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THE Sydney Inter Dominion seems so far away in this climate, but one horse sure to be a major player is WA’s new pacing star Shockwave. Ryan Bell’s four-year-old continued his rise with a narrow, but outstanding free-for-all win at Gloucester Park last night. Shockwave started from the outside (gate eight), did all the work and had to parked outside leader and hot favourite Galactic Star, but still snatched victory. The 1min57.4sec mile rate for 2536m wasn’t blistering, but the closing three splits were: 28.8, 27.3 and 27.7sec. “I’m gutted the Queensland Winter Carnival is off, but obviously there’s a much bigger picture,” Bell said. “We’ll just stay here racing and keeping an eye on what’s happening on the eastern states. “The (Sydney) Inter Dominion is absolutely a target. He’s grown-up a lot since our Carnival (in January).” ____________________________________________________________________________________________ DON’T panic if you’re a Chicago Bull fan. Yes he was scratched from his highly-anticipated comeback run at Gloucester Park last Friday night, but trainer Gary Hall Sr said it was precautionary. “There was some filling, nothing serious, but we’ve come so far to get to this stage I wasn’t going to take any risk,” Hall Sr said. Chicago Bull hasn’t raced since his freak accident in Auckland in October, 2018 which left him with six fractured vertebrae. ____________________________________________________________________________________________ VICTORIAN trainer Mick Stanley just keeps unleashing exciting juveniles this season. Soho Lanikai, Soho Almasi and now Bar Room Banta have all looked outstanding. Bar Room Banta, a colt by A Rocknroll Dance out of Christian Cullen mare Jerada Ace, sparkled winning the Shakamaker Classic at Melton last night (Saturday). Stanley used gate two to lead and never looked in doubt, cruising away to win by 9.3m over the regally-bred debutante Keayang Kamikaze (Bettors Delight-Libertybelle Midfrew). The time was blistering, a 1min53.8sec mile rate for 1720m, including closing splits of 56.3 and 28.3sec. “We’ve got a fantastic crop and he’s right up with any of them,” Stanley said. ____________________________________________________________________________________________ IT’S hard to believe star trotting mare Red Hot Tooth went more than 14 months without a win. She’s been one of the best trotters in Victoria for about two years, but has kept bumping into stars like Tornado Valley in our best races. But trainer Kari Males found the perfect race, a drop back to her own sex in the Group 3 Carlotta’s Pride free-for-all for mares only at Melton last night. And Red Hot Tooth made the most of it, blowing her rivals away after doing all the work to win by 9.7m in a slick 1min56.2sec mile rate for 1720m. It was her first win since the George Gath at Shepparton on January 12, last year. Despite being winless since, she’s earned over $120,000 and run some fantastic races, including a second in the recent Group 1 Great Southern Star. Red Hot Tooth’s now won almost $440,000 with 20 wins and 26 placings from 73 starts.   by Adam Hamilton

STAR filly Dr Susan added some serious Kiwi flavour to Bathurst’s huge Gold Crown night, but not without a scare. Just as she did in the Victoria Oaks, the Cran Dalgety and Nathan Purdon-trained filly galloped in the score-up and caused a false start. Thankfully, she got everything right in the Victoria Oaks and did the same at take-two at Bathurst when she surged through from the pole to hold the lead. That was effectively the race because driver Anthony Butt then rated things to his own terms in front then fended off a challenge from Amelia Rose and later Vincenzina to win easily. It’s continued a fantastic Aussie campaign for Dr Susan (Bettors Delight - Safredra - Mach Three). Her eight runs over here have netted six wins, a second and a fourth. She’s earned over $200,000 during the raid. Butt just missed a Group 1 double when former Kiwi pacer Perfect Stride was just edged-out by the much-improved Focus Stride in the Gold Chalice for three-year-old colts and geldings. It continued Perfect Stride’s frustrating run of minor placings in major races after his Victoria and NSW Derby placings. Perfect Stride had to burn to hold the front, copped some midrace pressure and was out-slugged by Focus Stride in slick 1: 55.7sec mile rate for 2260m. It was a big result for leviathan owner Emilio Rosati, who owns the first two. Focus Stride (Art Major - Sparkling Stride - Christian Cullen), trained and driven in Victoria by David Miles, managed just one placings from 11 runs as a two-year-old, but has gone to a new level this term with seven starts netting six wins and a second. Miles put the improvement down to having Focus Stride gelded. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ WHEN Victorian owner Danny Zavitsanos won last November’s NZ Cup with Cruz Bromac he threw Mark Purdon in the air after the race. He’s have done the same with the first person he saw if Covid-19 restrictions didn’t keep him away from Bathurst last night to watch his two-year-old filly Joanna win the Group 1 Gold Tiara final. “This is a fairytale come true,” he said. “Bathurst means so much to me. I won a consolation with one of the first horses I ever bought, Jodila in 2012 and I’ve gone back every year trying to win one of the big ones. “Add to it we’ve named this filly after Joanna (Danny’s wife) and it’s just the most amazing feeling.” Joanna led, copped plenty of midrace pressure from a headstrong Orchid Stride, and just kept finding to win in fantastic style for driver Amanda Turnbull and trainer Emma Stewart. Such was the pressure, Joanna (Somebeachsomewhere - Replem - Dream Away) took a full second off the class record with a 1min53.7sec mile rate for 1730m. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ BRIAN Portelli’s fairytale ride continued at Bathurst last night. Portelli was on cloud nine after his Bettors Delight colt Tasty Delight scored an upset win in the Group 2 Sapling Stakes at Menangle on March 7. It took him three weeks to raise the bar. Tasty Delight overcome a tricky draw and the hardest run in the race to win the Group 1 Gold Crown final. Hot favourite Lochinvar Chief led and dictated, but just when he looked set for victory, he started to wilt and Tasty Delight raised another effort after sitting parked. Tasty Delight grabbed victory right on the line from Lochinvar Chief with Clayton Tonkin’s Idyllic roaring home from a mile back for an eye-catching third.   By Adam Hamilton

IT was the Kate Gath show at Melton last night. Gath drove three of the feature winners, two for Emma Stewart and the other for husband, Andy Gath. Gath’s splurge started when she partnered Stewart’s exciting three-year-old Pacifico Dream led throughout and blew his rivals away in the Group 3 VHRC Sires Classic. The son of Mach Three scored by 18.2m in a 1min55.1sec and that’s after being pressured through a blazing 27.6sec second quarter. Pacifico Dream was underdone when fifth in the Victoria Derby, ran a terrific race when fourth in the NSW Derby and looks be better as the season rolls on. Gath then teamed with the classy Demon Delight to lead home an Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin trifecta in the Group 2 Melton Plate with Out To Play second and Major Times third. Demon Delight, back from a Sydney campaign, pulled very hard in the run, moved to sit parked in the middle stages and still found plenty to hold-off Out To Play and win by a half-neck in a 1min56.2sec mile rate for 2240m. “He’s all class. I wondered what he’d have left when I asked him, but he just kept finding. It was a big win,” Gath said. Gath’s third big win came on champion trotter Tornado Valley in the Group 3 Scotch Notch Memorial. Tornado Valley sat parked from the middle stages and simply proved too classy and strong for a gallant leader, Maori Law, in a 1min59.4sec mile rate for 2240m. It was Tornado Valley’s 35th win from 95 starts and took him past $760,000 in earnings. ____________________________________________________________________________________________ TOP driver Kima Frenning faces a lengthy stint on the sidelines, but things could have been much worse after a crash in the opening race at Melton last night. Rival drivers listened as watched as horror as Frenning’s head smashed into the track and she was rushed to hospital. Reports and photos emerged later showing Frenning’s badly smashed helmet, but she has a suspected broken hand or wrist, sore back and suspected concussion. ____________________________________________________________________________________________ CHAMPION driver Chris Alford’s 1600km return road trip to Bathurst for Friday night was worth it after he snared two key wins. Alford partnered Clayton Tonkin’s raw but exciting two-year-old colt to an impressive win the fourth heat of the Gold Crown and Anthony Butt’s buzz young trotter Elite Stride in the Gold Coronet. “By the time you go to airport from home, get a plane to Sydney and then drive to Bathurst … I’ve actually just found it easier to drive the whole way from home,” Alford said. Idyllic, a strongly-built son of Somebeachsomewhere, caught the eye when second to stablemate Ideal Dan on debut and went one better despite sitting parked at Bathurst in a 1min56.5sec mile rate for 1730m and closing splits of 56.5 and 27.8sec. “The stable have always had a big opinion of him, but he’s still learning. That was a good win because the leader just kept coming back at us,” Alford said. Ideal Man also won his way through to next Saturday night’s Gold Crown final after overcome some traffic issues to score easily for trainer Emma Stewart and driver Amanda Turnbull. David Moran, of Lochinvar Art fame, will be a major player in the Crown final with his impressive Captaintreacherous gelding Lochinvar Chief, who went the quickest of the heats in a 1min55.2sec mile rate. Tasty Delight beat Lochinvar Chief when they last met at Menangle and he too won through the Crown final with an sharp 1min56.2sec heat win. Elite Stride was never out of second gear posting his fourth win from just five starts. “They told he was something special before I drove him at Melton and they weren’t wrong,” Alford said. ____________________________________________________________________________________________ IT will be fun to see WA’s latest pacing star Shockwave chase some eastern states riches later this year. But for now, the Ryan Bell-trained four-year-old should just keep picking off races at home. The son of Mach Three was untroubled making it two wins from as many runs back from a minor injury setback when he cruised to a free-for-all win at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Driver Aiden De Campo pushed through to take the lead after 150m, cruised through a 61.3sec middle half, then dashed home in 54.9 and 26.8sec to win as he liked. ____________________________________________________________________________________________ IT was a new stable, but the same result for classy Kiwi mare Havtime at Menangle last night. Now in the care of KerryAnn