September 7, 2023 Michael Court
Intriguing contest to start the eight-event card with the draw giving the opportunity to continue his good form since resuming from a spell. In what was a fine training performance by Dean Atkinson, the son of Bettors Delight resumed from 10 month spell with a strong display in defeating Rocket Boy and The Fortunate Son. Stepping out for his next challenge a couple of weeks ago, the talented 6yo was left posted when a determined 2.8m 2nd to Don Hugo, which came out at his next start on Eureka night in finishing a solid 3rd behind Sure Thing Captain and Dangerzone in the G2 Stockade, a consolation of the feature event. Moving from a wide draw into the prized pole position is a big plus and Jack Callaghan will no doubt present Zambia with every opportunity to greet the judge once again. The classy DEFIANT (7) looms as the toughest to beat. Prepared by Ash Hart and to be driven by brother Cam, the son of Roll With Joe peaks following three runs back following a setback, with his latest effort resulting in a gritty win over Kadar and Hezashadowplaya. Settling back in the pack from a similar draw, Defiant hit the line strongly and he will again make his presence felt. JIMARTEE (10) is coming off a deserving win at Penrith when he overcame a 2nd line draw in defeating Western Style and Its Ebonynivory, the latter with a big chance in her event later on the night. Prior to his provincial win, the Noel Hatcher-trained son of Sportswriter had posted a handful of solid displays at Headquarters and this assignment, despite the draw, isn’t beyond him. BUBBA SCRUB (8) led in proving too good for Boom and Dangerzone, which did a fine job in the Stockade a week ago, so his claims must be respected in what is a race overflowing with talent. When it comes to forming exotic investments, SUGAR APPLE (2), ROCKET BOY (3), which has been runner-up in his past three at Menangle, DOUBLE ENCOUNTER (9) and BOOM (11), such is the depth attached to this race, should be given plenty of consideration.
ZAMBIA 1, Defiant 2, Jimartee 3, Bubba Scrub 4.
HI MANAMEISJEFF (3) certainly made everyone remember is name after a sizzling display of speed and stamina when first-up for the astute Jason Grimson stable. Formerly based in Victoria under the guidance of Russell Jack, the talented son of Art Major has always been an outstanding type, having won nine from 21 in an interrupted career. After losing form due to his issues, Hi Manameisjeff resumed from an 11 month break with a 17.7m 7th to imperials Reason at Bendigo on July 8, before posting a 20.9m last to Bettor Isolate at Kilmore in the Popular Alm Sprint. Next stop was Menangle six weeks later and this time around he went like Popular Alm in dictating the terms in recording an 18m win over Little Bliss and Mahomes. What was impressive was the time, a sensational 1:48.9, with the first and third quarters posted in 26.6 and 26.8, respectively. This assignment will be a harder challenge, but on those stats a fitter and far more confident Hi Manameisjeff will again take a power of beating, especially from gate three. However, if he doesn’t repeat that performance, then the Brad Hewitt trained and driven TAIPO (6) will be ready to pounce. Runner-up on consecutive occasions behind Spirit Of St Louis at this venue, prior to scoring by a big margin over Major Meister and Majestic Cruiser over 1660m at Albion Park on July 14. Drawing the back row in the Blacks A Fake (2680m), the son of American Idol was always in a rearward role in having little luck in posting a 24.6m 11th to Swayzee. Forget the run altogether when assessing the claims of Taipo in this event. A recent solid trial display at Menangle has Taipo ready to play a role in the finish. KANENA PROVLIMA (9) has again drawn deep, which adds to the degree of difficulty in greeting the judge, but he certainly deserves to post a win. The Elizabeth Heath-conditioned 7yo has been placed in four of his past six, the latest when beaten 2.7m by Mach Da Vinci in recording another frustrating second. Another pro-active display can be expected from the son of A Rocknroll Dance. If there is to be somewhat of an upset, OUR MONEY ROCKS (4) is the one which is ready to provide such a result. Prepared by David Thorn and to be driven by Chris Geary, the 6yo, who is also by A Rocknroll Dance, resumed with a solid 4.2m 2nd to Gordons Bay before stepping up in grade when an eye-catching 2.6m 6th to Spirit Of St Louis in the Kevin Newman FFA a couple of weeks ago. Fitter and handily drawn, Our Money Rocks should be at least looked upon as being a value, saver bet. GORDONS BAY (7) is racing in fine fashion and will give a good account so don’t dismiss the 5yo from exotic investments while STINGRAY TARA (8) followed a stylish win with a respectable 7m 7th to Spirit Of St Louis. Now under the care of Blake Fitzpatrick, the 7yo can never be taken lightly and a swiftly run race will assist the son of Bettors Delight. TO FAST TO SERIOUS (10) had a disappointing end to his four-start preparation for Belinda McCarthy, which ended with a 15.2m 6th to Bundoran back on Feb 28. The former West Australian has been well-beaten in two trials and with a wide gate adding to his challenge, it is hard to recommend the son of Shadow Play.
