October 19, 2023 Michael Court
Ideally drawn and racing in career best form, JANARTY (3) should have punters commencing the big 10-event card on the right side of the ledger. Boasting three wins from his past five starts, plus two narrow defeats, the Jarrod Alchin-trained son of Art Major managed to record an all-the-way win a week ago, courtesy of an astute drive by Will Rixon. When the judge called a halt, the 7yo had a comfortable margin to spare over Stellar Arden and Shez Notorious. This assignment is slightly more difficult but Janarty remains the one to beat. SAGINAW (6) has also been a model of consistency of late, with three wins and a couple of placings next to his name. Prepared by Seaton Grima, who will also take the reins, the son of Well Said drew the outside gate last time out, however, Seaton was able to secure the one-one, and that allowed the 7yo to account for Bollinger and Our Uncle Jim. Now four runs into his career since making the move from the southern state, Saginaw will again make his presence felt. IDEAL DAN (9) returns from a spell following a few disappointing runs at Menangle, Bankstown and Albion Park. The latest outing resulted in a 40.3m 11th behind the outstanding Ladies In Red in the G1 Rising Sun on July 9. The 5yo son of American Ideal returns in a far more suitable contest, although he hasn’t done a great deal in three trials. However, there is the Jason Grimson factor so Ideal Dan must be included in the mix, plus, when right the entire does have plenty of talent. ARDENS ACE (2) has drawn well and is bound to receive the run he likes, stalking the speed, which was the case last week when a solid 5m 6th to Ripp. The Tony Bertwistle-trained 5yo doesn’t win out of turn, but he is also a consistent type for exotic players. When forming multiple investments the Queenslander RED RIGHT HAND (5) arrives with solid form and despite the harder task awaiting him, the Trent Lethaby-trained 5yo is worth consideration. FIRESTORM RED (10) was responsible for a solid campaign when last in work and resumes on the back of a good trial display. Despite the tricky draw, don’t leave him out of exotic discussions.
JANARTY 1, Saginaw 2, Ideal Dan 3, Ardens Ace 4.
The first semi-final for the 3YO Colts & Geldings will feature the Emma Stewart-trained OLIVER DAN (2) with Mark Pitt heading north to take the reins. The classy son of Bettors Delight drew the inside of the second row for the running of the 2760m Victoria Derby at Melton a week ago. Settling three pegs the colt posted a solid 9.6m 4th behind his star stablemate, Petracca. Prior to that outing Oliver Dan didn’t enjoy the best of luck when three pegs in finishing a 10.2m 6th behind The Real Sherlock in a heat of the Derby. With the draw a big plus this time around, Oliver Dan will be a factor from the outset in proving the one to run down. The Brad Hewitt trained and driven CAPTAINS KNOCK (3) also contested the Victoria Derby from the back row, with the son of Captaintreacherous settling four back on the pegs, en route to posting a 17m seventh. The highly-regarded colt has also drawn well and that will encourage Hewitt to stake a claim for the lead role. Boasting four wins and two placings from his seven Menangle starts, Captains Knock will take a power of beating. The James McPherson-conditioned EL CAMINO (10) has enjoyed a wonderful season, competing in nine races for five wins and four placings. The American Ideal colt qualified for this race with an easy win at Bathurst back in mid-September. The task will be a lot harder here, with the wide gate also tricky, but the colt certainly has what it takes to be a threat, especially with Jack Trainor in the sulky. Exotic investors should consider the consistent CAPTAINS CATCH (6), which hasn’t missed a place in his 11 starts, MAJOR CELEBRITY (8) and MONTALBANO (12).
OLIVER DAN 1, Captains Knock 2, El Camino 3, Major Celebrity 4.