Turner, Havtime was beaten to the lead by No Win No Feed, but then worked around to take the front off her and was never in danger. The former Barry Purdon-trained mare zoomed away to win by 10.9m in a 1min51.5sec and looks sure to have loads of fun at Menangle in coming months. On the same card, former star juvenile filly Molly Kelly continued her unbeaten streak for the Craig Cross stable with an all-the-way win in the Group 3 Autumn Gift final. The five-year-old made it four wins for Cross when she paced a 1min52.4sec mile. Cross snared another significant win when former star filly Speak No Evil, having her third run on the comeback trail, scored in a 1min50.9sec mile. It was his 13th win from just 18 starts and she spent almost 18 months on the sidelines with injury after a fantastic juvenile career with Emma Stewart. ____________________________________________________________________________________________ FORMER Miracle Mile winner My Field Marshal edged tantalisingly close to $1.5 million in career earnings with another Menangle win last night. Tim Butt’s eight-year-old blazed off the gate in 25.9sec with Replaced Eye, but couldn’t cross, so driver Jack Trainor dropped in for the trail. My Field Marshal looked set for an easy win at the top of the straight, but the early burn took its toll and he had to dig deep to fight off Alpine Stride, who ran a monstrous race after galloping early, in a 1min51.1sec mile. ____________________________________________________________________________________________ IT was great to see Lance Justice back in the winner’s circle at Melton last night even if most punters weren’t so happy. Justice trained and drove Love Ina Chevy to win the 1200m Stampede as a $27.10 outsider. Love In A Chevy is a special horse to Justice and his stable, having been nursed for many days through the effects of a snake bite which left him fighting for his life.   Adam Hamilton

DUAL Derby winner Line Up’s quest for a third Derby crown is over … at least for now. Anthony Butt’s former Kiwi star was due to fly to Perth tonight (Sunday), but the trip of off owing to COVID-19 precautions. Racing and Wagering Western Australia notified Butt and fiancé Sonya Smith they had imposed a 14-day isolation on interstate visitors. Plans are now for Line Up to have a let-up and target a Queensland winter raid, possibly the new feature, the Rising Sun and the Queensland Derby. Hopefully the impact of COVID-19 has passed so what promises to be a huge Queensland Carnival in July goes ahead. Already the connections of NZ’s best three-year-old boy Copy That, Line Up’s former stablemate, have touted a Queensland trip. Line Up showed plenty of promise in NZ, but has been a revelation since moving to Butt’s Menangle barn. He’s raced just five times for Butt for three wins, two seconds and earned $238,800. Line Up’s omission from the WA Derby leaves Justin Prentice’s exciting local star Major Martini, who made quite the statement winning last Friday night’s $50,000 Group 2 Western Gateway (2536m) at Gloucester Park, a standout. Major Martini led, copped some midrace pressure and still raced right away to beat stablemate Gardys Legacy, who trailed him, by 10.7m in a 1min57sec mile rate. It was his sixth win from 13 starts and certainly stamped him as a clear top seed amongst the local crop. Highly-rated former Kiwi Howard Hughes, who has looked good since joining Team Bond, sat outside Major Martini, but was no match and weakened late for a 17m eighth. Paul Court’s much-travelled Mach Da Vinci made the trip across after a NSW campaign, but didn’t seemed to handle the tight Gloucester Park bends. He did made good late ground for fifth.   By Adam Hamilton

THE powerhouse Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin made an immediate splash at the big Bathurst Gold Carnival. Joanna, a filly raced by Danny Zavitsanos and named after his wife, looked fantastic winning her heat of the Gold Tiara series last night. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere sat parked for Amanda Turnbull, but switched into another gear at the top of the straight to win running away by 9.3m in a 1min56.9sec mile rate and 56.7sec last half. Stewart also won the fifth heat with Dangerous Hand and grabbed third spot in heat four win No Motive. Captaintreacherous filly Dangerous Hand made it two wins from as many starts when she overcame a back row draw to win in a 1min58.4sec mile rate. One of her biggest dangers to Stewart’s star pair will be the North American-owned Girl From Oz, who was an outsider winning the Pink Bonnet, but started a $1.28 favourite and won her Tiara heat by 30.2m in a 1min56.4sec mile rate for 1730m. Stewart and Tonkin have two of the key runners in the Gold Crown heats for two-year-old colts and geldings tomorrow (Friday) night. Tonkin’s Idyllic ran second to Stewart’s Ideal Dan when both were on debut at Melton and the pair line-up at Bathurst. Idyllic will need to be good to overcome the back row (gate 10) in the fourth heat where My Buzz Lightning (gate four) and Rickoshay (five) are the other major players. Ideal Dan will take beating despite a wide draw (gate seven) in heat six. His major rivals are Jarrod Alchin’s Feels Lika Boss (gate one) and The Grogfather (four). ____________________________________________________________________________________________ AUSTRALIA’S most exciting young trotter, Elite Stride, adds to the star factor at Bathurst. The regally-bred Anthony Butt-trained trotter will be a commanding favourite to make it four wins from five starts in the Gold Coronet. Elite Stride, owned and bred by Emilio and Mary Rosati, landed what be the first of many Group 1 wins when he powered home by 23.5m in a 1min55.8sec mile rate for 1720m in the Need For Speed Prince final at Melton on February 29.   By Adam Hamilton

