March 30, 2023 Michael Court
Tough and open contest to ‘kick-off’ proceedings and courtesy of drawing handily in four, the Joe Conolly-trained DOUBTLESS BAY (4) is worthy of an investment. The 6yo son of Bettors Delight started a $100.00 chance a couple of weeks ago when he was never a threat in finishing 9th to the classy Abouttime. However, prior to that run Doubtless Bay enjoyed a kind run behind the leader, prior to finishing a shade too well for Spirit And Soul and Wow Hes A Rock Star. Returning to a suitable challenge, and from a far better draw, compared to his latest outing, Doubtless Bay should have every chance presented to him by Seaton Grima, who will be looking to enjoy some success after seven unplaced drives at Ouyen last Sunday. Also set to enjoy the return to a suitable starting role is the Darren Binskin trained and driven TUPPENCE (3). The son of Lincoln Royal has been unplaced in his past nine starts, following a win at Menangle back in late September/2022. However, the past six efforts of Tuppence have been pleasing in that the 5yo has been placed twice while finishing just behind the placed runners on four occasions. So his recent form isn’t as bad as it first appears. A week ago, Tuppence came from a five peg role in posting a useful 18.5m 4th to Last Tango In Heaven, which kept the field running, courtesy of a dashing drive by KerryAnn Morris. A closer, stalking role will enable Tuppence to be a serious threat. Coming off an improved run a week ago, RANGER BOMB (5) stays in the mix for holidaying mentor Jack Trainor. In-form youngster Jack Brown will take over from the ‘boss’ following the 6yo’s closing 3rd to Last Tango In Heaven and Wow Hes A Rock Star. The improvement earnt the son of Sportswriter a reprieve from having a change of address. MAJOR JELLIS (7) has been safely held in each of his past two starts, but a on his form prior, the Art Major 6yo is capable of being involved in the finish so don’t write him off. Exotic players should consider DOUBLE ENCOUNTER (1), FIRESTORM RED (2) and LITTLE BLISS (11).
DOUBTLESS BAY 1, Tuppence 2, Ranger Bomb 3, Major Jellis 4.
Despite the presence of a wide gate, TEAGAN BANNER (10) remains the one to beat following a stylish display a week ago in defeating Double Act and Heaven On High in the Autumn Gift Final. Driven to perfection by Cam Hart, which you expect these days, the Jason Grimson-trained son of Art Major arrived in time to record his first win for the stable since making the move from Queensland. His previous two runs resulted in solid placings. The Harry Martin-conditioned DOUBLE ACT (3) again looks the one for Teagan Banner to run down. Rated to perfection by David Morris last week, the son of Heston Blue Chip was gallant in defeat, with Dave’s drive worthy of a better result. Double Act did defeat Heaven On High and Teagan Banner in a heat of the Autumn Gift so he is capable of a repeat performance from gate three. EMMAS BOY (6) has won two of his three starts since crossing the Tasman and joining the Goulburn stables of Brad Hewitt. The son of Terror To Love is coming off a narrow, but solid win over Ardens Ace and Red Reactor, and although meeting a stronger line-up, the 6yo gives every indication he is more than capable of handling this assignment. TRIPLE FOUR (11), who is a stablemate of Emmas Boy, has the outside gate to overcome, however, the consistent son of American Ideal can’t be taken lightly. Coming from a midfield peg role in the Autumn Gift Final a week ago, Triple Four posted a pleasing 7m 4th behind Teagan Banner. When it comes to multiple investments ROCK OF DELIGHT (2), who continues to be around the mark, must be included after drawing well, along with HAZELNUTS (1), LOCHIEL (5) and HE BETTOR STEP ASIDE (8).
TEAGAN BANNER 1, Double Act 2, Emmas Boy 3, Triple Four 4.
