January 26, 2024 National Trotguide
There appears to be a number of ‘good things’ on the seven event card, and at a ‘good things’ quote, commencing with the Luke McCarthy trained and driven OUR COSMIC MAJOR (5). Boasting eight wins and five placings, four as runner-up, the classy son of Art Major comfortably won a heat of the New Year’s Gift, prior to starting at a big quote when he crossed from the outside gate in leading from start to finish. Rated to perfection by Jack Callaghan the sparingly-raced 5yo displayed plenty of tenacity in defeating his talented stablemate Rocknroll Hammer, with Major Major filling third spot. The winner of the Carousel when last in work, Our Cosmic Major is building up a solid body of work and he should continue on his winning way. Rarely far away UNFAZED (7) will again be in the mix when the judge calls a halt. Following a solid display in scoring here three runs ago, the son of Auckland Reactor is coming off a 7.7m 6th to Smiffys Terror a couple of weeks ago. Despite coming up with a tricky draw, Unfazed won’t be fazed by that hurdle so don’t ignore his claims. SMIFFYS TERROR (10) posted three useful efforts for the McCarthy stable since coming from NZ, prior to charging home for a strong win at Headquarters a couple of weeks ago in defeating Cya Art and Stingray Tara, the latter winning since while the runner-up contested the Ballarat Cup last week in finishing a solid 3rd to Kanena Provlima. The form has certainly stood up well from that race so don’t ignore his claims. In-form concession reinsman Harry Ross will handle the driving duties. LAST TANGO IN HEAVEN (3) has been placed in three of his past four and finished fourth on the other occasion so he is racing in good style. The 6yo worked mid-race in racing without cover when a gritty 1.9m 2nd to Sahara Sirocco last week when he drew wide. The far better draw will assist the KerryAnn Morris-trained son of Rock N Roll Heaven in his quest for another competitive showing. ARDENS ACE (2) is a suitable addition to the multiples from his goo draw while JOE NIEN (9), despite the deep draw also warrants attention. DENIS WILLIAM (8) won here three runs ago but has been at the rear of the field since, the latter as an odds0on chance in the race won by Smiffys Terror. The Jason Grimson-Cam Hart combination can never be taken lightly so a far better showing from the 7yo son of Art Major wouldn’t surprise.
OUR COSMIC MAJOR 1, Unfazed 2, Smiffys Terror 3, Last Tango In Heaven 4.
Despite being safely held in his past two starts at Albion Park, LOUS DREAM (7) is bound to take a power of beating as he steps out for his first Menangle assignment. Why ? Simple answer. The 4yo son of Sweet Lou is now trained by Jason Grimson. Enough said. The former Queenslander has six and two placings to show for his 14 starts to date, so he does possess talent. But, this will be a tougher task, compared to his assignments so far. Lous Dream has been off the scene since last November, however, the gelding is coming off a solid trial display behind Caulonia Courage in a time of 1:52.3. The trial field was overflowing with talented types so the form out of that hit-out should be a pointer to a few winners coming out of the contest. Lous Dream has drawn out in seven, however, Cam will waste little time making his presence felt. ROCKOKOKO (1) looms as the main threat to Lous Dream, with the Luke McCarthy trained and driven 4yo drawing ideally in one. Spelled following a 3rd to Elouisa Dale at Albion Park in early July, Rockokoko resumed with a solid win at Menangle before going down by a narrow margin to Neptune. The son of American Ideal then disappointed when a 19.5m 7th to Shades Of Heaven a couple of weeks ago when a short-priced elect. Far better than that run would suggest, Rockokoko is worthy of another chance. The father and son combination of Mark and Jack Callaghan will loom as a threat, courtesy of SWELL TIME (5). Resuming with a win at Newcastle back in mid-October, the mare has managed just one placing since, however, the 78yo hasn’t been far away in her other three engagements, three here while the latest outing resulted in a 6.5m 7th to Freddy Sing at Newcastle. Still to greet the judge after eight previous attempts at this venue, Swell Time is more than capable of being involved in the finish. SIGHT TO SEE (10) is an honest son of Hes Watching, and although confronted by a tough draw, the Peter Rixon-trained 7yo remains in the mix when it comes to forming multiple investments. The Wendy Turnbull-trained HUTA (6) has enjoyed a productive start to his career since coming under the care of the Bathurst mentor. Unplaced in his only start in NZ, the 4yo son of Always B Miki has peeled off three wins and a 4.3m 2nd to Our Sunset Delight at Bathurst two starts ago. This will be an interesting challenge for Huta and a good guide to his engagements going forward. Include Huta in exotic combinations, along with OUR SUNSET DELIGHT (4), which worked and faded when a 13.8m 6th to Shades Of Heaven a couple of weeks back.