CLASSY Kiwi three-year-old Mach Da Vinci’s Aussie Derby raid has moved to another state. Paul Court’s Art Major colt ran second in a heat of the Victoria Derby then seventh in the final. Mach Da Vinci was stiff to miss a NSW Derby berth when fourth in his heat. Now he’s in Perth, warming-up for the WA Derby on April 3, through Friday night’s $50,000 Group 2 Western Gateway (2130m) at Gloucester Park. Mach Da Vinci never seems to have much luck and it hasn’t changed in Perth with him drawing gate eight against most of WA’s best three-year-olds. Buzz former Kiwi Howard Hughes, now in the Greg and Skye Bond stable, drew even worse outside the front (gate nine). While the lightly-raced but hugely exciting Franco Ecuador is off the second row (gate 12). Other key players include Justin Prentice’s stablesmates Gardys Legacy (gate one) and Major Martini (two). Nominal favourite for the WA Derby is Anthony Butt’s Line Up, who already boasts wins in the Victoria and NSW Derbys this season. Line Up is booked to fly to Perth Sunday or Monday. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ KIWI mare Our Step Up has class on her side at her first run for “Team Caldow” in the Group 3 Jodie’s Babe (1720m) at Melton on Saturday night. Fresh from two excellent Menangle runs during the Carnival of Miracles, the daughter of Art Major is down in grade, but faces a tricky draw (gate eight, inside back row) over the sprint trip  John Caldow takes the reins for wife, Maree. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ MIRACLE Mile runner Code Bailey represents the class in the $50,000 Group 2 Melton Plate (2240m). Marg Lee’s budding star is dropping back from a sixth in the Miracle Mile to racing against only four and five-year-olds, but still faces a big test from the back row (gate 12). Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin have five runners, including key players: Demon Delight (gate eight), Our To Play (five), Major Times (nine) and Hurricane Harley (11). ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ CHAMPION trotter Tornado Valley is the lone back row runner in an intriguing Group 3 Scotch Notch Memorial (2240m) at Melton. He’s sure to be favourite, but is always vulnerable when not drawn to lead and he has some handy rivals headed by last-start Menangle Group 1 winner Big Jack Hammer (gate six), comeback star Sparkling Success (seven) and the emerging Magicool (five). ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ STAR pacer My Field Marshal drops back big-time in class from the Miracle Mile to a moderate free-for-all at Menangle on Saturday night. Sure he’s drawn wide (gate 11) over the mile, but most of his rivals are inferior and he is sure to be hard to beat. On the same card, the rampaging Craig Cross/Luke McCarthy barn has two of the major players in the Group 3 Autumn Gift final (1609m). Recent Kiwi import Sociable (gate two) and former star juvenile Molly Kelly (six) both looked good winning their heats last week.   Adam Hamilton

JUST a week after winning the Miracle Mile, Luke McCarthy and Craig Cross were back dominating again at Menangle. They blitzed the middle of the card, winning five successive races with: Sociable, Better Enforce, Cash N Flow, Flingandwingit and Molly Kelly. McCarthy then made it a staggering six wins on the nine race card when he teamed with trainer Peter Russo to win the last race with No Apachemee. The major win of the night for McCarthy and Cross came with Cash N Flow in the appropriately-named Group 3 King Of Swing free-for-all. The former All Stars’ pacer enjoyed a drop back in grade from the Miracle Mile qualifiers and thrashed a handy field, running the mile in 1min49.8sec and powering away after finding the lead after 400m to win by 12m. “It looked a good race for him, even though he had the wide draw,” McCarthy said. “He’s just that bit below our best open-class horses, but when he’s in the right sort of race, he’s just too good for them.” Despite a 26.3sec opening quarter and slick 54.6sec first half, Cash N Flow still packed a 26.8sec closing quarter to win as he liked. Former classy Kiwi mare Sociable, having just her second run for the stable, looked good leading throughout to win in a 1min52.3sec mile. While Ladyship Mile runner-up Better Enforce did it easily to win the fourth race by 5.6m in a 1min51.2sec mile. Promising trotter Flingandwingit enjoyed a gun run before easily winning the Group 3 4YO Trotters Foundation final in a 1min59.9sec mile rate for 2300m. Former top juvenile filly Molly Kelly made it three wins from as many runs for Cross and McCarthy when she led throughout to win the seventh race in a 1min52.9sec mile. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ LOCAL pin-up pacer Ryley Major won Tasmania’s biggest race, the $75,000 Group 2 Tasmania Cup in Hobart last night. There’s no doubting he was the best horse in the race, but a 30m backmark in the 2579m feature saw him start an easing $3 favourite. Victorian raider Im Sir Blake beat Ryley Major in the qualifying heat two week’s earlier and was heavily-backed to do it again, but he ruined his hopes by galloping out of contention at the start. Ryley Major began well, settled just worse than midfield and Hillier launched with a big run around the field to eventually find the lead in the middle stages. He never really looked in danger and won from another Victorian, Its Back In The Day, who sat behind Ryley Major, and veteran Star Chamber, who won the Tasmania Cup way back in 2014, finishing well for third. Ryley Major’s won 28 of his 39 starts and will now surely get his chance in some better races on the mainland. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ CLASSY NSW stayer Atomic Red is just one of the many Aussies to make a lie of his poor Auckland Inter Dominion form since returning home. The six-year-old only knows one way and he was at his trademark best in front, bowling along for driver Amanda Turnbull and simply running his rivals ragged in the Group 3 Young Cup on Friday night. Atomic Red ran the 2480m trip in a 1min57.2sec mile rate and beat stablemate Conviction by 13.7m with favourite Our Uncle Sam tiring for third after doing the work outside the leader. Jimmy Rattray trained and drove Jimartee to an all-the-way Young Derby win, while the Oaks went to Chris Frisby’s exciting filly Jenden Strike. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ SHANE and Lauren Tritton “farewelled” Menangle when old-stager Maximan ran second in the final race at Menangle last night. The Trittons now head to North America to continue their careers. “We’ll be based with my Dad (Peter Tritton) and race horses at Yonkers and the Meadowlands,” Shane Tritton said. “We hope to have our first runners in late April or early May. “You certainly leave here with mixed emotions, but it’s time for us to try something different.” ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ IT is a shame a minor setback derailed a Sydney raid for WA’s most exciting pacer Shockwave. Luckless through the big WA and Fremantle Cups in January, Ryan Bell’s four-year-old returned to racing with a soft win in the $50,000 Group 2 4&5YO Championship (2130m) at Gloucester Park last Friday night. There’s no doubt he would have been competitive in a Chariots Of Fire and/or Miracle Mile. Driver Aiden De Campo used gate one to lead and dictated terms in front before ripping home in 55.5 and 27.3sec. “His point to point speed is outstanding. He can sustain for a long way,” De Campo said. Bell is keen to tackle some big races, including the Sydney Inter Dominion later this year and De Campo wants to be part of it. “I’ll go anywhere to drive him, he’s so exciting,” he said. Another WA horse worthy of Inter Dominion consideration is Greg and Skye Bond’s Vampiro. The speedy gelding exploded from the outside draw to lead the 2536m free-for-all and never looked in danger. The Bonds contemplated a crack at the Miracle Mile qualifiers with Vampiro, but opted to keep him at home with a view to an easter states raid later this year. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ THE early signs say the powerhouse Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin barn is set for another big juvenile season. Although their babies have been a little later to hit the track this season, the impact has been immediate. Nicely-bred filly Treachery (Captaintreacherous-Lovelist) has looked fantastic winning both her runs in a heat and final of The Allwood series at Globe Derby. After winning her heat by 24.8 metres, Kima Frenning parrnered Treachery to a staggering 37.2m win in the final at Globe Derby last night. Making the win so good was the fact Treachery copped an early check, galloped, lost about 15-20m and recovered to whiz around and take the lead before powering clear over the last 400m.   Adam Hamilton

IT was a rare Miracle Mile night without much All Stars “flavour”, but they still found a way to snare a win. The emerging Im Anothermasterpiece, who had no luck in a Miracle Mile qualifier the week before, did a power of work and was simply too strong and classy in a free-for-all. And the time was brilliant, a 1min53.3sec mile rate for the long 2400m trip. “It was a really good effort because I had to make my run a long way from home and the leader was going quick, but his owners are over here and it’s great to win for them on a night like this,” co-trainer and driver Mark Purdon said. ____________________________________________________________________________________________ BARRY Purdon won the feature mares’ race on Miracle Mile night, but just not with the mare most expected. Havtime, regarded as a stable second-stringer to glamour mare Belle Of Montana, produced a career-best 1min50sec flat mile to upstage a crack field. It was a confident front-running drive from Robbie Morris, copping pressure through a 54.2sec first half, but pinching a break on his key rivals around the home bend. Our Princess Tiffany, who did some early and mid-race work, ran on strongly along with Belle Of Montana, but they never looked like catching the leader. Havtime won by 4.4.m over Our Princess Tiffany with Belle Of Montana another metre away in third spor. “I wanted to hold the front provided they didn’t go crazy. She’s been going so well and it’s great to get this win for Barry,” Morris said. ____________________________________________________________________________________________ IT’S amazing to think Our Uncle Sam cost just $3000 at the Bathurst yearling sales. The Frisby family’s pride and joy surged passed $600,000 in career earnings when he successfully defended the Group 1 free-for-all title he won last year at Menangle on Saturday night. It was a fitting reward after an NZ campaign last year which was littered with bad luck, poor draws and a dislike for the reverse way of going in Auckland. Driver and co-trainer Anthony Frisby won the race when he attacked successfully