One of the ‘better bets’ on the card appears in this event, with ABOUTTIME (9) looking to go back-to-back after an impressive and dominant display a couple of weeks ago. Safely held in an assignment at Young when 5th to stablemate Sicario, Abouttime appreciated the return to the bigger track when he led from start-to-finish in easily defeating Joe Nien and Gliding Away, the latter scoring in fine fashion at his next start. Abouttime has again drawn wide but the 7yo will again take a power of beating, with Jack Brown taking over the driving duties to his claim. The consistent JIMARTEE (8) will again give a good account for trainer Noel Hatcher and drive Will Rixon. A deserving winner at Headquarters two starts back when he led throughout, the 6yo son Sportswriter then had little luck a week ago when five pegs and, held up for a run, when a closing 8m 4th behind Gliding Away. Restrained at the start after drawing nine, Jimartee has drawn one spot closer to the markers, but Will is again likely to keep his ‘power dry’ until the long straight comes into play. WOW HES A ROCK STAR (7) is always capable of ‘bobbing up’ in a race of this nature. The Blake Fitzpatrick trained and driven 5yo tried hard to peg back Last Tango In Heaven last week, but had to settle for a game 2.3m 2nd to the all-the-way winner, who carved out the last two sectionals in 26.6 and 26.4 in a bold display of front-running. JOE NIEN (11) is deserving of another trip to the winners’ circle after being placed in four of his five starts since here back in late November. The 8yo son of Shadow Play has been runner-up in each of his past two, firstly, behind Loyalist then a couple of weeks ago in chasing home Abouttime. Joe Nien has drawn the outside gate, which is a concern, but Jack Callaghan is bound to driven him with a high degree of patience before bringing him into the race when heads are turned for home. LAST TANGO IN HEAVEN (10) drew ideally in three last week and was able to take full advantage of the situation in leading throughout, courtesy of an aggressive drive by trainer, KerryAnn Morris. The 5yo has drawn a lot deeper this time and will be confronted by a harder line-up, but another bold showing can be expected now that he has tasted success for the stable since coming over from NZ. Another former Kiwi in TAIPO (3) debuted for the Brad Hewitt stable with a solid win here back on Feb 11, and although the 6yo will be confronted by a harder assignment, the good draw will assist in him in an attempt to assist as an exotic player. SPIRIT AND SOUL (2) and RED REACTOR (1), courtesy of drawing well, also have claims when it comes to multiple transactions.
ABOUTTIME 1, Jimartee 2, Wow Hes A Rock Star 3, Joe Nien 4.
Coming off a dominant win at this venue a couple of weeks ago, JO AN JO (6) will head around to the start as the one to beat once again. Having her third run for Jason Grimson, the former Emma Stewart-trained mare overcame a wide gate, then a three wide trip into the role outside of the leader, in proving too good for Patsy Valentine and Captains Queen in the Go Girlfriend Final. With her level of fitness now peaking, following those three assignments, and a slightly better draw, Jo An Jo looks poised to record the seventh win if her career and in the process continue the recent, outstanding winning strike rate being enjoyed by Grimson and Cam Hart. The Brad Hewitt trained and driven mare ANNA LOVE (5) is bound to keep Jo An Jo hones. A daughter of the champion Kiwi Terror To Love, the 4yo has had four runs since crossing the Tasman, scoring first-up at Wagga before breaking at the start in finishing a distant last behind her talented stablemate, and another former Kiwi in Loubowski. Focused from the outset for her next assignment, a heat of the Honouree, Anna Love progressed to the Final on Crown night with an effortless and stylish win. Despite drawing the back row last Saturday night, Anna Love was in the ‘red’ and after dashing around the field when troubled unfolded, the mare was left well in front, but a shade too early, which enabled Joetomo to grab victory in the shadows of the post. Handily drawn and bound to be prominent from the outset, Anna Love will no doubt be pro-active in the finish. Former Victorian COMMON COURTESY (11) has drawn the outside gate for her first assignment since heading north to be prepared by Darren Binskin. Following a win at Melton when successful over Steel Screens and The Raconteur, the 6yo daughter of Tintin in America was unable to make her presence felt from a back row draw when a 29.7m 7th to Imperials Reason, again at Melton, back on March 4. The mare should be linked to exotic combinations, along with OH DADDY (8), SHANLOU (4) and SWEET PARIS (1), the trio all bound to start at appealing odds.
JO AN JO 1, Anna Love 2, Common Courtesy 3, Oh Daddy 4.
