November 16, 2023 Michael Court
Sparingly-raced 4yo BROOKLYN BRIDGE (4) will be looking to register his first win at Headquarters when he steps out for his initial assignment under the care of Jarrod Alchin. Throughout his 15-start career to date, the son of Sweet Lou has been prepared by Ellen Jones (Bartley) with the pair recording seven wins and four placings. From his three outings at this venue Brooklyn Bridge has posted one placing, a 14.8m 3rd to Gordons Bay, as an odds-on elect, in the TAB Regional Final back in late May. Brooklyn Bridge peaks in condition now that he has had four runs since a spell, the latest at this venue a week ago when an unlucky 7.2m 4th to Missed The Truth, who was having his first run for Jarrod. Behind the leader throughout, Blake Jones was unable to secure a clear run with Brooklyn Bridge, which went to the line hard held on the back of the leader and runner-up, One For The Rodi. Handily drawn in four the quality 4yo will have plenty to offer in what appears to be a suitable assignment. IM IN TROUBLE (3) has been far more settled of late when it comes to his manners and that has resulted in placings in two of his past three starts. Drawing the outside gate last time out, the Joe Conolly-prepared son of Art Major worked from the outset in recording a gritty 6.5m 2nd behind Unfazed. The 4yo will again be in the mix from the outset, however, if Seaton Grima can secure a kinder run, then Im In Trouble is capable of being a tough opponent. SMALTESE (2) draws ideally in two and with a win and three placings from his past four starts, the Brian Portelli trained and driven son of Sweet Lou will again make his presence felt. The 4yo led when a determined 2.8m 3rd to Rakadan and Our Cosmic Major last week. Expect Smaltese to be in the thick of the action from the outset. OUR UNCLE JIM (8) scored here three runs back in defeating Janarty and subsequent winner, Theresa Love, prior to posting two unplaced efforts. The latter was a week ago when a creditable 11m 6th to Missed The Truth when three pegs throughout. Despite the wider draw the son of Western Terror is capable of being involved in the finish. ROCKET BOY (10) returns to racing following a couple of months off. Prepared by Joe Conolly and another choice for Seaton Grima, the 5yo son of Art Major finished runner-up on eight occasions during his previous term of racing, with his only win being recorded when resuming. Safely held in a Penrith trial, Rocket Boy has proved his races well fresh so don’t ignore him as a threat as he may just be ready to launch. Both CAPTAIN RITCHIE (7), which has won his past two but steps up in grade, and SIR RICHARD LEE (6) warrant attention when it comes to the multiples. Gate one will assist RIVEERED (1) in posting a forward so consider his claims when it comes to the exotics.
BROOKLYN BRIDGE 1, Im In Trouble 2, Smaltese 3, Our Uncle Jim 4.
Consistent and ideally drawn in the pole position, ONE FOR THE RODI (1) appeals as the one to beat. Contesting his first race since coming under the care of Elizabeth Heath, the son of Shoobees Place dictated the terms when a solid 2.8m 2nd behind Missed The Truth at this venue a week ago. Robert Morris will again have the opportunity to set the tempo if he so desires, but, in this slightly harder contest and over the longer trip of 2300m, although races over this trip are usually sedately contested through the opening 600m or so, he will have options. Regardless, One For The Rodi is bound to give a good account. The consistent SAGINAW (3) will appreciate both the trip and the return to a suitable draw. Trained and driven by Seaton Grima, the 7yo son of Well Said is coming off a handy 10.3m 5th behind Missed The Truth. The opportunity to occupy a forward position will enhance his claims of greeting the judge. DANGERZONE (4) has finished at the tail of the field in each of his past two assignments, but the Belinda McCarthy-trained 4yo is better than that form would suggest. An all-the-way winner here four starts ago, Dangerzone did finish a gallant 2.7m 2nd to the classy Queenslander Sure Thing Captain in the 2400m Stockade, a consolation race attached to the $2m Eureka, on September 2. Drawing the outside gate here a week ago, the son of Gotta Go Cullect was never a factor in posting a 17.7m last behind Missed The Truth. The good draw and extra trip may assist Dangerzone in showing a return to form so don’t ignore his claims. FEAR CRUISIN (7) is coming off a solid win at Newcastle and his is more than capable of being in the finish. Th Sean Grayling trained and driven PUMP THE BRAKES (8) has returned from a spell with two strong displays, the latter resulting in a win at Penrith. The consistent 9yo can’t be taken lightly while last-start winner DOUBLE ENCOUNTER (9) is racing consistently, which entitles the 232-start veteran to be at least included in exotic discussions, along with ROMANEE (10) and ITS EBONYNIVORY (5).