LOUS DREAM 1, Rockokoko 2, Swell Time 3, Sight To See 4.
This is race is as open as the Sydney Heads, but the form doesn’t run as deep. However, it does appear to be a suitable assignment for the KerryAnn Morris-conditioned RYANS GANGSTER (4). Following a solid win at Newcastle the son of Courage Under Fire headed back to his home track for his next three engagements, with the New Year’s Gift on his agenda. Hit the line well from a five peg role, Ryans Gangster recorded a pleasing 5.7m 4th to stablemate Neptune, prior to recording a 16m 7th to Our Cosmic Major in the Final. Contesting a tough assignment at Headquarters last week, the 6yo settled in a rearward role before Josh Gallagher made a mid-race move, resulting in the pair joining the leader and short-priced favourite, the classy multiple G1 winner, Captains Knock. Suitably drawn in a far more suitable contest, Ryans Gangster is capable of being a serious threat from the outset. The Jacqueline Graham-trained GIMMEFIVEMINUTESMORE (3) was having his first outing since September/2021 when a game 3.3m 4th to Wavethebill at this venue on January 7. Fitter for the run and drawing handily, the son of Christian Cullen will stripper and he is bound to have plenty to offer so don’t ignore his claims. DADNDAVE (8) has been off the scene since last June, the popular radio show of the same name since 1953 after first airing in 1937. The story of Dad and Dave from Snake Gully and featuring the theme song, Road To Gundagai. Dadndave began his career in NZ before linking up with Andy and Kate Gath. The 8yo has been with Adam Ruggari for his past three starts, with a win at Newcastle, followed by a 7.6m 3rd to Im In Trouble at Menangle before heading to the paddock after a 21.5m 8th to Terryrama at Headquarters. Adam has given Dadndave two trials, the first resulting in a 2nd at Newcastle while the latter was a useful 11.9m 5th (five runners) to Missed The Truth at Menangle. The trial also featured Boots Electric, Expensive Ego and Loyalist. Loyalist has since scored at Bathurst. The fact that Adam elected to travel to Headquarters for the trial would suggest he wanted the son of Bettors Delight primed for a strong first-up showing. JALANEEL (6) hasn’t scored since last July and was spelled following his success at Menangle. All six runs on returning have resulted in unplaced efforts, a few when in the mix, although never a serious threat. The Blake Fitzpatrick-trained 5yo wasn’t in the mood last time when he broke in the score-up and tailed off when a well-beaten last to Stravinsky here a week ago. The son of Heston Blue Chip is capable of being a contender. SHEFFIELD SPARKY (5) has been mixing his form but a recent handy 7.8m 3rd behind stablemate Tuppence keeps the 8yo in the mix as an exotic runner. Gate one will also give GIMME A REASON (1) the opportunity to stake a claim for a role in the finish and will be at a suitable quote for the multiples. DARK TERROR (10) and TITIAN RAIDER (9) are also capable of assisting when it comes to the exotics, although their wide draws are a concern.
RYANS GANGSTER 1, Gimmefiveminutesmore 2, Dadndave 3, Jalaneel 4.
