knows how to get the job done. Classy Operator has led in greeting the judge and Seaton enjoys nothing better than dictating the terms and, that will be high on his list of priorities heading into this race, as Classy Operator will also have a fitness edge over his main rival. LOUS DREAM (9) continues to be thereabouts, but is finding it hard to break back in to the top spot after resuming from a spell with a win here back in late January. The 4yo is coming off a useful 8.3m 4th to Classy Operator a couple of weeks ago and despite the wide draw, claims as an exotic runner should be considered. FOXY DADA (6) is also racing well and is deserving of further consideration when it comes to multiple transactions. RYANS GANSTER (4), DANCE AND DELIVER (8) and TERRYRAMA (3) remain in the mix as value players for the exotics.

    HESASHORETHING 1, Classy Operator 2, Lous Dream 3, Foxy Dada 4.

    RACE FOUR:

    This is another open race and although he has been tipped and beaten recently, OUR UNCLE JIM (7) again gets the nod in the hope he can go one better on his latest effort. Prepared by Leon Jurd and to be driven by Chris Geary, who is driving well, the son of Western Terror hit the line gamely last time out in recording a 2.2m 2nd to Nicholas Cage two weeks ago. The 8yo has been thereabouts on a regular basis in working home gamely from rearward positions. Hopefully, Chris may be able to secure a role for Our Uncle Jim a spot or two closer to the action and that will see the pair challenging for the top spot. TITIAN RAIDER (6) has a similar story to tell with the Harry Martin-trained son of Sunshine Beach in the mix of late, without being a serious factor when the judge calls a halt. To be driven by Glenn McElhinney, the 6yo did his fair share of work when a gritty 7m 3rd to Prince Of Peace at Penrith recently. Back to his home track and confronted by a suitable assignment, Titian Raider is capable of giving this race a shake. KAITOA (1) strips fitter for three runs since a spell and with gate one being a big plus, the Kristie O’Sullivan-trained son of For A Reason is worthy of keeping safe. Safely held in each of his opening two runs this time in, Kaitoa ran an improved race here last week when an 8m 6th to Windy Hill Tara. Driver Dean Cernovskis had Kaitoa three pegs, prior to leaving the makers on straightening in search of a clear run. That didn’t eventuate until well into the straight. Better luck in running this time should result in Kaitoa running a bold race at odds. ROBBIE ROCKET (9) will be required to overcome the outside gate, but the 6yo is racing well enough to consider as a threat. Fifth, beaten 4.4m by Little Bliss two starts ago, the son of Follow The Stars then worked home stoutly from a rearward role in posting a pleasing 7m 4th to Nicholas Cage two weeks ago. Although Robbie Rocket has greeted the judge since scoring at Gloucester Park back in November/2022, he should be included in the main bracket of chances in this field. DARK TERROR (8) has again drawn deep and while his form has been mixed of late,  the 8yo is capable of a far more productive effort so don’t ignore his claims. OUR IDEAL DREAM (2) had been racing consistently before breaking when a 17m 7th to Beancounter at Newcastle last week. The Clayton Harmey-conditioned 5yo had been racing consistently before that outing and with an ideal draw next to his name, the son of American Ideal is capable of being a contender. LOCHIEL (5) has been mixing his form but when it comes to exotic transactions, the son of Lincoln Royal should be given consideration.

    OUR UNCLE JIM 1, Titian Raider 2, Kaitoa 3, Robbie Rocket 4.

    RACE FIVE:

    The Jason Grimson-trained SWAYZEE (8) will step out for his second assignment since a spell and barring bad luck, the exciting 6yo will head north for the upcoming Winter Carnival ready to make his presence felt in all of the upcoming feature events. Spelled after his gallant 11.5m 3rd to Leap To Fame in the Inter Dominion Grand Final at Albion Park last December, Swayzee resumed with a 2m win over Simply Sam and Max Delight, with the odds-on elect dictating the terms for the majority of the 2300m journey. Showing plenty of fight over the final 100m when under attack, Swayzee will naturally strip fitter, so he automatically becomes far more lethal and harder to beat. The trip remains the same, and, once again the son of Rock N Roll Heaven has drawn the outside gate, but it is eight and not 10, so that is also a plus. Cam Hart will again partner Swayzee and the State’s leading reinsman will again be out to dictate the terms from start to finish. That will result in Swayzee winning seven of his eight Menangle starts while being placed on the other occasion. The KerryAnn Morris-conditioned KANENA PROVLIMA (5) returned to racing last week and did a fine job in recording a gritty 9.6m 3rd to another classy type for the Grimson barn in Hi Manameisjeff. Stepping out for his first engagement since a 17.3m last to Its Merlin in the G2 Light Horse FFA on March 9, the 8yo will also strip fitter following a creditable term of racing, mostly against quality opposition. FIRE FOX (4), like Kanena Provlima, resumed in the race won by Hi Manameisjeff, but from the outside gate was never in the hunt in finishing a 29.4m ninth. The 7yo son of Sweet Lou had previously won two of his four starts since joining the Seaton Grima team, and with that run under his belt, plus the move from gate 10 to four, Fire Fox is capable of a far more productive effort so include him when forming exotic transactions. MALCOLMS RHYTHM (3) celebrated his 100th start with a 16.5m 5th to Swayzee a couple of weeks ago, following a solid 1.5m 3rd to Taipo. Suitably drawn, the 8yo son of Art Major should be linked to multiple transactions. WHEREYABINBOPPIN (6), which will be driven by Taylah Osmond, has been mixing his form of late, however, the James Rattray-trained 8yo is again capable of being in the mix when the judge calls a halt.

    SWAYZEE 1, Kanena Provlima 2, Fire Fox 3, Malcolms Rhythm 4.

    RACE SIX:

    Exciting prospect AARDIES EXPRESS (5) returns to racing, but this time around the star mare will be under the care of Jason Grimson and not Jack Trainor, although Jack will be in the sulky. The former Kiwi had two starts under Jack’s astute guidance, winning the G3 Sibelia in fine style, accounting for Illavabubbles and Promiseland in the process. The 5yo daughter of Always B Miki then faced a tougher test when she faced the starter for the G1 Queen Elizabeth 11 on May 4. Drawing wide and being trapped three deep, with cover, for most of the 1609m assignment, Aardies Express powered home to defeat the champion mare Ladies In Red by the neck margin. Ladies In Red had a far more comfortable trip out front. Stamping herself as a future star, if she already hasn’t, Aardies Express has drawn handily in five, and although the mare hasn’t been to the trials, she will attack this race fresh and as the one to beat. It will take a big effort to prevent her from again greeting the judge. Aardies Express will have her two new stablemates in ILLAVABUBBLES (3) and TAY TAY (6) as the likely pair to fill the minors. ILLAVABUBBLES (3) has already attempted to keep Aardies Express from the top spot, but, despite being unable to do so, the Always B Miki has been game in defeat. Following a 2.6m 2nd in the G3 Sibelia, the 5yo then enjoyed a kind run behind Ladies In Red when a 4m 3rd in the G1 Queen Elizabeth with Chloe Formosa in the sulky. Jack Brown will take the reins on this occasion and is likely to eye-off the position behind the leader once again. And that should be Aardies Express. TAY TAY (6) ended a run of six unplaced performances since a spell when she began swiftly from the outset gate in dictating the terms, en route to another number one hit in defeating Ardens Delight and Im Presi Belle. The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven will be confronted by a harder task, however, that confidence-boosting display will assist the mare in  her quest for another competitive display. IM PRESI BELLE (4) is coming off a 14m 3rd to Tay Tay and while the task becomes a lot harder, the 6yo daughter of Mach Three is entitled to be included when forming exotic transactions. LITTLE BLISS (2) has won two of her past three and while this class will test, the honest daughter of Art Major is a value chance in multiple discussions.

    AARDIES EXPRESS 1, Illavabubbles 2, Tay Tay 3, Im Presi Belle 4.