The Jason Grimson stable holds the key to this races as last-start winners FIRE FOX (10) and BETTERZIPPIT (9) are more than capable of fighting out the finish. Following solid placings in five of his previous six starts, the classy FIRE FOX broke through for a deserving win when he powered past his rivals a week ago in greeting the judge in fine fashion. It was left to a fast-finishing Sahara Sirocco to nab second while dual Miracle Mile runner-up Spirit Of St Louis crossing the line an unlucky third. Cam Hart has been the regular partner of Fire Fox of late, but Cam has elected to take the reins behind BETTERZIPPIT (9), leaving the in-form Will Rixon to jump into the bike behind Fire Fox. From the outside gate, will Will drive the son of Sweet Lou in a similar, cool, calm and collected fashion ? BETTERZIPPIT has won four of his past five, his failure coming in the G2 Schweppes Sprint when a 13.5m 9th to Spirit Of St Louis when he had little luck. The 5yo then came a week later, after missing out on a spot in the Miracle Mile, and led in narrowly defeating Perfect Stride and Loyalist. Cam will no doubt like to have Betterzippit in the mix from the outset. Capable of splitting the Jason Grimson pair is the Jack Trainor-prepared HULI NIEN (4), which has been responsible for three solid displays since leaving the Victorian stables of John Justice. With Jack overseas, Blake Fitzpatrick maintains the drive behind the son of Rock N Roll Heaven. Following placings behind Bundoran and Jimmy Locke, the 7yo then worked home stoutly from the one-one in recording a gritty 2.9m 4th to Fire Fox last week. Suitably drawn, Huli Nien will again make his presence felt. ALTA ORLANDO (5) may be a shade or two below his best, but the veteran son of Courage Under Fire can’t be taken lightly. The 11yo has had a number of chances in similar races but has failed to finish the race off strongly. STINGRAY TARA (7) is coming off a solid display in defeating Fire Fox, although the runner-up did appear unlucky. Despite drawing wider the 7yo is bound to give another good account. MACH SHARD (2) draws ideally in two, but like his stablemate Alta Orlando, the 8yo is starting to find it harder to land the major share of the prizemoney. Still a tough competitor, Mach Shard is bound to give plenty of cheek.
FIRE FOX 1, Huli Nien 2, Betterzippit 3, Alta Orlando 4.
The running of the Golden Easter Egg will see the return clash between PEACEFUL (4) and JEWEL MELODY (1). When these two exciting 3yo fillies last clashed on March 7, the Bernie Hewitt trained and driven Jewel Melody gained the verdict by a comfortable margin of 1.8m. However, PEACEFUL is ready to turn the tables on the 2022 Gold Tiara winner and runner-up in the recently conducted Gold Bracelet behind the outstanding Emma Stewart-prepared Major Delight. Peaceful is now under the care of Belinda McCarthy after former trainer Cameron Ross elected to continue his career in West Australia. Under his guidance the daughter of Sweet Lou contested 10 races, greeting the judge on four occasions while being placing in another five. The beautifully bred filly, with the champion mare Frith being her mum, only unplaced run was in the G1 NSW Oaks back on Feb 25 when she worked from the outset in finishing a fading 17.4m 7th to Windy Hill Tara. When she stepped out a couple of weeks later in the race won by Jewel Melody, Peaceful had every chance, courtesy of Jack Callaghan dictating the terms, but when challenged the $1.20 favourite was unable to fend off the Bathurst visitor. Maybe, the tough run in the NSW Oaks just left her a little flat. Freshened over the past few weeks and with a change of scenery, Peaceful will be ready to tackle the assignment with renewed vigour. JEWEL MELODY (1) has drawn ideally in one and that will allow Bernie to again stalk Peaceful from the outset. The multiple award winning daughter of Captaintreacherous, following her Menangle success, has bumped into two classy fillies from the Emma Stewart barn in her quest for the Gold Bracelet at Bathurst during the carnival. First it was Tempting Tigress in her heat, then Major Delight. Game in defeat on each occasion, Jewel Melody has been brave in defeat. EVE CROCKER (8) finished a 13.5 3rd to Tin Tin Jo and Saveeon in her heat of the Gold Bracelet, then had little luck at a vital stage when a 7.4m 8th to Major Delight in the Final. The Michael Doltoff-trained filly remains in the mix as an exotic runner, along with last-start Menangle winner, the promising David Thorn-trained SKY BLU (7), who scored by a big margin in a far easier assignment, following her unlucky 13.3m 6th to Windy Hill Tara in the NSW Oaks. PROMISELAND (9), who is also a Michael Doltoff-prepared filly, is an honest performer so don’t dismiss her as an exotic player.
PEACEFUL 1, Jewel Melody 2, Eve Crocker 3, Sky Blu 4.