Former Queensland-based mare ILLAVABUBBLES (60 is on target for better class races in coming months following two impressive displays since coming under the care of Jason Grimson. Resuming from a spell with a 13.8m 7th to Sweet Miracle at Albion Park on January 6, the 5yo mare headed south to join Grimson. The pair made an immediate impact as the daughter of Always B Miki as Illavabubbles, with Cam Hart in the sulky, powered to an emphatic 16.4m victory over Don Boston and Halloween. Recording a time of 1:51.5, the mare again displayed speed and power in scoring by 13.7m in accounting for Hall Stitched Up and Sugar For My Honey last week, this time stopping the clock at 1:50.9. A slightly harder task awaits Illavabubbles, but it is hard to see the ‘bubble bursting’ at this stage. The consistent KEILOR BABY SHARK (1) is poised to secure a suitable run behind the behind the speed, which will be provided by Illavabubbles, courtesy of drawing the pole. The Peter Rixon-trained mare, surprisingly, hasn’t won since November/2022, however, on numerous occasions she has been in the mix when the judge calls a halt. Placed in five of her past eight engagements, Keilor Baby Shark wasn’t disgraced last week in finishing a 19.6m 4th to Illavabubbles after drawing wide. The daughter of Four Starzzz Shark will give another honest account. SUGAR FOR MY HONEY (4) made up good ground from a five peg role in posting a pleasing 15m 3rd in the about mentioned contest last week. The Rickie Alchin-trained daughter of Roll With Joe has been consistent of late and is a suitable exotic player. NELLY BIGTIME (3) accounted for Keilor Baby Shark and Tobefairtoyou before recording a 25m 6th to Illavabubbles last week, with the 5yo daughter of Changeover held up for a clear run early in the straight before running on fairly when clear. Once again, a suitable exotic player. CORAL STRIDE (2) is coming off a win at Newcastle when she led throughout in defeating Paytons Rock and Outlook. A tougher task awaits, but the good draw will assist the 6yo in her attempt to fill a minor role. Last-start Penrith winner SOLAR EXPRESS (5) also has claims in that regard, along with LITTLE BLISS (9), although the wide gate adds to the degree of difficulty.
ILLAVABUBBLES 1, Keilor Baby Shark 2, Sugar For My Honey 3, Nelly Bigtime 4.
The Luke McCarthy stable will dominate this event as SPIRIT OF ST LOUIS (10) and CANTFINDABETTORMAN (11) return to the track following their Inter Dominion commitments back in December. Runner-up in his final two heat appearances, the latter when beaten a head by Nerano, Spirit Of St Louis drew the back row for the Final, which resulted in a midfield role coming his way. Although never a serious threat down the running, the son of Sweet Lou recorded a respectable 15.5m 4th behind the Queensland champ, Leap To Fame. Luke has elected to keep the 7yo fresh for this assignment, but no doubt Spirit Of St Louis has been given a solid grounding at Cobbitty in readiness for this contest. But more importantly for his upcoming Hunter Cup challenge. With nine wins and eight placings, seven as runner-up, at this venue, Spirit Of St Louis will take a power of beating, as per usual. Jack Callaghan will take the reins, which has been the case on the majority of occasions when it comes to Spirit Of St Louis. Luke will partner CANTFINDABETTORMAN (11) performed well in his three heats, culminating in an 11.9m 3rd to Leap To Fame. However, it wasn’t enough to secure a spot in the Final. It did pave the pave for the son of Sweet Lou to contest the consolation and as a dominant favourite, the highly-regarded 5yo proved too good for Blacksdance and Targaryen. Cantfindabettorman has been kept away from the official trials, but like his star stablemate, a trip south for the Hunter cup is his main objective. MAGICIAN (8) has now contested five races at this venue, with the 5yo, who is also a son of Sweet Lou, looking to break his maiden status. The James Rattray trained and driven gelding led in his most recent assignment a couple of weeks ago, which resulted in a game 8.5m 2nd to Mach Da Vinci. Magician has drawn wide but has the necessary gate speed to be prominently placed from the outset. With race fitness on his side, Magician has the opportunity to pull something ‘out of the hat’ in causing, somewhat, of a surprise end to this event. TAIPO (6) continues to be competitive and his claims can’t be denied, once again, the higher level of fitness over the two McCarthy runners being a big plus. Successful at Headquarters three starts back when he defeated Magician and Mach Da Vinci in the Brian Hancock FFA. Following that effort the Brad Hewitt trained and driven 7yo recorded a 7.3m 2nd to Cya Art in the Shirley Turnbull Memorial at Bathurst. Next stop was the Shepparton Cup two weeks ago, with the son of American Ideal left posted outside the leader before battling on gamely for a solid 10.2m 4th to Curly James. Drawing the middle of the line, Brad will be keen to have Taipo prominently placed from the outset in the hope of gaining a vital edge over the two feature runners. When forming exotic investments STAR MAJOR (5) can’t be overlooked as his recent form can’t be overlooked as the 8yo finished a 9.2m 3rd to Cya Art at Bathurst before an 11m 4th and a 10.8m 5th, respectively, behind the exciting Hi Manameisjeff. Veteran performer ALTA ORLANDO (7) has been finding it difficult to greet the judge since resuming but he remains in the mix on most occasions. The 12yo remains a suitable exotic runner while WOW HES A ROCKSTAR (4) draws well and is racing with plenty of spirit of late and is a value player for multiple investors.
