March 5, 2021 National Trotguide
Confronted by a suitable assignment, and drawing perfectly in gate one, JAY OK (1) is poised to again top the charts after spending five outings in the top three, prior to a pleasing display in the G1 Chariots of Fire a couple of weeks ago. Following a 2m 3rd to The Croupier and Expensive Ego, and we know what the latter has done since, Jay Ok then finished 3rd to Shoobee Doo, prior to appearing a shade unlucky when a closing 2.5m 3rd behind his stablemate Zeuss Bromac in the G2 Hondo Grattan. Facing the starter for the Chariots of Fire, the Paul Fitzpatrick-trained 4yo again worked home stoutly in recording a respectable 7.5m 6th to Expensive Ego. Heading into a race of this nature, that is the type of form which should attract plenty of attention. The program is overflowing with winning prospects from the Belinda McCarthy, with the former Kiwi STUN GUN (6) looking to lay the foundations for what is to come. Unbeaten in two runs since crossing the Tasman, the 5yo son of Stunin Cullen is an impressive individual and although a harder task awaits, expect to see him fighting out the finish. BALDUCCI (4) has been competitive in each of his past three trips to Headquarters, culminating in a 2.9m 3rd behind stablemate Bunadoran two weeks ago. Suitably drawn and that will assist in claiming a role close to the action, the Amanda Turnbull trained and driven 4yo appeals as an ideal exotic runner. OUR MONEY ROCKS (11) resumes from a wide gate, but the Grant Fuller-trained 4yo has the talent to assist as an exotic runner, with a sound trial bringing him up to scratch. PACMAN HAMMER (5) is coming off a sound 2nd to Stun Gun and has the better of the draw this time, so keep him safe in multiple investments, along with MOREAU DRIVE (2), another representative from the McCarthy yard.
JAY OK 1, Stun Gun 2, Balducci 3, Our Money Rocks 4.
Cawdor mentor Paul Fitzpatrick has his team in a ‘purple patch’ of form and the former Kiwi BAD TO THE BONE (8) has certainly thrived in recent weeks under his guidance. Sent across the Tasman by Barry Purdon, in the hope of qualifying for the Chariots of Fire, Bad To The Bone was safely held in both the G2 Hondo Grattan and the G2 Paleface Adios, but not disgraced.
With the benefit of those two runs and the invaluable experienced gained by racing at this venue, the son of Bettors Delight enjoyed the drop in grade when he scored in fine style, then he again looked smart in easily accounting for Bundoran and Rockasaki in the Lady Drivers Invitational last week, courtesy of a stylish drive by Steph Lippiatt. Group One Gav jumps back into the sulky and barring bad luck, Bad To The Bone looks on target to complete a hat-trick of wins. ROCKIN MARTY (3) had been racing in fine fashion before working overtime from a wide gate, which left him exposed outside of the leader for much of the trip. As a result, the talented 5yo faded in finishing a 12.3m 8th to Burnham Boy. Returning to a far more suitable starting role, the son of Pet Rock should receive a kinder trip, which will pave the way for a strong showing. OUR TRIPLE PLAY (1) will also enjoy the opportunity to commence this assignment from a good draw, with the Brad Hewitt trained and driven son of Shadow Play set to launch his claim on the major share of the prizemoney from gate one. Rarely far from the action, the 7yo has been freshened since recording a solid 6.6m 5th behind Miracle Mile contender Alta Orlando at Goulburn back in mid-January. Although he doesn’t win out of turn these days, Our Triple Play can round the bases and greeting the judge so don’t ignore his claims. PITCH PERFECT (6) hasn’t had a great deal of luck of late, including his effort here last week in finishing a 12.4m last to Escalera when he was held up for a clear run. A better draw awaits the son of Bettors Delight, which will enhance his exotic prospects. Cameron Hart produced an outstanding drive in guiding the Jarrod Alchin-trained ESCALERA (2) to victory a week ago. The task will be a shade harder this time, but the good draw will see him enjoy a kind run, prior to again making his presence felt. MOTU GATECRASHER (5) is one of three Belinda McCarthy runners, and probably the best of the trio so include the Changeover 8yo in the mix while ELLMERS IMAGE (9) is racing in fine style and can play an active role in the finish.
BAD TO THE BONE 1, Rockin Marty 2, Our Triple Play 3, Pitch Perfect 4.
