Day At The Track

Two-year-olds ready to give it a shake

06:32 PM 27 Mar 2020 NZDT
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Retro,harness racing
HRV Trots Media

In the heart of the eight-race card at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday the IRT Australia Shakamaker Classic will prompt the most nerves, as some talented and well-bred two-year-olds take their first racing steps.

Let’s take a deep dive into who they are, where they’ve come from and what they’ve done thus far, before settling in for the $24,000 Classic at 7.32pm tomorrow.

Every race, including interviews and analysis, will be able to be enjoyed live and free on Trots Vision.

  1. Major Angel (trainer Russell Jack, driver Josh Duggan)

The American Ideal colt is out of Art Major broodmare Mattie Angel, a winner of one race from only five starts who’s had two progeny race – Rockon Angel (35 starts, 7 wins, $28,903 stakes) and Gracie Angel (6 starts, 3 win, $35,253 in stakes).

Like Major Angel, all were bred and owned by Lemnos resident Ronald Angel, with tonight being his latest colt’s second start after opening $4 on debut at Shepparton on March 13, when he showed good early speed to lead from gate two before allowing favourite, Ozzie Playboy, to advance and provide cover. He lost some touch over the back straight as the leaders accelerated but ran the race out well to run third.

In his only previous trial, at Kilmore on March 3, he would run third, four metres behind Brent Lilley’s Island Fire Dance (unraced) and a head behind Rita Burnett’s Twisted Bliss (two fifth placings from two starts).

  1. Bar Room Banta (trainer-driver Michael Stanley)

The A Rocknroll Dance colt is out of Christian Cullen mare Jerada Dance, a winner of four of her 19 starts and $23,420 in stake money.

Bar Room Banta is her sixth foal, with Jeradas Delight (by Bettors Delight) the most successful of her progeny, having won nine races and $70,160 in stakes from her 37 starts and qualifying for her 2018 Breeders Crown three-year-old final when she ran seventh, finishing 32 metres in arears of winner Speak No Evil.

Bred by Roselands’ Ray Cahill and on-sold to Brendan and Anne Maree James of BFJ Bloodstock, he ran second on debut at Kilmore on March 12 after starting $1.50 favourite, when he advanced from gate six to find the back of leader Blitzern. The latter had it easy out front and then zipped home in a 27-second final quarter, with Bar Room Banta hitting the line well to be beaten only 2.4 metres with an almost 20-metre gap back to third.

It followed a February 22 trial at Ballarat when Bar Room Banta won by eight metres from stablemate Pantaloon, who has since gone on and won its only start by 10 metres at Echuca. Their trial caught the eye of Craig Rail, who put Bar Room Banta into his Trial File Blackbook, noting the colt “was extremely impressive in scoring. He gained a nice run behind the leader and accelerated beautifully in the home straight to win in fast time”.

  1. Sheffield Peak (trainer-driver Rita Burnett)

An early debutant when third at Kilmore on January 2 beaten 55 metres by Ultimate Exclusive, Sheffield Peak then returned to run seventh at Maryborough, having broken when advancing three wide.

The Artspeak colt is out of Staffordshire Park mare Chloe Sheffield, whose second foal Nathans Courage (by Courage Under Fire) was second in the 2016 Golden Nugget and won the 2017 Night Of Thunder, one of 12 wins and $153,984 in stakes.

Snapped up for $20,000 at the 2019 APG sale, Sheffield Peak’s most recent trial was a third placing at Melton on March 10, when she finished 7.5 metres behind Sahara Storm and Jilliby Retro but ahead of winning two-year-old Momentslikethese.

  1. Captain Oh Captain (trainer Amanda Turnbull, driver James Herbertson)

Making its debut, the Captaintreacherous colt is the second foal and the first to race for mare Artistic Gal (by Artistic Fella), who was a three-time winner and a half-sister to Obahma Joy ($180,618), Kingofthestars ($111,279) and Make Mine Joe ($95,060).

Bred by Galthorn Farm, he drew a final bid of $60,000 at the 2019 Melbourne APG sale and makes his race debut after running second in his Shepparton trial on March 10, when beaten a short-half-head by unraced Spring In His Step.

In Craig Rail's Trial File, he noted "Captain Oh Captain began well to get to the markers first, took cover behind Spring In His Step and was almost able to get up on the line".

  1. Keayang Kamikaze (trainer Marg Lee, driver Jason Lee)

Another debutant, the Bettors Delight colt fetched $120,000 at the 2019 Sydney APG sale, having been snapped up by trainer Marg Lee in partnership with the successful Levarg Racing Group.