for the lead from Galactic Star mid-race then dictated terms with splits of 29.2 (1200-800m) and 29.1 (800-400m). Our Uncle Sam ripped home in 26.1sec and fought-off a challenge from The Black Prince by 1.4m with Kiwi pacer Mach Shard making late ground from three pegs for third. “We never have much luck with draws, but we did this time and made the most of it,” Frisby said. “We were a bit lucky because we got things our own way once we got to the front, but he still sprinted home really well.” ____________________________________________________________________________________________ BIG Jack Hammer joined Our Uncle Sam as a back-to-back winner with his victory in the Group 1 Aquagait Trotters’ Mile at Menangle. It was a fantastic trainer performance from David Aiken to rebuild Big Jack Hammer’s confidence and target the race after an Auckland Inter Dominion campaign where he was never comfortable the other direction of racing. And Josh Aiken, David’s son, kept it in the family with a superb drive, summing it up well early by dropping in behind the leader, Tough Monarch, “Gee I was confident in the run. It was the perfect trip for him and he felt so good,” Josh said. “It’s extra special to win this one tonight because it’s Dad’s birthday too.” Big Jack Hammer headed a Victorian trifecta, holding-off the late swooping Red Hot Tooth to win by half a neck with the emerging Sammy Showdown getting in third spot in a 1min54.7sec mile. The two Kiwi runners, Temporale and Massive Metro, were below their best in eighth and sixth spots respectively. Hot favourite Dance Craze, lethal with a sit, had to sit parked and never look comfortable before tiring late for ninth. ____________________________________________________________________________________________ BRIAN Portelli had a Miracle Mile night to remember. His Bettors Delight gelding Tasty Delight won the Group 2 Sapling Stakes in upset style. “That’s my first Group win as a trainer or driver,” Portelli beamed. Tasty Delight had the last sit on stablemates and favourites Lochinvar Chief and Patsbeachstorm and finished over the top of them in a 1min52.4sec mile. ____________________________________________________________________________________________ THE powerhouse Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin barn is starting to unleash their latest juvenile crop. The pair snared the quinella in the Sapling Stakes at Melton on Saturday night with Ideal Dan, raced and bred by Danny Zavitsanos, beating stablemate Idyllic in a 1min55.1sec mile rate for 1720m. Mick Stanley’s highly-rated Drain The Swamp was a good third after doing the work outside the leader. Over in Adelaide, he Stewart-trained Treachery thrashed her rivals by a thumping 24.8m winning a heat of the Allwood series with Kima Frenning in the sulky. ____________________________________________________________________________________________ THERE is something exciting about watching breakaway leaders, whether it’s in the gallops or harness. And that’s what Perth has now with Talktomeurmattjesty. The headstrong former Kiwi gelding ran his rivals ragged again, in stunning at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Driver Kyle Harper let him stride in front, opening up a huge lead on the bulk of the field with only his main danger, Chiaroscuro sticking on his back. Talktomeurmattjesty broke their hearts with splits over the last mile of the 2130m of 27.6, 28.2, 28.7 and 29.9sec. Chairoscuro couldn’t stay in touch from the 400m, dropping away to finish 24.5m away in second spot. The 1min52.9sec mile rate equalled Beaudiene Boaz’s track record. On the same card, exciting three-year-olds Double Expresso and Major Martini won their respective $50,000 Sales Series’ finals. Double Expresso, who may tackle the boys in the WA Derby on April, cruised to an all-the-way win in a 1 min56.1sec mile rate for 2130m. Major Martini was stunning, sitting parked and roaring away to win by 15.3m in a 1min56.6sec mile rate, capped by closing splits of 27 flat and 27.7sec. Another WA Derby hopeful, Franco Ecuador, made it three wins from just four starts in the last race on the card.   By Adam Hamilton

EVERYTHING points to Chariots Of Fire Lochinvar Art running a mighty race in Saturday night’s $1 million Miracle Mile, except the wide barrier. In the four years since the Chariots Of Fire was run before the Miracle Mile and became a “feeder” race for it, every Chariots winner has finished top three. It started with the All Stars’ Have Faith In Me who won the big double 2016. Then followed: Lazarus (third to Lennytheshark in 2017); Jilliby Kung Fu (second to My Field Marshal in 2018) and Poster Boy (third to Spankem last year). Trainer-driver David Moran insists he’s got Lochinvar Art “as good as ever”, but, like everyone, he’s worried about the wide draw (he’ll start from gate seven). “I’ve got a few days for it to sink in … it certainly doesn’t look any better than it did when they drew it (last) Saturday night,” Moran said. “I’ve tossed a lot of options around in my head, but I don’t think I can go forward early. I can’t see gaps appearing when you’ve got so many quick beginners like King Of Swing, Alta Orlando, Majordan and others. “I’m pretty much resigned to settling back in the last couple and then you’re in the hands of others … I’ll need them to go really hard up front to have any chance of getting into it. “He’s versatile, but there’s only so much you can do from a draw like that in a sprint race.” Moran said Lochinvar Art has thrived through his first few months in the big league, which included a Hunter Cup run. “He’s loving it. He’s one of those horses who loves the hard racing and gets better for it,” he said. “He’s as good as I can have him going into this week and he’ll need to be from the draw.” Lochinvar Art has been the biggest drifter on the Aussie TAB since markets re-opened after the barrier draw. He’s out from $3.80 to $5. AG’s White Socks (gate one) has also eased from $5 to $6 and even the favourite, King Of Swing (four) is out from $2.80 to $3.10. Alta Orlando ($21 into $9.50), Code Bailey ($6.50 into $5.50) and even Newcastle Mile winner Majordan ($14 to $11) have been the firmers.   Adam Hamilton