    RACE SEVEN:

    Boasting plenty of talent, but also unpredictable, MAXIMUS MERIDIUS (7) will be looking to end a run of unplaced appearances when he faces the starter in when would normally be a suitable assignment. The winner of eight of his 15 starts, with six of those victories recorded at this venue, the Dean and Kerry McDowell-trained 3yo greeted the judge back in March when he comfortably accounted for Karakajack Tooth and Tarentaise. The son of Sebastian K then recorded two well-beaten efforts after galloping out from behind the mobile and losing all chance. Contesting the G1 NSW Trotters Derby on May 11, Maximus Meridius started from the outside gate in gradually working across the face of the field in finding the lead. Still giving plenty of cheek on straightening for home, Maximus Meridius faded on his run in recording a 23.2m 4th to the outstanding prospect, Keayang Zahara. The effort was creditable and a repeat of that display would see him giving this a big shake. CENTURION DREAM (5) followed a hat-trick of placings, which culminated in a 7.6m 2nd to Ajay Volstead at this venue on April 23, with a 34.2m 7th to Keayang Zahara in the G1 NSW Trotters Oaks a month ago. The Rebecca Morrissey-conditioned 3yo filly has drawn handily and Rickie Alchin will be looking to position the daughter of Centurion ATM close to the action from the outset. Jarrod Alchin has KARAKAJACK TOOTH (6) racing consistently and with the in-form Will Rixon in the sulky, the daughter of Volstead is again capable of being involved in the finish. The 3yo has won her past two starts, both at Headquarters, the latter when  rated to perfection by Cam Hart in defeating Down Under Earl and Phoebe Majestic. Cam Hart will drive MY ULTIMATE SUNNY (3), which is also a member of the Jarrod Alchin team. The Majestic Son colt debuted with a comfortable all-the-way win at Menangle recently, defeating Prohibited Love and Titan Stride. Suitably drawn in three and improved by the experience, My Ultimate Sunny can’t be taken lightly and the fact that Cam has elected to stick with him over Karakajack Tooth is a good guide. MALIBUU (1) scored here on Tuesday, giving Zara Fitzpatrick her first win at Headquarters. Prepared by Lisa Fitzpatrick and to be driven by ‘hubby’ Blake this time around, the Sebastian K filly must be included in the mix after drawing the pole. IMPACT STRIDE (2) debuted with a win at Menangle on April 2 and has been unplaced, but not disgraced in his two subsequent outings. The colt has drawn ideally and is at least worthy of consideration when it comes to multiple transactions. MILITARY MERIT (8 ) has been to the trials on five occasions in readiness for his first run since finishing a distant last to Derek The Jet in the Nutrien 3YO C&G’s Trot Final at Melton on April 20. Two have resulted in placings but in this company he again looks safely held.

    MAXIMUS MERIDIUS 1, Centurion Dream 2, Karakajack Tooth 3, My Ultimate Sunny 4.

    RACE EIGHT:

    Following a hat-trick of stylish wins at Menangle, ROYAL DAN (5) is poised to continue on his winning way. The classy 5yo has dictated the terms on each occasion, the opening two wins over the sprint trip while his latest display was over the 2300m, with that journey again in play for this assignment. In his latest win a couple of weeks ago, the son of Orlando Vici accounted for Majestic Trio and Sunny Gee. Jack Callaghan has been in the sulky for his past two wins, and he will again partner Royal Dan, with the pair looking to again break the spirits of their rivals when the raise the stakes nearing the home turn. LONDON TO A BRICK (4) strips fitter following a disappointing return to racing when he broke in finishing a distant last to Royal Dan two weeks ago. Boasting plenty of raw ability, the son of Bettors Delight went on a winning spree when he collected his eight career wins in the space of ten starts, with a second included. However, prior and after the now 4yo has been at times a ‘hit and miss’ type, no doubt frustrating his trainer and driver James Rattray who has always been a staunch supporter of this gelding. There is no doubt that if a focused London To A Brick faces the starter, then he is more than capable of giving Royal Dan a run for his money. CALIGULA (6) is also possessed with plenty of talent, but can be particularly good one day and moderate the next. Placed behind Doff You Cap on consecutive occasions at Headquarters last October and November, respectively, the son of Majestic Son resumed last week when he wasn’t in the mood, resulting in a 33.7m 7th to Chief Runningcloud. That was a stand and Caligula did have a 30m handicap to overcome. Fitter and back to a 1609m mobile event and, the 8yo is capable of being involved in the finish. At least include him when it comes to multiple transactions. SUNNY GEE (3) had been racing consistently before a distant 9th to Chief Runningcloud, with the 7yo also better suited by the mobile and the good draw, which makes him a handy type to include as a value player in the exotics.

    ROYAL DAN 1, London To A Brick 2, Caligula 3, Sunny Gee 4.

      – FORM ASSESSED BY MIKE KO’CASS

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