He is out of Libertybelle Midfrew, a brilliant Christian Cullen mare whose 51 starts produced 19 wins and $640,497 in stakes, including winning two Western Australia Group 1s in 2014 - the Oaks and then the Golden Nugget - and then qualifying for a start in the 2015 Inter Dominion Final when ninth, 17 metres behind winner Lennytheshark.

Keayang Kamikaze’s only trial produced a second placing, finishing a half-neck behind unraced three-year-old stablemate Keayang Kruezer, a performance that booked a ticket into Craig Rail’s Trial File Blackbook. Rail noted “both horses obviously showed ability with the final quarter being run in a sizzling 27.2 seconds”.

  1. Treacherous Rock (trainer Freddy Taiba, driver Greg Sugars)

This Captaintreacherous debutant is the latest in a long line of nice types out of La Saint (by Panorama), who won eight of her 37 starts before producing eight race-winning foals.

That succession kicked off with prolific Saint William, whose 321 starts would yield 64 wins and $798,759 in stakes, and included 2012 two-year-old Breeders Challenge winner No Ah Saint ($232,035).

 A $45,000 purchase at Sydney’s 2019 APG sale, Treacherous Rock’s only trial was a second (1.5 metres behind Sayitaintso Joe) at Melton on March 16 when, according to Craig Rail’s Trial File, he “tried to lead throughout and was nabbed right on the line”.

  1. Jilliby Retro (trainer Marg Lee, driver Glen Craven)

Punters didn’t miss him when Jilliby Retro debuted at Terang on March 18 and he rewarded them, working to the front from gate three in a quick lead time and sustaining pressure from Jaziah throughout before winning in a 1:57.5 mile rate over the short distance.

That followed two second placings in trials at Geelong on March 2 (beaten a head by Something Bettor) and at Melton on March 10 (beaten a half-head by Sahara Storm).

By Bettors Delight out of Christian Cullen mare Charlotte Church ($86,280), Jilliby Retro is a full-brother to Vicbred winner, Breeders Crown placegetter and Inter Dominion finalist Wrappers Delight ($414,224) and a half to Group 3 winner Watch List, pedigree that saw him fetch $85,000 at the 2019 Sydney APG Sales.

  1. Pantaloon (trainer Michael Stanley, driver Ryan Duffy)

Stanley Stables dropped $35,000 on this Somebeachsomewhere colt at the 2019 Sydney APG sales and the ownership group has already recouped 10 per cent back in winnings after Pantaloon won on debut at Echuca on March 3.

Sitting in the breeze on debut, the doors opened for Pantaloon when heading into the final turn the leader (Lay The Smackdown) galloped and those trailing were inconvenienced, with Pantaloon getting home in a 29-second final quarter to win by 10 metres.

By Somebeachsomewhere, Pantaloon is the first foal out of The Final Frontier ($30,263), who is a half-sister to Aspiring Artist ($170,307), Rap Artist ($108,041) and Major Exclusive ($92,295), the latter a winner of 11 of his 40 starts including the 2019 South Australian Derby.

Pantaloon was an eye-catcher at his trials, winning first up at Melton on February 11 and then running second to stablemate Bar Room Banta at Ballarat on February 22, when Craig Rail noted in his Trial File that Pantaloon set up “the genuine tempo”.


There are so many angles in play for this Shakamaker Classic that it’s not unreasonable to feel like Keanu Reeves in The Matrix when assessing the form. Markets will obviously provide a significant guide with the first-starters engaged but the two most exciting youngsters to this form analyst’s eye are BAR ROOM BANTA (2) and CAPTAIN OH CAPTAIN (4). BAR ROOM BANTA (2) was beaten in moderate time on debut but somehow made ground in a freakish final quarter for juveniles and his trial at Ballarat prior to that was something to behold. He narrowly gets the nod over Captain Treacherous debutante CAPTAIN OH CAPTAIN (4) who also looked special in his Shepparton preliminary. The biggest watch runner for markets is KEAYANG KAMIKAZE (5) who debuts here on the back of a Terang trial win and is bred deep in the purple being by Bettors Delight and out of a multiple Group1-winning mare in Libertybelle Midfrew but that’s far from the end of the story given JILLIBY RETRO (7) and PANTALOON (8) have already got the job done on raceday. Whatever transpires this will be a serious form race for the future.



HRV Trots Media - Michael Howard

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