TALK continues to bubble away around a possible Swedish trip for star trotting mare Dance Craze. And it gained more momentum when she snared her third Group 1 win and downed Australasia’s best trotter, Tornado Valley, in the $100,000 Australian Trotting Grand Prix (2240m) at Melton on Saturday night. Once again it was Dance Craze’s sparkling speed, combined with a glorious Glen Craven drive, which won the race. An early move to sit parked turned into the coveted one-one trail for Craven when Tornado Valley ran to the lead and Wobelee came around to sit outside him. Tornado Valley spent plenty of petrol to find the top after Temporale initially held him out, but Tough Monarch then made a line of three and the leader surrendered after a lap. Dance Craze always looked dangerous and as hard as Tornado Valley tried, he couldn’t hold off the mare in a 1min58.2sec mile rate. “She’s a fantastic mare and has overcome so much to get the three Group 1’s,” trainer Anton Golino said. “She’s been so close in a few other Group 1’s as well, including this race last year.” Dance Craze joined her mother, former champion trotter La Coocaracha, on the Grand Prix honour roll. Temporale’s early burn hurt, but he held on well for third, while his stablemate, Massive Metro, ran sixth, Dance Craze, Temporale and Massive Metro are among those expected to back-up in the Group 1 trot at Menangle next Saturday night. Tornado Valley is staying home. Golino and the Yabby Dams team had a huge night with three-year-old filly Im Ready Jet thrashing her rivals in the Group 1 Need For Speed Princess final. The daughter of Quaker Jet cleared out by 23.8m in a 1min55.6sec mile rate for 1720m. _________________________________________________________________________________________ ANTHONY Butt simply couldn’t be in two places at once. As much as he wanted to be at Melton with buzz young trotter Elite Stride, he had to stay at Menangle for a string of key drives, including winning a NSW Derby heat on Perfect Stride. So Chris Alford jagged the drive on Elite Stride for Butt and owners Emilio and Mary Rosati. Even by Alford’s standards, it was a drive he won’t forget in a long time. It may have well have been the first real sign of the greatness which awaits Elite Stride, who the Rosati’s bred (by Muscle Hill) out of their former US trotting mare Real Babe. Elite Stride, having just his fourth start, sat parked and roared away to win by a staggering 23.5m in the Group 1 Need For Speed Prince final. For a three-year-old trotter doing that sort of work, his 1min55.8sec mile rate for 1720m was amazing. “He’s got amazing talent and he’s learning all the time. He’s so exciting,” Butt said. Alford won another of the Group 1’s on the big Melton card when four-year-old mare I Am Pegsus just held-on in the $50,000 Breed For Speed Gold final. _________________________________________________________________________________________ YOUNG trainer-driver David Moran may already have found his heir apparent to stable star and Miracle Mile favourite Lochinvar Art. The buzz around Moran’s two-year-old gelding Patsbeachstorm was massive going into his debut run at Menangle last Tuesday. Although they didn’t smash the clock and the winning margin wasn’t great, the son of Somebeachsomewhere oozed speed and excitement. He appeared to be nursed through most of the last quarter in 26.1sec when he beat stablemate, Lochinvar Chief, by 2.8m in a 1min56.4sec mile. _________________________________________________________________________________________ MUCH-TRAVELLED trainer-driver Darren McCall added some genuine international flavour to the stellar Menangle meeting on Saturday night. McCall’s juvenile filly Girl From Oz is part-owned in North America, and caused a big upset as a $31 shot winning the $50,000 Group 2 Pink Bonnet Stakes in a 1min55.6sec mile. Many of the owners watched the race via Australia’s Sky Racing Active app in Canada. The race changed complexion big time soon after the start when hot favourite Soho Almasi was unable to lead then galloped herself out of contention. Girl From Oz is a daughter of out Heston Blue Chip out of Sportswriter mare Girls Go Racing. _________________________________________________________________________________________ YOUNG driver Stephanie Lippiatt had one of the biggest thrills of her career when victorious aboard Catch A Moment at Menangle on Saturday night. Lippiatt drew the plumb drive on the Amanda Turnbull-trained four-year-old in the Schweppes Lady Drivers Invitational and made the most of it. Catch A Moment ran a 26.9sec split to hold the front and kept bowling to win impressively in a 1min50.6sec mile. _________________________________________________________________________________________ THE connections of Bright Energy were left wondering what might have been after his sparkling Menangle win on Saturday night. The gelding was one of the Craig Cross runners controversially scratched for