HI MANAMEISJEFF 1, Taipo 2, Kanena Provlima 3, Our Money Rocks 4.
Drawing ideally in two and stripping fitter for two runs from a lengthy spell, the Adam Ruggari-conditioned HUGO GEORGE (2) looks the one to beat. Spelled after a costly 36,7m last to Bomani back in September 2022, when under the care of David Thorn, the 6yo posted a couple of solid trials for new mentor Adam Ruggari, prior to resuming with a pleasing 3.6m 3d to Stealth Bomber at Newcastle on August 18. A week later and despite drawing the second row, Hugo George powered to the line in defeating Sinbinned and subsequent winner Bat Matson. Luke Whittaker will again take the reins and with an ideal draw assisting them, the pair should be in the mix from the outset. BAT MATSON (3) has also drawn well in three and that will give Chloe Formosa the chance to again dictate the terms, which was the case when she guided the son of Shoobees Place to a comfortable win at Newcastle last week. Prepared by her dad Michael, Bat Matson will again be a factor. The consistent Ellen Bartley-trained ELLAS REASON (6) has been in fine form in mixing her assignments between the Riverian region and provincial Victoria. Recent wins at Swan Hill and Bendigo were followed by a couple of safely held efforts, prior to a solid finishing win at Wagga, via the sprint lane, when the daughter of For A Reason accounted for Redbank Harry and Im Harvey Spectre. Handily drawn in the middle of the line, the mare is capable of giving this a big shake. SINBINNED (10) recorded six-consecutive minor placings before a 19m 5th to Kenley at Newcastle a week ago. The Roy Roots-trained 4yo has been placed in the sinbin, courtesy of drawing wide, but Jack Callaghan will find a way of giving the son of Art major every chance to be involved in the finish. BRACKEN WARRIOR (9), REDBANK HARRY (12), JUST WON MORE (7) and MY ULTIMATE MAJOR (5) are capable of scoring, without surprising, so there are plenty of options when it comes to multiple transactions.
HUGO GEORGE 1, Bat Matson 2, Ellas Reason 3, Sinbinned 4.
Despite drawing the outside gate for the Norms Daughter Stakes, classy Victorian mare TAY TAY (11) looks the one to beat. Boasting five wins and three placings from nine starts at this venue, the Alex Ashwood trained daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven will face the starter fitter following two sound efforts since resuming from a spell. First-up and the mare recorded a 10m 4th behind Tough Tilly and Treachery before heading back to Melton on September 2 for her next assignment. With a G2 victory at Headquarters and a handful of sound efforts in feature events, Tay Tay is ready to again play an important role in the finish. Cam Hart has been booked to handle the driving duties behind Tay Tay, with the pair enjoying success in the past. ITS EBONYNIVORY (5) is a former Victorian which did a big job when first-up for Belinda McCarthy. Contesting a 1720m event at Penrith last week, the talented 6yo covered more ground than Burke and Wills, but still managed to record a game 11.7m 3rd to Jimartee. There is little doubt if the mare had received better luck in running, she would have played a far more pro-active role in the finish. With the benefit of three runs since a spell, the opening two resulting in unplaced efforts at Melton, Its Ebonynivory is capable of being a serious threat. MY SWEET SABRINA (3) has won her past three, firstly at Wagga, then the past two here, all in fine style. The Jake Stockton-trained 4yo daughter of Always B Miki has drawn suitably two, providing the reserve isn’t required, and that will at least allow Cam Hart to have her in a forward role from the outset. That will be a big plus in this talented line-up. STELLAR ARDEN (2) continues to race consistently for Jack Trainor and with the pole position assisting her, the Bettors Delight mare should receive a cosy run in her quest to be involved in the finish. The Troy Williams-conditioned LITTLE BLISS (6) is game as they come and she will again run boldly. Placed in her past three, the latest when a game 18m 2nd to Hi Manameisjeff in a blistering 1: 48.9, the Art major 6yo will appreciate being back to her own sex. HEAVENLY HOLLY (4) scored here last week in fine fashion, due to a superb drive by Lleyton Green, and although a harder task awaits the Michael Formosa-trained mare, the good draw keeps the mare in the mix as an exotic runner, along with POLLY PUT KETTLEON, which has been safely held of late, but a far more competitive showing wouldn’t surprise.