ONE FOR THE RODI 1, Saginaw 2, Dangerzone 3, Fear Cruisin 4.
Peaking in condition following three runs back from a spell, veteran performer ALTA ORLANDO (10) has the chance to celebrate his 150th appearance with a win. While the 11yo is a level or two below his brilliant best, which enabled him to greet the judge on 26 occasions while being placed on a further 59 times, he may be able to get away with a race of this nature. Third to Polly Put Kettleon and Fire Fox at Headquarters at his second run back, the son of Courage Under Fire then dictated the terms when a creditable 9.8m 5th to Sahara Sirocco a few weeks ago. The Belinda McCarthy-trained son of Courage Under Fire still has the zest in his legs to show the gate speed necessary to cross the face of the field and dictate the terms of this 1609m challenge. With a number of his main rivals also lacking winning form of late, Alta Orlando will prove hard to beat. LONGFELLOW (7) is another bright prospect on the card for trainer Joe Conolly. The 5yo has had two runs for Joe, the first resulting in a pleasing 4.7m 3rd to Sahara Sirocco when first-up from a seven week break after competing in SA. The son of Bettors Delight then recorded a more than useful 12.9m 5th to the classy Hi Manameisjeff over this course and distance on November 4. With his fitness now reaching an acceptable level, Longfellow is ready to play a far more active role in the finish. JAY OK (9) has been unable to chart highly since resuming from a spell, with all four runs resulting in him finishing sixth spot and lower. Those stats are a rarity as the 6yo has been a solid performer throughout his career. Trainer Paul Fitzpatrick will be hoping that the son of A Rock N Roll Dance can show sharp improvement on his recent form, with his latest effort being a 15.7m 6th to Our Money Rocks a week ago. If, and at this stage it is a big if, Jay OK does regain some confidence, then he can be a threat once again.
STINGRAY TARA (6) scored here nine starts ago, back on August 5 when he powered home in defeating South Coast Arden and Port Au Prince. Since then the 7yo has strolled to be competitive, with his subsequent eight runs all resulting in unplaced efforts. Drawing wide and always well back in proceedings here a week ago, Stingray Tara finished a useful 9.9m 5th to Double Encounter. The son of Bettors Delight is capable of being involved in the finish so don’t ignore his claims. FIRE FOX (8i) is also struggling to find his best in three runs back, but he is worth the risk in this open contest. In between two unplaced efforts, Fire Fox finished a solid, photo 2nd to Polly Put Kettleon, with Alta Orlando finishing third. Like Alta Orlando, like Jay OK, the 6yo son of Sweet Lou would take a power of beating if he can strike form. When it comes to the multiples, JOIE NIEN (5) is entitled to consideration as he will find this a far more suitable assignment, compared to his 17.2m 9th to Our Money Rocks a week ago. Prior to that outing the 8yo had been a model of consistency so expect a stronger display. IZAHA (4) and TUPPENCE (3) also warrant some thought in multiple investments after drawing suitably.
ALTA ORLANDO 1, Longfellow 2, Jay OK 3, Stingray Tara 4.