The Country Series Final has a number of ‘live’ chances, but it is hard to go past the David Hewitt trained and driven RAGING SEA (1) after the son of Western Terror drew the prized pole position. Sent for a break after leading throughout for a comfortable win over Balducci at Bathurst on Boxing Day, the sparingly-raced 4yo headed back to Bathurst for his next outing on February 24, and once again, Raging Sea greeted the judge, this time courtesy of the sprint lane, which enabled him to defeat Allset, one of his main threats again. Hewitt will have the chance to dictate or again take cover and wait until the spacious Menangle straight comes into play. Either way, Raging Sea is capable of ‘waving’ his rivals goodbye over the final stages. Amanda Turnbull has ALLSET (7) and LIFEOFBRIAN (9) engaged, although the former is her choice, LIFEOFBRIAN appeals as one of the major contenders. The son of Mach Three finished 5th to Elroy Jetson at his only Menangle experience four runs ago, since then he has been consistent on the country circuit, culminating in a solid all-the-way win at Young a week ago. The 5yo son of Mach Three has drawn wide but with Isobel Ross driving in fine style, Lifeofbrian has the chance to be a ‘very good boy’ and not a ‘very naughty boy’. ALLSET (7) has had every chance in each of his past two starts, the former resulting in a 26.2m 3rd to the classy Watts Up Sunshine at this venue while the latter was at Bathurst a couple of weeks ago when he led in finishing a 4.8m 2nd to Raging Sea. Turnbull will again look to have the son of Elsu prominently placed from the outset. YOHA (2) has drawn ideally in two and the booking of Luke McCarthy is significant. The Terror To Love mare has been mixing her form but expect a competitive showing due to a kind run behind the pace. ELAGUILA (3) has exotic claims while COMANCHI WARRIOR (5) also fits into that category.
RAGING SEA 1, Lifeofbrian 2, Allset 3, Yoha 4.
The G1 Trotters Mile has attracted a star-studded line up with the exciting Kiwi-based MAJESTIC MAN (3) the one to beat after the Phillip Williamson-trained son of Majestic Man drew close to the pegs. The 6yo has contested five races since leaving home, all at Melton, the latest resulting in a brilliant display a week ago in taking out the Grand Prix. Majestic Man had to first overcome a 2nd line draw, then some early interference, en route to working his way to the role as pacemaker. Boasting 17 wins and 26 placings from 54 starts, Majestic Man displayed all his class in defeating a fast-finishing Pink Galahs while Monaro Mia grabbed third spot. With the gate speed to take full advantage of gate two, which will be the case if the 2nd reserve doesn’t come off the bench, Majestic Man and Brad Williamson should be at the head of affairs from the moment the green light is activated and that will ensure that he takes a power of catching. TOUGH MONARCH (9) has a wonderful record here and the local hero will be out to repel the strong inter-state and overseas challenge. Following a creditable period of racing in NZ, prior to scoring here on January 23, the Rickie Alchin-trained local star, then headed back to Melton for his past four engagements, with the 9yo claiming victory in two of those assignments, including the Knight Pistol. Although Tough Monarch was never a serious threat in the Grand Prix, which resulted in a closing 11.6m 6th to Majestic Man, he didn’t have a great deal of luck from a back row draw, but he still recorded good stats over the final 400m. ALWAYS READY (8) has been unplaced since scoring at Melton five starts ago but has been in the mix in three of those encounters. After a gritty 4m 5th to Tough Monarch in the Knight Pistol, the Ready Cash 5yo then posted a creditable 8.4m 4th to Majestic Man. The booking of trotting specialist Blake Fitzpatrick is an interesting choice and he will certainly give Always Ready every chance to show a return to winning form. PINK GALAHS (5) opened her latest campaign with four safely-held efforts, which was in stark contrast to her previous term when she enjoyed a stellar season of racing as a three-year-old. The Matthew Craven-trained and driven daughter of Skyvalley indicated she was starting to warm to the idea of contesting races outside of her age group, when previously in work, following a pleasing 4.6m 2nd to Majestic Man last week. The big Menangle track should be to her liking, along with a handy draw. DROP THE HAMMER (4) rarely runs a bad race, especially here where he has won all his 24 victories. Ideally drawn, the Darren Hancock trained and driven 6yo is entitled to be respected as an exotic runner. ARNOLD (6) also has claims in that regard while the Andy Gath-trained HAVEHORSEWILLTRAVEL (12) has been in fine form since coming across from NZ, and although the draw is a concern, Robert Morris will give him every chance to make a play for a role in the multiples.
MAJESTIC MAN 1, Tough Monarch 2, Always Ready 3, Pink Galahs 4.