This event will be the first semi-final for the 3YO Fillies and despite drawing the outside gate, the Emma Stewart-prepared MAJOR DELIGHT (12) will take a power of beating. Unbeaten in two runs at this venue, the latter being the 2YO Fillies title of this series a year ago, the Bathurst Gold Bracelet winner arrives following a gallant display in the G1 Victoria Oaks last week at Melton. Working three deep from her back row draw to eventually occupy the role outside of the leader, the brilliant daughter of Bettors Delight was game in defeat when a head 2nd behind her outstanding stablemate, Sweet Bella. Despite the difficult draw, Major Delight, who has won 12 of her 14 starts, along with two roles as runner-up, will reign supreme this time around. Major Delight to one side and the race is far more open. SHEZ THE REASON (5) is a member of the Brad Hewitt team and with a handy draw next to her name the daughter of For Reason will give a bold showing. Following wins in four of her previous five starts, the filly left her comfort zone in competing against older, all age horses, when a 12m 8th to Smaltese at Menangle more than a week ago. Back to a suitable event and Shez The Reason will be in the mix from the outset. The David Thorn-conditioned SKY BLU (3) has been placed in each of her past four assignments and with and with a good draw assisting her, the Sweet Lou filly will have the chance to progress to the Final. Coming from a seven peg role in her heat, Sky Blu posted a pleasing 9.5m 3rd behind Tin Tin Jo and Peaceful. WINDY HILL TARA (7) already has the G1 NSW Oaks title to her credit and the daughter of Betting Line can be expected to make her presence felt. The Steve Turnbull-trained 3yo was costly in defeat when it came to her heat performance, which resulted in a 7m 3rd to Smokeshow at Bathurst. Contesting a further heat at Menangle and Windy Hill Tara hit the line with intent in defeating Ludacrous and Promiseland. When it comes to multiple transactions, PROMISELAND (8) is capable of assisting in that regard while MERAKI (11) is also a value player in that regard.
MAJOR DELIGHT 1, Shez The Reason 2, Sky Blu 3, Windy Hill Tara 4.
The 4YO Entires and Geldings semi-final is next up and this is a far more open contest. Narrowly beaten in each of his past two starts, both at this venue, SAINT CRUSADER (3) appeals as the one to beat, especially from his far better draw. Following a game attempt to lead throughout two starts ago, the 4yo was beaten narrowly by Ardens Ace before competing from a midfield role when run down late by Ideal In Dreams, which came out last week and did exactly the same in scoring impressively. Saint Crusader was having his first run for Jarrod Alchin on that occasion and with Victoria Cup winning reinsman Cam Hart in the sulky, Saint Crusader is ready to greet the judge. BLACK ONYX (2) has always been a talent and with gate two next to his name the Kerry and Dean McDowell-trained son of Bettors Delight is capable of giving plenty of cheek. Narrowly defeating Surfers Delight and Pitch Perfect two runs back, Black Onyx was beaten a half-neck in posting a solid finishing 2nd to Boyzhavtime at Newcastle. With a role close to the action set to come his way, Black Onyx will be a factor from the outset. The consistent DANCE AND DELIVER (7) has been unplaced in four runs this term but has been thereabouts in each of them. Prepared by Peter Rixon and to be driven by son Will, Dance And Deliver should be included when it comes to multiple transactions while SAINT VERAN (5), KEAYANG DOMINO (1) and ONE FOR THE RODI (6) also warrant attention in that regard.
SAINT CRUSADER 1, Black Onyx 2, Dance And Deliver 3, Keayang Domino 4.
The second semi-final for the boys and BETTER BE THE BEST (3) will stamp his authority on this race from the outset after the brilliant son of Shoobees Place drew perfectly, which is just an added bonus for the colt. A ‘good thing’ beaten in the 2YO version of this series a year ago, Better Be The Best has enjoyed an outstanding 3yo season, with eight wins and a second coming his way from 10 starts. Since resuming from a spell the Nathan Turnbull trained and driven star has won all five, the latest when he worked from a back row draw in finding the role outside of the leader, before treating his rivals with contempt in defeating Saint Veran and Jungle Baby at Bathurst. This will simply be a case of finding the lead, then the winning post. The James Rattray trained and driven BAINBRIDGE (8) is also a class act, but the son of Captaintreacherous, despite his talent, will find it difficult finishing ahead of Better Be The Best. The 3yo opened his latest term of racing with a gritty 2nd to For Real Life in a heat of this series, then easily accounted for his rivals in scoring at Menangle. Facing the starter in a further heat at Headquarters, Bainbridge continued on his winning way in defeating King Tintin and Montalbano. While you can lock in Better Be The Best for the top spot, the same applies to Bainbridge for second. When it comes to fighting out the remaining exotic roles, the battle will be keenly contested by SMOOTH BUZZ (6), which has been in fine form since a spell, the well-drawn IL BANDITO (2), SWEETHEART HEART (1) and MY ULTIMATE SNOWY (5).