Despite drawing the outside gate, SWELL TIME (10) appeals as the one to beat. Prepared by Mark Callaghan and to be driven by Jack, the talented mare has performed strongly in each of her three runs since resuming three month lay-off. With younger son Tom in the sulky, the daughter of A Rocknroll Dance resumed with a narrow but solid win at Newcastle before heading to Menangle for her next two assignments. Hitting the line strongly when a 1.6m 4th to Stellar Arden, the 7yo again hit the line with intent in recording a 9.3m 6th behind Theresa Love a week ago. With her level of fitness no longer an issue and a suitable assignment awaiting her, Swell Time appears ready to greet the judge for the first time at Headquarters. MAGIC MATTEO (3) joined the Sofia Arvidsson stable following a useful 8.4m 6th behind Defiant a few weeks ago. The consistent 6yo scored a tough win here three runs back and with a recent block of solid displays, the newly formed combination will make their presence felt, especially after drawing suitably in three. MURPHYS REWARD (4) should be ready to give a bold showing following three runs since a spell, all resulting in unplaced efforts on the Wagga circuit. The James Rattray trained and driven 5yo worked home nicely when a 2.4m 4th to Son Of The Shark, two starts ago, then led when a 4.2m 4th to Dragon Tattoo. Handily drawn and stripping fitter, the son of Somebeachsomewhere should be ready to give plenty of cheek. The ‘x-factor’ is the Victorian MAJALINER (5), who is under the care of Tim McGuigan, and to be driven by Darby. The 6yo had a lengthy break before resuming with just two runs, prior to being off the scene for a nine months. Resuming with a 7.8m 8th to Rocknallovertheworld at Terang on November 6, Majaliner worked home reasonably from a six peg role. Without a win since June 2022, the son of Art Major is worth more than a passing thought in this line-up. When it comes to multiple transactions the pole-marker TWENTYEIGHTBLACK (1) is worth including while SIR SIMON (6). SHADES OF HEAVEN (7) and BERTIE JONES (9) also fall into that category.
SWELL TIME 1, Magic Matteo 2, Murphys Reward 3, Majaliner 4.
It is hard to go past the classy TRIPLE EIGHT (6) as the one to beat. Astutely prepared by Jess Tubbs and to be driven by husband Greg Sugars, the high profile son of American Ideal, surprisingly, hasn’t greeted the judge since scoring at Melton back on February 18. After failing to qualify for a role in the March Miracle Mile, Triple Eight finished strongly in posting a 3.3m 3rd to Bondi Lockdown and B D Joe in the G2 Australian Light Horse FFA (2400m), the support race behind the Miracle Mile. The 8yo has been placed in a number of races since, recently finishing a 1.8m 2nd to Bulletproof Boy in the Smoken Up at Melton, followed by another role as runner-up in the Popular Alm FFA when beaten 2.7m by Helluva. From six starts at this venue Triple Eight has finished in the minor placings twice, but on every occasion the son of American Ideal has been competing against elite company. While confronted by a quality list of opponents for this challenge, it will be a far more suitable encounter for Triple Eight, hence, the confidence in him greeting the judge. TASTY DELIGHT (4) has been performing well for Brian Portelli since resuming from a spell and he looks ready to be a serious factor. Resuming with a 9.2m 3rd behind Mach Da Vinci, which is in career best form of late, the classy 5yo then worked home well in securing 5th spot behind Swayzee, and although the margin was 20m, the winner did treat his rivals with contempt. The son of Bettors Delight indicated a win was just around the corner when he recorded a solid 8.9m 3rd to Hi Manameisjeff and Mach Da Vinci a couple of weeks ago. One-one, then three deep on the home turn, Tasty Delight continued to work home gamely. That run would have topped him off nicely for this engagement and with gate three a plus, that is without the reserve which has drawn one, Tasty Delight should be competitive from the outset. The outside gate will feature OUR MONEY ROCKS (11), which is in the best form of his career. Prior to a spell, the 6yo posted five-consecutive wins and two handy unplaced efforts, with his form since resuming also rewarding. Prepared by David Thorn and driven by Chris Geary, Our Money Rocks posted a ‘PB’ time at Menangle last week when he led throughout in defeating Petes Said So and The Croupier. Prior to that outing the son of A Rocknroll Dance finished in the placings behind Swayzee (twice) and Mach Da Vinci. Despite the tricky draw the gelding can’t be ignored when to comes to looking for a possible threats. PETES SAID SO (2), reserve out, will start from the prized pole position and that will be a plus for the son for Well Said, who has started a number of races of this nature from a wide gate in recent times. Such was the case last week when he drew the outside alley in recording a brave 23.4m 2nd to Our Money Rocks after being exposed outside of the leader and winner. The 7yo can expect a far kinder run this time and that will enhance his claims of being in the mix when the judge calls a halt to proceedings. The speedy WHEREYABINBOPPIN (3) scored at Wagga back on September 1, then has been well-beaten in two unplaced efforts at Menangle. The latter resulted in a 51.8m last to Hi Manameisjeff just over six weeks ago. The James Rattray-trained 7yo has drawn well and while fresh, he is capable of giving plenty of cheek with Dean Cernovskis in the sulky. James will be required to drive STAR MAJOR (7) and like his stablemate, he is worth keeping in mind when it comes to multiple transactions. THE CROUPIER (10) is racing in fine fashion and despite the harder assignment, he also warrants attention in exotic discussions.