TAY TAY 1, Its Ebonynivory 2, My Sweet Sabrina 3, Stellar Arden 4.
Visiting Bendigo trainer-driver Alex Ashwood has bright prospects of making it back-to-back wins on the card when CEMETERY BAY (9) faces the starter for his first Menangle assignment. Since greeting the judge at Melton back on June 17, the 5yo has been mixing his form, with just three placings coming his way from eight encounters, but to be fair to the son of Live Or Die, he is usually racing against quality opposition. Third to Solesseo Matuca at Melton three back, Cemetery Bay was never a factor when a 21.1m 10th to Major Cullect, prior to a gritty photo 2nd behind Hittheroadjack at the same venue a week ago. While the draw hasn’t been kind, Cemetery Bay should enjoy the Menangle circuit and with Cam Hart filling in for Alex, as far as, the driving duties are concerned, the combination will be looking to enjoy further success. RED REACTOR (5) continues to be thereabouts on a regular basis, threatening now and then and greeting the judge when least expected, which was the case on July 8 when he scored at the juicy quote of $126.00. The Leon Jurd-trained son of Auckland Reactor is coming off a 1.9m 2nd behind Kadar and with a handy draw next to his name, another showing along those lines should be forthcoming from the 8yo. CARLO GAMBINO (6) has also been thereabouts on a number of occasions of late, including his latest run when a gritty 5.6m 3rd behind Dan Fernando at Penrith recently. The Chris Judd-trained 9yo has recent sound efforts to his credit in races won by Jalaneel and Defiant, respectively, and a repeat of those efforts would see him fighting out the finish. ACE LOMBO (1) will be confronted by a harder task, however, the consistent Darren Binskin trained and driven 4yo has drawn ideally in one. That will ensure that DJ gives the son of Sunshine Beach a kind run and the chance to be involved in the finish. RYANS GANGSTER (3) had been racing well before having little go his way in each of his past two at Menangle, then at Bathurst. The 5yo son of Courage Under Fire has been transferred to the stables of Elizabeth Heath and from his good draw of gate three, Ryans Gangster is worth keeping safe. When it comes to the multiples, ALTA BILLY (10) and HEZASHADOWPLAYA (11), despite drawing the outside gates, remain in contention.
CEMETERY BAY 1, Red Reactor 2, Carlo Gambino 3, Ace Lombo 4.
Alex Ashwood and Cam Hart will again be hard to beat, this time courtesy of the classy MAJOR FIRE (7), which arrives in fine form and strikes a winnable race in the process. Following a quartet of winning displays, which culminated in a comfortable performance at Wagga on May 5, the Art Major mare headed to the paddock before resuming with wins at Cobram and Melton, respectively, the latter when the 5yo overcame a back row draw in defeating Believe In Forever and Night School. In attempting another hat-trick of wins, Major Fire, from another second row draw, worked forward in finding the lead, but was vulnerable in the process. As a result, Major Fire faded enough to allow Captain Pins and Damysus to push her back to third spot, beaten a mere 1.6m in the process. Handily drawn in the middle of the pack, Major Fire will have the opportunity to pursue a forward role, then the winning post. The Jack Trainor prepared and driven VULUNTEER (5) appears to be the main threat, if there is to be one, with the consistent 4yo recording Menangle placings either side of a gritty all-the-way win at Bathurst. The son of A Rocknroll Dance worked home stoutly in finishing a head 3rd behind Sir Richard Lee a couple of weeks ago and is capable of taking up a more forward role this time. REACTOR FACTOR (6) contested the same race won by Sir Richard Lee in posting a creditable 2.8m fifth. Either side of that display the Elizabeth Heath-trained 6yo has posted solid wins at Newcastle and he is certainly racing well enough to be a factor. APACHE WHITESOX (4) has won two of his past three at Newcastle, while being placed on the other occasion. The 6yo is entitled to be included in exotic investments, along with BETTOR WATCH ARDEN (3), GIMMIE A REASON (1), IM IN TROUBLE (10), which will be having his first run for Seaton Grima, and WHATS YOUR SECRET (11).