Numerous Miracle Mile hopefuls, who missed out on the $1m race, will clash in the G1 Ainsworth FFA over the 2400m, with the race overflowing with contenders for the title. Star Victorian WESTERN SONADOR (9) is deserving of a change of luck, and although the 5yo has drawn wide in eight, which is less one of the two reserves, that may not be a hinderance over this longer trip. Resuming from a spell with a strong win at Melton on November 28, Western Sonador then posted six-consecutive placings, the latest when an eye-catching 2nd to The Black Prince in the G1 Newcastle Mile. Next stop was a week ago when the son of Western Terror faced the starter for the Schweppes Sprint, one of two events set aside for an invite into the Miracle Mile. Settling four pegs, Western Sonador worked to the line strongly in recording a closing 9m 6th behind the reigning Miracle Mile champ, King Of Swing. Prepared by Stephen O’Donoghue and driver Rebecca Bartley, Western Sonador will appreciate the 2400m of this assignment, and although one of a number of chances, the southern visitor is well-worth the gamble. MAX DELIGHT (12) is another ‘south of the border’ raider who must be given plenty of respect as the extended journey will enhance his claims. Arriving for a shot at Miracle Mile history, the David Aiken-trained 5yo is no stranger to winning races at this venue, having won the NSW Derby. A year ago, Max Delight contested the Chariots of Fire, finishing an excellent behind two super-stars in Lochinvar Art and Self Assured. Prior to contesting the Allied Express Spring last week, Max Delight had won his previous two starts in fine style at Melton, but he still started at long odds in recording a solid 5.6m 8th to Wolf Stride. Like his fellow Victorian, Max Delight will enjoy this type of assignment. MACH SHARD (3) will create a great deal interest after being a shade unlucky on two occasions here last week. The first was his solid-finishing 1.6m 3rd to Wolf Stride, with the former Kiwi being forced to change course on a couple of occasions when looking for clear air over the final 200m. Better luck would have seen the Mach Three 6yo secure a spot in the Miracle Mile, with the latest addition to the Belinda McCarthy team unlucky in not securing a ‘wild card’ invitation. With the benefit of his first hit-out in five weeks and an ideal draw for this longer trip, Mach Shard is bound to play an active role in the finish. TURN IT UP (5) was a shade disappointing in the G1 Newcastle Mile won by The Black Prince as the Queenslander appeared to have every chance in the lead role. The son of Courage Under Fire bounced back strongly in recording a 1.6m 4th to Wolf stride in the G1 Allied Express Sprint, and on the back of that effort the Vicki Rasmussen-trained 6yo is entitled to further consideration. STAR GALLERIA (7) had little go his way in the Hunter Cup, with a 16.9m 7th to Lochinvar Art coming his way. However, the 7yo did catch the eye in the Allied Express Spring a week ago when he recorded an unlucky 2.7m 5th to Wolf Stride. The son of Art Major drew the outside gate in securing a four-peg role, and with better luck over the final stages, Star Galleria could have been right in the fight. Young Jack Callaghan will again take the reins behind the Belinda McCarthy-trained gelding. Expect a better showing from KOWALSKI ANALYSIS (2), who had been racing in fine style before tiring last week after a tough run, which resulted in a creditable 12.8m last behind Wolf Stride. BALRAJ (11) is another more than capable of making his presence felt as the 5yo did a good job in hitting the line with intent, resulting in a 5m 7th to Wolf Stride. The Belinda McCarthy-trained 5yo may be on the verge of showing a return to winning form.
WESTERN SONADOR 1, Max Delight 2, Mach Shard 3, Turn It Up 4.