Only six runners will face the starter but at least five could greet the judge, without surprising. Heading the list is the Steven Lee-conditioned chestnut, JUNGLE EYES (6) who will be driven by in-form youngster James Locke. The son of Peak DNK has been in outstanding form since resuming from a spell. Jungle Eyes has continued to go to another level with maturity and the 4yo will contest this race as the winner of his past four encounters, usually against the same rivals he will again confront. Jungle Eyes had little trouble dictating the terms from start to finish when he accounted for Paris Kay and Itzfergietime in a heat of this event, the 4YO Trotters Foundation. The gelding has drawn the outside gate, but with only six runners that hurdle won’t, shouldn’t, be a factor. LETTUCE TROT (4) has been mixing his form of late, however, the Russell Jack-trained son of Tintin In America has the talent to be a serious player. Luke McCarthy has been booked to handle the driving duties. Last time out Lettuce Trot drew deep and tried hard when a closing head 2nd to Jungle Eyes. Although he finds it hard at times to put two good runs, back-to-back, Lettuce Trot must be respected. PARIS KAY (5) started her latest term of racing with just one placing from three starts, however, the Jarrod Alchin-trained daughter of Sebastian K has bounced back with a win here, followed by a gritty 4.9m 2nd to Jungle Eyes when the mare was left facing the breeze. There is also the Cam Hart factor so don’t ignore Paris Kay. MY ULTIMATE EDDIE (3) will find this harder than his win here on Tuesday, but the son of Art Major is a progressive type, who is under the care of Alex Alchin. Include My Ultimate Eddie in the exotics, along with ONAWINGANDAPRAYER (2), with the John Ogden trained and driven mare heading around to the start as the winner of four of her past six starts. ITZFERGIETIME (1) is coming off an improved 3rd to Jungle Eyes and the pole position is a plus, however, others make more appeal.
JUNGLE EYES 1, Lettuce Trot 2, Paris Kay 3, My Ultimate Eddie 4.
The ‘monkey’ is back and ready to swing into action following an enforced break from racing due to an injury back in April 2022. Crowd-pleaser FUNKY MONKEY (5) has been off the scene since a costly and disappointing 10.2m 5th to On Advice at Headquarters. With KerryAnn and Robert Morris discovering that the exciting trotting mare had issues, Lucky Lodge sent the daughter of Monkey bones on extended leave. With the former Kiwi mare always having high expectations placed her, the 2021 Inter Dominion series was tabled, however, after two disappointing efforts, the spelling paddock again came into play as, once again, there was an issue. Now, with two solid trials behind her and a suitable task on the agenda, Funky Money is ready to recommence her career. Handily drawn in five, Funky Monkey is bound to be prominent and although her level of fitness, or lack thereof, is a concern, her talent will see her competitive. Talented, fit and ideally drawn, the Sofia Arvidsson trained and driven ALDEBARAN TESS (2) is bound to take a power of beating. The 6yo daughter of Muscle Hill has been placed at this venue, either side of a solid 5m 5th to Vank Sank. A week ago the mare hit the line strongly in recording a 6m 3rd behind Rave On hall and Alluring Tyron. Sofia is bound to have Aldebaran Tess in the mix from the outset. REGAL ATTIRE (1) displayed plenty of potential during his opening months under the care of Jarrod Alchin before going through a patchy period. Spelled following a 17.9m 3rd to Royal Glenferrie back on Dec 3, the 5yo son of Muscle Hill has been kept for this first-up assignment as Jarrod elected to avoid the official trials. Gate one is a plus and if Regal Attire showed a return to his best form, then he would certainly test this field. SUNNY GEE (8) led and battled on stoutly when a 2.5m 2nd to Phoebe Onyx here on Tuesday and he again has exotic claims, which also applies to DROP THE HAMMER (7). Trainer-driver Darren Hancock was of the belief that the veteran will produce a far better effort this week, compared to his distant last to Rave On Hall last week. Darren explained that Drop The Hammer was feeling ‘fresh’ for his first run in a month and, as a result, wasn’t focused on the job at hand. Don’t ignore the son of Bettors Delight when it comes to the multiples. AFFAIRE DE COVER (6) and the hard to follow, ONE MAJIC KENNY (4) also remain in the multiple mix.
FUNKY MONKEY 1, Aldebaran Tess 2, Regal Attire 3, Sunny Gee 4.
– FORM ASSESSED BY MIKE KO’CASS