BETTER BE THE BEST 1, Bainbridge 2, Smooth Buzz 3, Il Bandito 4.
The Kevin Robinson FFA should result in the Jason Grimson-conditioned ABOUTTIME (4) breaking through for a deserving win and it will be ‘about time’, as well. Successful at Albion Park back on July 18, the son of Art Major returned to this venue five weeks later in posting a 25.5m 4th to his classy stablemate Hi Manameisjeff, which stopped the clock at 1:48.9 in what was an awesome display of speed and power. Aboutime then recorded a hat-trick of solid placings, firstly behind Kanena Provlima, then second and third, respectively, behind Hi Manameisjeff once again. Each time being game in defeat. There is still plenty of class attached to this race, but Abouttime is more than capable of being first to the winning post. TAIPO (3) is also racing in fine fashion in races of this nature and with the benefit of a good draw, the Brad Hewitt trained and driven 6yo looms as the toughest to beat. Runner-up to Hi Manameisjeff three runs ago, Taipo then finished a 3.9m 4th to Spirit Of St Louis before filling the same role behind My Ultimate Ronnie, beaten 4.9m. That form must be respected. Brilliant mare BRAEVIEW KELLY (1) has drawn ideally in gate one as she prepares to take on the ‘boys’. The Jack Trainor-prepared mare returned to racing with an exciting display in defeating B K Swy and Im Presi Belle, coming from a rearward role in powering home over the final 200m. Fitter for the outing, the 5yo daughter of Bettors Delight will have the opportunity to stalk the leaders before giving them something to think about over the final 300m. Classy 4yo RIPP (9) has bounced back strongly from his well-beaten last behind Encipher in the $2m Eureka by winning his next two. Prepared by Bernie Hewitt and driven by son Doug, Ripp has be able to enjoy a kind run behind the leader on each occasion before showing his class over the final stages, the latter a week ago in defeating Roll Up and Bubba Scrub. From the wide draw Ripp will be driven back in the pack and allowed to reserve as much energy as possible for a final assault. Despite taking on the older pacers, Ripp can’t be ignored as a threat and he should have the race run to suit. OUR MONEY ROCKS (10) hit the line gamely when a 5.6m 2nd to Swayzee last week, and although the draw has added to the degree of difficulty, the David Thorn-trained 6yo remains a suitable exotic player. The Brian Portelli stable start in TASTY DELIGHT (8) makes his return to the track following a six month spell. The 5yo ended his previous term with a 13.8m 7th to My Ultimate Ronnie at Wagga on April 8. Runner-up to Zeuss Bromac in the Newcastle Cup, prior to a gallant 2nd behind Mach Dan in the Newcastle Mile Tasty Delight has three solid trials behind him and is poised to make a bold first-up showing.
ABOUTTIME 1, Taipo 2, Braeview Kelly 3, Ripp 4.