SPIRIT OF ST LOUIS 1, Cantfindabettorman 2, Magician 3, Taipo 4.
Talented trotter CONSTANTINOPLE (4), like his stablemates Spirit Of St Louis and Cantfindabettorman returns to from a break following a creditable round of Inter Dominion heats back in December. After missing out on a spot in the final, which was brilliantly won by Just Believe, the son of Trixton led throughout in taking out the FFA on December 16, comfortably holding Tam OShanter and Zealous Spur. The 7yo hasn’t been to the trials but has performed strongly in the past when resuming and he does appear to be the one to beat. HAVE NO FEAR (3) has race fitness on his side and wins in four of his past six starts so his confidence is ’sky high’ and with the benefit of a kind draw, the Joe and Mary Rando-trained 6yo will be a worthy opponent. After two disappointing Inter Dominion campaigns, firstly at Menangle then Albion Park, which resulted in two aborted attempts, FUNKY MONKEY (2) is out to make her presence felt. Boasting plenty of talent the daughter of Monkey Bones has posted a solid trial effort in readiness for her return and with an ideal gate next to her name, the mare is bound to make her presence felt. MAJESTIC TRIO (6) has been out of sorts of late, however, the mare is capable of bouncing back strongly. The Brad Hewitt trained and driven mare has broken in each of her past three engagements, which has become a concern. Hopefully, the 6yo daughter of Majestic Son can remain focused from start to finish. AFFAIRE DE COVER (5) won here on Tuesday, and although a tougher task awaits the Troy Williams-conditioned Love You 6yo, claims as an exotic runner should be considered. Jarrod Alchin has taken over the training of VICTREE HILL (8), which had a more than useful record when under the care of Victorian mentor Courtney Slater. The Trixton 7yo has been off the scene since coming off 20m when a 16m 6th to Baxter in the St Arnaud trotters Cup last November. A narrow trial win at Menangle has Victree Hill ready to give some cheek. MONARCH STRIDE (7) and SUNNY GEE (1) are also in the mix when it comes to multiple combinations.
CONSTANTINOPLE 1, Have No Fear 2, Funky Monkey 3, Majestic Trio 4.
Another ‘star’ investment on the card is MISTER ROBIN HOOD (5) which resumed from a two-month break with a solid display in defeat here last week. A member of the Jason Grimson team, the 4yo son of Sweet Lou had two previous runs for the stable following a career in NZ. Winning first-up back in late October, Mister Robin Hood then finished a game 5.4m 2nd to Rakadan two weeks later. Resuming on the back of two solid trial displays, Mister Robin Hood led out before taking cover when a gallant 2.5m 2nd to the classy and multiple G1 winner, Captains Knock. The effort delighted his driver Cam Hart. Stripping fitter and contesting an easier assignment, Mister Robin Hood has the target firmly in his sights. Jason will also provide the likely threat, if there is to be one, in GOLDEN BAY (3), a former Queenslander with a handy record at best. But expect the son of Downbytheseaside to improve out of sight. They usually do. The 4yo started an odds-on favourite when a 5.6m 6th to Mighty George at AP back in mid-January. Although without an official trial, Golden Bay is worthy of more than a passing thought. IDEAL REDEMPTION (2) drew the second line and was held up for a suitable run when a 4.5m 6th to Solar Express at Penrith a couple of weeks ago. The 5yo has been performing consistently for trainer Jacqueline Graham and with gate two being a positive, the 5yo son of American Ideal should give a good account. FOXY DADA (9) has drawn the outside gate but the 5yo has been thereabouts of late and is another value player when it comes to multiple transactions. MONTEFIORE (4) is coming off a gritty win here on Tuesday, and although the Jye Stanford-trained 5yo is up in grade, don’t write him off when it comes to the multiples. SUNDAY MORNINGS (6) has had two runs for Charlie Pollicina, with a first-up win at Penrith coming his way, followed by a 1.6m 3rd to Solar Express, again at the foot of the mountains. The sparingly-raced son of Julius Caesar remains in the mix as an exotic runner, despite the rise in class.
MISTER ROBIN HOOD 1, Golden Bay 2, Ideal Redemption 3, Foxy Dada 4.
-FORM ASSESSED BY MIKE KO’CASS