Disappointed that he is unable to contest the Miracle Mile with his champion, Lochinvar Art, Victorian mentor David Moran is excited about taking the reins behind his rising star, PATSBEACHSTORM (8), who faces the starter as one of the major contenders for the APG NSW Derby (G1). Posting five wins and two placings from a mere seven starts, Patsbeachstorm will launch his claim from gate six, providing the reserves don’t come into play, and that appears to be an ideal starting point for the exciting son of Somebeachsomewhere. Following a surprise defeat in the Caduceus 3YO Classic at Melton on January 30, when a 2.6m 2nd to Bondi Lockdown, Patsbeachstorm headed north for a 2550m assignment at Newcastle three weeks later and, as expected, treated his rivals with contempt. His next stop was a heat of the NSW Derby a week ago, and once again, Patsbeachstorm was impressive in easily defeating Act Now and Watts Up Sunshine. Boasting an impressive ‘burst of speed’, Patsbeachstorm will be looking to secure a cosy midfield role, allowing the likes of TASTY DELIGHT (3) and ACT NOW (6) to set a solid tempo. When the home turn comes into play. Moran will give Patsbeachstorm the signal to lengthen stride, and it will take a big effort to prevent him from greeting the judge. TASTY DELIGHT is a class-act in his own right, with the Bathurst Gold Crown winner enjoying an ideal preparation. Resuming from a spell the Brian Portelli trained and driven son of Bettors Delight posted a 4.8m 2nd to He Aint Fakin in the Simpson Memorial after racing keenly outside of the leader. With that run under his belt, Tasty Delight settled nicely in the lead role when he proved too good for Justa Little Bit and Wow Hes a Rock Star over the 2300m of the Menangle track. Dictating the terms at a casual tempo in his heat a week ago, Tasty Delight was never threatened in accounting for Kashed Up and Jacks Hawk. However, it will be a different scenario this time around as ACT NOW is also a keen leader, so the opening stages will be intriguing. The Clayton Tonkin-trained IDYLLIC (12) could be the one applying pressure to Patsbeachstorm over the final stages. Unextended in winning his heat Captain Crusader and Electric Eye, the colt zipped home his final 400m in 26.7, with Luke McCarthy still having a secure grip on the reins. Leading on that occasion, McCarthy will be looking to secure a comfortable role further back in the pack this time, courtesy of drawing the outside gate. A member of the powerful Emma Stewart team, Act Now also dictated the terms, but was keen to do so, resulting in the colt being vulnerable over the final stages. That was the case as Patsbeachstorm cruised past him, but to his credit, Act Now battled on bravely in holding into second and he can’t be ignored as a contender for the title. CAPTAIN CRUSADER (1) will appreciate gate one, ensuring the possibility of a soft run and the chance of being an exotic contender. A fitter JACKS HAWK (4) also has claims in that regard while ELECTRIC EYE (7) is another value contender.
PATSBEACHSTORM 1, Tasty Delight 2, Idyllic 3, Act Now 4.
Firstly, there was the original ‘king of swing’, Benny Goodman, then Glenn Miller followed. For those under the age of fifty, this is when google comes into player. Come Saturday night and another ‘king of swing’ will be crowned. Prepared by Belinda McCarthy and to be driven her husband Luke, KING OF SWING (6) will join an elite group of exceptional Miracle Mile achievers, with ‘back-to-back’ titles to their credit. Members of this club include Westburn Grant (1989-90), Chokin (1993-94), Holmes DG (1999-2000), Sokyola (2003-04), Be Good Johnny (2005-06) and finally, Smoken Up (2010-11). Luke will be looking to join his father John as a member of this, ‘hard to get into club’, and become the first father and son to be honoured in such a manner.
Luke finished second with Slipnslide in John’s first Miracle Mile win, then finished at the tail of the field, second time around. With his preparation timed to the split second for his title defence, King Of Swing is superior to his physical presence this time last year and, as far as, his form is concerned, he has added further titles to his impressive record. Having have little luck in the Hunter Cup, which resulted in a brave 9.4m 3rd to Lochinvar Art and Alta Orlando, King Of Swing indicated that he was again the one to beat when he comfortably accounted for Out To Play and One Change in the Schweppes Sprint a week ago. Following three comfortable sectionals, McCarthy allowed King Of Swing a little more leather over the final 400m, allowing the champion 6yo to ‘blow out the cobwebs’ in a sizzling 25.8. Less the reserve and the son of Rocknroll Hanover will face the starter Todd Clarke from behind gate five, a suitable starting point for the striking entire. There is an abundance of speed drawn to his left, with IGNATIUS (2) likely to begin swiftly in an attempt to cross to the pegs, then it will be interesting to see if he can survive the likely challenge from ALTA ORLANDO (5), who in turn will be keen to enjoy a sit behind, no doubt, King Of Swing. Regardless, of whether does find the top or is left facing the breeze, the powerful frame of King Of Swing will take a power of passing down the famous Menangle straight. If, there is to be somewhat of a ‘boil over’, the mighty mare STYLISH MEMPHIS (10) is the one to provide such a result. The Mark Jones-trained mare, along with caretaker