TRIPLE EIGHT 1, Tasty Delight 2, Our Money Rocks 3, Petes Said So 4.
The Jess Tubbs-conditioned RAKERO REBEL (3) has been racing in the ‘peak of her powers’ of late and that trend should continue when the mare steps out for her first Menangle assignment. Following a respectable 9.4m 3rd to Amore Vita in the Vicbred 4YO Mares Final on September 23, Rakero Rebel won her next two, the latter defeating the exciting Ladies In Red in the Make Mine Cullen. Contesting the Angelique Club FFA as her next assignment at Melton, the daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven finished a game 8.8m 3rd to Ladies In Red and Treachery. Next stop was the 2760m Queen of the Pacific at Melton on November 4. Once again Ladies In Red reigned supreme, but Rakero Rebel was gallant in recording an 11.6m 2nd to the champion mare. Suitably drawn in three and back to a far more suitable challenge, Rakero Rebel is bound to take a power of beating. The main threat will come from another classy mare in BRAEVIEW KELLY (8), which has drawn the outside gate. Resuming from an unlucky Queensland campaign, the Jack Trainor-prepared and driven 5yo scored in fine style when she powered home in easily accounting for B K Swy and Im Presi Belle. Contesting the Kevin Robinson FFA next time out, Braeview Kelly worked home stoutly in finishing a closing 9.5m 4th to Mach Da Vinci after being held up for a run until late into the straight. The mare then led and found the 2760m Queen of the pacific a ‘bridge too far’ when a tiring 40.2m 11th behind Ladies In Red. This is her pet subject, the 1609m of the Menangle track so expect the daughter of Bettors Delight to bounce back strongly. BLOOD MOON (6) has been in fine form for Tim and Darby Mcguigan, with the daughter of Pet Rock winning five of her past six. Blood Moon is coming off a strong win at Melton a week ago when she powered home in defeating Vee Em Gee Macray and Gipsy Princess. Lining up for what will be her 50th engagement, the versatile 4yo gives the impression that this circuit will suit her style of racing. IM PRESI BELLE (7) was never a threat in posting a 24m 7th to Ladies In Red in the Queen of the Pacific. Prior to her past two encounters the Peter Rixon-prepared mare had been racing with consistency and claims as an exotic must be considered. POLLY PUT KETTLEON (5) steamed home in defeating Fire Fox and Alta Orlando before coming from back in the pack in recording a 3.2m 6th to Stellar Arden a couple of weeks ago. Trainer-driver Sofia Arvidsson has been pleased with the mare following that outing, and is confident that the daughter of Courage Under Fire will be ’poised to pounce’ when the field enter the home straight.
RAKERO REBEL 1, Braeview Kelly 2, Blood Moon 4, Polly Put Kettleon 4.