MAJOR FIRE 1, Vulunteer 2, Reactor Factor 3, Apache Whitesox 4.
Former Kiwi OUR COSMIC MAJOR (3) appeals as the ‘best bet’ on the card following a stylish win when first-up for the Belinda McCarthy team. Contesting his first race since scoring at Addington in late February, the son of Art Major had little trouble overcoming a back row draw in easily defeating Girl From Oz and Rip Jackson at Penrith just over a week ago. Jack Callaghan appeared to have plenty in reserve as Our Cosmic Major greeted the judge with a margin of 9.7 metres to spare. This will be a slightly harder assignment for Our Cosmic Major, but ideally drawn in three and boasting a higher level of fitness, the gelding is entitled to plenty of attention. ALLSTARZZZ FRANKIE (6) scored here four starts back and hasn’t be a factor since, although the 4yo did tackle a harder assignment at Melton a month ago when an 18.8m 7th to Mona Mia. The Steve Turnbull-trained son of Four Starzzz Shark then finished a creditable 8.7m 6th behind Don Hugo, who then ran a big race in the G2 Stockade, finishing third behind Sure Thing Captain, beaten 4.4m. That effort keeps him in the mix as a potential danger. LOCHIEL (11) has the outside draw to overcome, but the Leon Jurd-trained 6yo is again capable of being a suitable addition to exotic investments. Last time out the son of Lincoln Royal drew deep in posting a solid 4.2m 4th behind Don Hugo and Zambia. Lochiel will get back, however, if Will Rixon can secure a soft run, then the gelding could spring a surprise. CRIME DONT PAY (10) is coming of wins at Penrith and Menangle, respectively, and although the Seaton Grima trained and driven son of Sportswriter has a wide draw, the 6yo will give a good account. SIR RICHARD LEE (9), PRINCE OF PEACE (5) and INDASKY (4) stay in the mix when it comes to the multiples.
OUR COSMIC MAJOR 1, Allstarzzz Frankie 2, Lochiel 3, Crime Dont Pay 4.
Two starts back and the talented FUNKY MONKEY (9) found the 30m hcp beyond her, however, the Elizabeth Heath-trained mare remains the one to beat, despite the same mark. Safely away, but always in a deep peg role in the field on six, Funky Monkey was doing her best work late, which resulted in a closing 2.8m 3rd behind Valley Star and Royal Glenferrie, two of her rivals once again. With three more runners and the prospect of a quicker tempo, the daughter of Monkey Bones is capable of going back-to-back after returning to a mobile last time out in defeating Regal Attire and Jungle Eyes. REGAL ATTIRE (8) will again make his presence felt, despite the same mark as the mare. The Jarrod Alchin-trained son of Muscle Hill followed his 3rd to Funky Monkey with a 16m 4th to Majestic Trio, then a gritty 3.4m 2nd to Funky Monkey. With a solid stand record, Regal Attire is capable of reversing the result. Former Kiwi INVICTUS (7) will share the 30m tape with the two main contenders, and with 67 stand assignments back home, the 7yo has 13 wins and 17 placings to show for his efforts. The son of Peak DNK was having his first run in two months when first-up for Belinda McCarthy, with the gelding breaking with 500m to run after being in a three-peg role. Expect a better showing from Invictus. ROYAL GLENFERRIE (5) has had 12 starts under these conditions, and although yet to greet the judge, the Paul Fitzpatrick-conditioned 7yo has posted five placings and a handful of efforts just behind the placed runners. With the advantage of a 20m head start over the other trio, the son of Bettors Delight will again be a suitable exotic player. VALLEY STAR (1) is also a worthy addition to the multiples from the front line while DONTOUCH THE DUCO (2), while yet to be placed in four runs since leaving Victoria to join the Belinda McCarthy team, stays in the mix when it comes to the exotics.
FUNKY MONKEY 1, Regal Attire 2, Invictus 3, Royal Glenferrie 4.
– FORM ASSESSED BY MIKE KO’CASS