mentor Jack Trainor, has been the ‘star’ of the carnival so far, with Trainor also posting outstanding drives behind the daughter of Bettors Delight and the David Thorn-prepared filly Anntonia in taking out the NSW Oaks. Brilliant in the Chariots of Fire when a strong finishing 4m 4th to Expensive Ego, Stylish Memphis with simply ‘sensational’ in taking our the G1 Ladyship Mile last week. Despite competing on each of the past four Saturday night’s, and against outstanding opposition, the 4yo has continued to thrive. The prospect of an opening quarter being posted in 25 and change, Stylish Memphis will sit back and enjoy in the ‘big boys’ flexing their muscles in a show of gaining the early supremacy. With only seven rivals, Trainor will be able to ‘keep his powder dry’ until the field enter the home straight. Boasting a big sprint, Stylish Memphis is more than capable of powering down the middle of the track, which has been used to good affect so far. ALTA ORLANDO (5) is a tough, warhorse who, if he can find that role behind King Of Swing, will again make a bold play for a role in the top three. The 87-start veteran did a big job in running third to King Of Swing and Lochinvar Art in the 2020 edition of the great race, and he is certainly racing in that type of form again, as evident by his brave 2nd to Lochinvar Art in the Hunter Cup. OUT TO PLAY (9) was responsible for an exceptional effort in running King Of Swing to a 4m margin last week. The outstanding 5yo ‘broke the clock’ over the final 200m, and like Stylish Memphis, he could be a serious threat if he secures a kind run. EXPENSIVE EGO (4) is an exceptional talent, but he leaves the comfort of his age group with only 16 starts on the board. The draw is ideal and while he continues to ‘rise to the occasion’, he may be a year off being a serious player. THE BLACK PRINCE (1) has the right draw to make a play for a role in the top four, as a cosy peg run, three or four back, will allow Robert Morris to steak some cheap ground in the run home. Anthony Butt has always spoke in glowing terms about WOLF STRIDE (7) and, the legendary driver has been proved 100% right. Minor claims would appear his best hope. IGNATIUS (2) may find doing it tough early, in holding a forward role, then being able to ‘burn the candle’ at both ends, beyond him.
KING OF SWING 1, Stylish Memphis 2, Alta Orlando 3, Out To Play 4.
The ‘stars’ of the future will take centre stage when the youngsters step out for the G2 Slingsby Holding Sapling Stakes. With form coming from here, there and everywhere, it is hard to line up the contenders. However, in saying that, the Anthony Butt and Sonya Smith entrant, VALOUR STRIDE (8) appeals as the one to beat. After trialling well, the Well Said colt faced the starter at big odds for his maiden voyage at Ballarat a few weeks ago. Despite racing without cover for the majority of the 1710m, Valour Stride swept to the lead soon after straightening, prior to greeting the judge with intent. The result was a convincing victory over Mykorona, which has looked good in winning since, and his stablemate, Master Stride. Fitter for the run and better for the experience, Valour Stride also appears suited by the spacious Menangle circuit. UNCLE MIKI (7) opened his career with a solid 1.9m 3rd to Our George Boston, prior to going to another level when he led in easily scoring at Bathurst in February. The youngster is astutely prepared by Chris Frisby and son Anthony returns to the sulky after Phoebe Betts guided him to victory. Uncle Miki looks to be a progressive type and with a suitable draw next to his name, another bold showing can be expected. COMET CRUSADER (6) opened his career with a solid win so don’t ignore his claims of greeting the judge while MCLEAN (11) also greeted the judge at his first attempt and looked promising in do so. SMALTESE (1) draws ideally and his debut outing was pleasing while ALL DA RAGE (3) started his career with a gritty win and the son of Betterthancheddar will take a great deal out of that outing. Both MISTER REA (9) and SKYFALL BENCHMARK (12) have also started their careers on a bright note.
VALOUR STRIDE 1, Uncle Miki 2, Comet Crusader 3, McLean 4.
The final race contains nine starters and at least six definite chances, although if the Brad Hewitt trained and driven mare NOSTRA VILLA (6) arrives in the right frame of mind, then this would be an ideal challenge for the talented daughter of Art Major. Last time out the mare came from a deep peg role when a solid 5m 7th to Maajida in the G2 Robin Dundee two weeks ago. Although the quality 6yo mare has been mixing her form recently, it has been in stronger events, with the likes of Bettor Enforce (three occasions) and King Of Swing, collecting the top prize. This is the type of race which could see Nostra Villa bounce back to winning form. MAKOA (5) disappointed here on Tuesday but stays under notice on his good form prior to that failure while SHELBY BROMAC (8) returns from a spell with definite winning prospects. JUSTALITTLE TORQUE (10) worked home stoutly in finishing 3rd to Double Encounter at Headquarters on Tuesday and although the draw is a hurdle, claims as an exotic contender should be considered. MIGHTY FLYING DEAL (3), a newcomer to the Jack Trainor team, also stays under notice when it comes to forming multiple investments, along with UNCLE JAY (4) and SOLE AMBITION (2).
NOSTRA VILLA 1, Makoa 2, Shelby Bromac 3, Justalittle Torque 4.