With the NZ Cup now on their growing, and already long list of credits, trainer Jason Grimson and driver Cam Hart will be looking to keep the party going when they combine with LIGHTNING DAN (3). While his form has been a shade disappointing since resuming, apart from a half-neck 2nd to Our Uncle Jim, Lightning Dan is capable of striking in this field. Following his second run placing, the son of Captain Treacherous was having his third run back when a costly 9.8m 6th to Red Right Hand at Menangle a couple of weeks ago. Apart from peaking in condition, Lightning Dan strikes a suitable assignment and with a kind draw also being a plus. ZAMBIA (4), which has drawn one spot wider than Lightning Dan, looms as the main threat. Unplaced in a quartet of Menangle assignments, the Dean Atkinson-trained 6yo headed to Cowra last Sunday for a 1740m challenge. With Harrison Ross in the sulky, Zambia struck some trouble in working home stoutly for a solid head 2nd behind Skittle Bomb. Suitably placed in this company, Zambia is more than capable of greeting the judge. With the benefit of two runs back from a spell, the Blake Fitzpatrick trained and driven RICKOSHAY (5) is ready to make his presence felt. Resuming with a useful 9.9m 7th to Defiant, the 5yo son of Bettors Delight then hit the line well in recording a 1.9m 2nd to Pump The Brakes at Penrith. With the benefit of those runs, plus an improved draw, Rickoshay can’t be ignored when looking at potential winning chances. BEEZ NEEZ (7) is bound to create interest as he prepares to step out for his second assignment since joining the Jason Grimson team. With mixed displays since resuming, Beez Neez finished a 13.5m 4th to Rusty McCool at Bathurst just over a week ago. Josh Gallagher will take the reins and it will come as no surprise if Beez Neez isn’t all the ‘buzz’ when the race rolls around. The consistent CONSTANTINA (6) is a sound exotic player while CRIME DONT PAY (8) is racing soundly and is capable of again playing a role in the finish. POLKA DELIGHT (9) and SHEFFIELD SPARKY (1) also stay under notice when it comes to the multiples.
LIGHTNING DAN 1, Zambia 2, Rickoshay 3, Beez Neez 4.
Despite the presence of a 30m handicap, classy trotter ONE OVER ALL (7) is the one to beat for Jess Tubbs and Greg Sugars. Apart from posting a well-beaten last to Queen Elida in the Bill Collins Sprint three starts ago, One Over All had been competitive in his assignments, prior and since. From behind the 30m tape in the Geelong Trotters Cup on October 21, the 5yo son of Angus Hall recorded a gritty 7.8m 3rd to Harry Stamper. The same handicap applied when One Over All faced the starter for the 2790m Swan Hill Trotters Cup a couple of weeks ago. With only seven rivals, the task of working his way through the field won’t be a major issue as there won’t be a traffic jam ahead. If, One Over All does everything right, then this race does appear his for the taking. FUNKY MONEY (8) will join the Victorian behind the 30m tape, but a recent run of bad manners has become a concern. The talented daughter of Monkey bones was enjoying a wonderful period of racing, five wins and four placings coming her way, prior to the ‘wheels falling off’, resulting in four unplaced displays. The Elizabeth Heath-trained 6yo managed to overcome this handicap in scoring just over two months ago, but that was a slightly easier task. The presence of One Over all being the difference this time around. If, Funky Monkey remains focused from start to finish, there is little doubt that Robert Morris will have the mare fighting out the finish. ROYAL GLENFERRIE (5) will receive a 30m head start, providing he does everything right when the strands fly back. That will enable the Paul Fitzpatrick-conditioned 7yo to give plenty of cheek in the hope of upsetting the two major players. Still to greet the judge in a stand, following six placings from 15 previous attempts, the 7yo worked home steadily when a 7.2m 4th to One Majic Kenny at Menangle two weeks ago. Regular reinsman Sean Grayling will be keen to have Royal Glenferrie is a challenging role from the outset. THEBESTBOURBON (3) has been mixing her form and manners in three runs since a spell but the mare is capable of giving a bold showing from the front line so at least keep her safe when it comes to multiple transactions. SUNNY GEE (6) is coming off a 1609m mobile win on Tuesday, but he is a sound stand performer and claims as an exotic runner can’t be denied. AFFAIR DE COVER (4) and VIKSUN (2) also have claims in that department.
ONE OVER ALL 1, Funky Monkey 2, Royal Glenferrie 3, Thebestbourbon 4.
-FORM ASSESSED BY MIKE KO’CASS