The second semi-final for the 3YO Fillies has an open appearance, with the draw adding to the intrigue. Despite drawing out deep the Jason Grimson-trained TIN TIN JO (10) deserves top billing. Since returning from a disappointing 25.8m last to Torque Like Motion in the G1 Queensland Oaks at AP on July 22, the daughter of Tintin In America has been in superb form in winning three of her next four while finishing runner-up behind another quality filly in Eye Keep Smiling, who will also take her place in this field. Tin Tin Jo followed her narrow defeat with a comfortable all-the-way win in a further heat of this series when she defeated Peaceful and Sky Blu. The filly has the gate speed to make her presence felt from the outset, with Cam Hart likely to be keen to produce another astute front-running performance. EYE KEEP SMILING (12) will have to overcome the outside gate, but the Sweet Lou filly is capable of doing exactly that in her quest for a spot in the Final. After opening her latest term of racing with five-consecutive wins, the latest when having her first run for Belinda McCarthy, Eye Keep Smiling is coming off a ‘forget’ display when a 57.4m last to Magic Matteo. Taking on older rivals of mixed sex, the filly was enjoying a kind run behind the leader, but Eye Keep Smiling had little to smile about on straightening as Jack Callaghan searched for a clear passage, which didn’t eventuate. As a result, Eye Keep Smiling became unbalanced, broke and lost all chance. Eye Keep Smiling will be a definite threat. PEACEFUL (6) appears to be a notch below her outstanding 2yo career, however, the filly can’t be taken lightly. Following a game attempt to lead throughout in the G1 Queensland Oaks at AP back on July 22, which resulted in a 4.6m 3rd to Torque Like Motion, the Belinda McCarthy-trained daughter of Sweet Lou then finished a 14.5m 7th to Eye Keep Smiling in the first round of heats before a sound 7m 2nd to Tin Tin Jo when always prominent in the second round. Handily drawn, Peaceful will again be in the thick of the action from the outset. LUDACROUS (9) has contested 10 races this season for Kate Hargreaves, with two wins and seven placings coming her way, six as runner-up. The daughter of Art Major started favourite for a heat of the Vicbred 3YO Fillies series at Ballarat on August 30, but after having little luck in running, Ludacrous crossed the line in 7th spot, beaten 5.8m by Little Miss Lily. Ludacrous then recorded a solid photo 2nd to Windy Hill Tara at Menangle on October 10 after moving from a midfield role and three deep, to sneak in behind the leader before battling on gamely in the straight. Despite drawing wide the filly remains a serious threat. Exotic players should consider the consistent and well-drawn NO DRAMAS (1), MOST TRIUMPHANT (2) and SMOKESHOW (7) in the hope of adding some value.
TIN TIN JO 1, Eye Keep Smiling 2, Peaceful 3, Ludacrous 4.
This will be a one act affair as the brilliant MY ULTIMATE RONNIE (4) will stamp his authority on this race from the outset, leaving his rivals to sought out the minors. One of a number of outstanding drives for Victoria Cup winning reinsman Cam Hart, the Jarrod Alchin-conditioned had little trouble leading from start to finish against older rivals last time out, with the star 4yo accounting for Petes Said So and Kanena Provlima. Prior to that run, once again against older and far more experienced opponents, My Ultimate Ronnie powered home in finishing a 2m 3rd behind Spirit Of St Louis and Star Major. Back to his own age and My Ultimate Ronnie will have the 18th win of his career at his mercy. Exotic investments will be the way to attack this race and from his good draw ALLSTARZZZ FRANKIE (2) has the chance to secure second spot. Prepared by Steve Turnbull and to be driven by Amanda, the son of Fourstarzzz Shark has been honest in defeat of late, with his latest outing resulting in a 3.8m 4th to Ideal In Dreams at this venue a couple of weeks ago. The ideal draw will assist the 4yo in securing a suitable run close to the action. The Brian Portelli trained and driven SMALTESE (8) is coming off a strong all-the-way win over Prince Of Peace and My Ultimate Johnny, and although a harder task awaits, due to the presence of My Ultimate Ronnie, Smaltese has always shown plenty of talent and filling a role in the top three isn’t beyond him. IM IN TROUBLE (9) has been far more tractable of late, which has enabled the 4yo son of Art Major to be far more competitive. The 4yo worked and battled on stoutly when a 5.7m 6th to Ideal In Dreams last time out, and although the Joe Conolly-trained gelding has drawn the outside gate, claims as an exotic player should be considered. PROMISING (3) has been thereabouts on a regular basis and the good draw will enhance his claims on being in the mix when the judge calls a halt. ROCLEA IMAGE (7) would appear to be the remaining contender.
MY ULTIMATE RONNIE 1, Allstarzzz Frankie 2, Smaltese 3, Im In Trouble 4.
Intriguing contest for the trotters under the stand conditions as the main players can do the odd thing wrong. The former applies to ONE MAJIC KENNY (10), who, as Forrest Gump said, “ is like a box of chocolates, you just never know what you’re gonna get’’. Prepared and driven by Blake Fitzpatrick, One Majic Kenny resumed with a solid win and everything looked back on track for the son of Majestic Son, however, his manners went out the window once again for his next two assignments, both resulting in moderate efforts. Then in a similar stand assignment to the one he will be confronted with this time around, he managed to overcome a moderate start in finishing a gallant neck 2nd to Constantinople. Then last time out the 6yo was again focused, despite striking some interference in posting an 11.5m 4th to Toro Stride. A repeat of his past two runs would see One Majic Kenny proving hard to beat from his 10m hcp. ROYAL GLENFERRIE (6) has been I the mix in his past two, the first resulting in a creditable 11m 3rd to Constantinople, the latter a 10.6m 4th to Doff Your Cap. From behind the front line tape, Royal Glenferrie is capable of giving this a shake. SUNNY GEE (9) hasn’t greeted the judge in 11 months, however, his latest effort in finishing a gritty 9.2m 3rd to Doff Your Cap should be respected in this far more suitable contest. The stand won’t be an issue for the son of Majestic Son. THEBESTBOURBON (8) resumes from behind the 10m strand, and with sound form under these conditions the Grant Forrest-trained mare can’t be dismissed as a contender. Following a run of solid displays the daughter of Sam Bourbon headed to the paddock following a moderate last to Funky Monkey in a similar race to this back on July 1. Grant has given his stable star three trials in readiness for her return. VIKSUN (4) and AFFAIRE DE COVER (7) are value players for wider exotic investments.
ONE MAJIC KENNY 1, Funky Monkey 2, Royal Glenferrie 3, Sunny Gee 4.
The Jack Trainor-conditioned THERESA LOVE (3) appeals as the one to beat I what appears to be an open race to end proceedings. Following determined back-to-back wins after racing without cover, the daughter of Terror To Love drew badly out in nine for her most recent outing a couple of weeks ago, resulting in a rearward role, then a three deep trip home. The end result was a gritty 5.6m 6th behind her stablemate Ardens Delight. The far better draw is a plus for Theresa Love and coupled with the outstanding form in the sulky by Trainor in recent weeks, and the pair warrant plenty of attention. LIGHTNING DAN (7) is the one to beat as he steps out fitter for two runs back from a spell. The Jason Grimson-trained son of Captaintreacherous resumed with a 13m 6th to Ripp after having every chance in the one-one. Facing the starter at Menangle a week ago, and the 4yo was again safely held when a 9.6m 8th to Ripp. With the benefit of those two runs Lightning Dan is capable of playing a far more active role in the finish. FREDDY SINGH (4) has been runner-up in two of his three runs back, the latter when beaten narrowly by Ideal in Dreams, which came out a week later and posted another impressive win. The drew is suitable and a win here wouldn’t surprise. DON LOU (9) produced a big effort in scoring two runs back when he finished strongly in defeating Saginaw and Bollinger. The Mark Rolfe-trained 4yo drew the outside gate and was never a factor in finishing a 22m last to Lochiel a week later. With the benefit of a few weeks off, Don Lou is capable of bouncing back strongly so don’t ignore his claims. CRIME DONT PAY (11)is coming off a couple of unplaced efforts, but the 6yo hasn’t has a great deal of luck in the process. Prior to his latest effort, which resulted in an 8.9m 8th to Roll Up two weeks ago, the Seaton Grima trained and driven son of Sportswriter had been in fine form and despite drawing badly in the outside gate, Crime Dont Pay is capable of productive showing. ZAMBIA (2) has been drawing wide of late. However, with the benefit of a better draw the 6yo is capable of making his presence felt, with his form prior to his past two unplaced efforts, good enough to give this a shake.
THERESA LOVE 1, Lightning Dan 2, Freddy Singh 3, Don Lou 4.
– FORM ASSESSED BY MIKE KO’CASS