arriving late at the Newcastle Mile meeting. A win in the Newcastle Mile would have jagged Bright Energy a Miracle Mile berth. Instead, he dropped back in grade for a barnstorming win from off the speed in a 1min49.8sec mile in the opening race at Menangle. He’s set to back-up next week in the Group 1 Bohemia Crystal. _________________________________________________________________________________________ FORMER star Kiwi pacer Tintin In America landed a siring quinella in one of the feature races at Gloucester Park last Friday night. It was also a quinella for popular trainer Annie Belton when Lady Jadore beat stablemate Adore Me Some More in the $100,000 WA 2YO Fillies’ Sales Classic final (1730m) at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Lady Jadore, the $1.34 favourite, did some early work to find the front then took charge for a 3.4m win over Adore Me Some More in a 1min57.1sec mile rate. Lady Jadore is unbeaten in three runs. The colts and geldings version of the race went to the exciting Talks Up A Storm, a son of Artspeak, trained by Murray Lindau and driven by Dylan Egerton-Green. The gelding did plenty of work, but still cleared out to win by seven metres in a 1min56.2sec mile rate for 1730m. The Gloucester Park free-for-all went to Greg and Skye Bond’s emerging former Kiwi gelding Ocean Ridge   by Adam Hamilton

JOHN Dunn had one of his most rewarding nights at the track at Menangle last night. Not only did he drive giant-killer mare Bettors Heart to win the Group 1 Ladyship Mile for his uncle, Peter Bagrie, but Alta Orlando burst his way into the Miracle Mile as well. Just to round it out, Dunn soon learned Bettors Heart had landed a Miracle Mile berth as well. “It doesn’t get much better than this,” Dunn said late in the night. “That was so special to win with the mare. There were quite a few times along the way when we wondered whether or not we should take her across.” After so many minor placings behind the Kiwi glamour mares, Bettors Heart found her moment, and in stunning style, in Australia’s biggest mares race. She beat Our Princess Tiffany and Belle Of Montana on their merits and went a 1min49.7sec mile. But it came after a shock start where all the big guns were headed-off by outsiders Takara Truffle and then Hows The Memory. Dunn thought he could hold the front from the pole, but instead was buried three pegs soon after the start. “I thought it was all for me after 100m,” he said. “Luckily I was able to get some room and keep pushing away from the inside rounding the home bend until she got right to the outside. “It was a huge effort to give those mares a start and run them down.” Most trackside thought much-improved local Bettor Enforce, who burned midrace to take the lead in a 54sec first half, had held-on to win, but the photo showed a nose margin for Bettors Heart on the outside. Our Princess Tiffany was a terrific third after having to come four-wide around a struggling and rough going Belle On Montana on the final bend. Miracle Mile selectors were so impressed with Bettors Heart, they gave her a spot in next week’s big dance, ahead of the likes of Sicario, The Black Prince and HaiL Christian. “I guess I’ll be back here to drive again next week now,” Dunn grinned. _________________________________________________________________________________________ YOU could see the relief on Mark Purdon’s face. After a wretched week with injuries to Self Assured and Chase Auckland and overall frustrating Aussie raid so far this year, Purdon jagged a big one when Stylish Memphis bravely won the NSW Oaks. Purdon even drove a like a frustrated man, not leaving anything to chase after being crossed at the start and quickly regrouping to launch and re-take the lead. Stylish Memphis, who has shown a tendency to overrace, actually relaxed well once she found the lead and was able slow to a 31.1sec opening quarter of the last mile after a scorching 53.5sec lead time over the 2400m. Dr Susan, who burned the lead time from an outside draw to get to the front, simply couldn’t afford to lock horns again and try band keep out Stylish Memphis. Stylish Memphis quickened with a 27.6sec split from the 800-400m and then dug deep late to hold-off Its Beaujolais in a 28.8sec closing quarter. “I was really proud of her tonight,” Purdon said. “She had to go that hard early and then again to go around the take the lead, but the most pleasing part was how well she settled once I got the front.” Stylish Memphis blazed a 1min54sec mile rate for the 2400m. Maajida ran a terrific race for third after being such a big part of the early burn, while Dr Susan was a close fourth. _________________________________________________________________________________________ SMOOTH Deal’s frustrating Aussie trip took another twist when he missed qualifying for the NSW Derby. The All Stars’ three-year-old, who has struggled for his best form in this Aussie raid, ran fourth in his Derby heat (missing third by 0.2 of a metre) and is first emergency for next week’s Derby final. Anthony Butt qualified his star pair with Perfect Stride leading, dictating and winning the heat Smooth Deal was in, while Victoria Derby winner Line Up was second to Emma Stewart’s Pacifico Dream in his heat. The third heat went to Queenslander and Victoria Derby runner-up Governor Jujon. NSW DERBY FIELD (not in barrier order): Mach Dan, Line Up, Pradason, Percy Bailey, Sonny Weaver, Zeuss Bromac, Perfect Stride, Pacifico Dream, Governor Jujon. Smooth Deal (1st emerg), Rockin With Elvis (2nd emerg).   by Adam Hamilton

KIWI young gun Self Assured faces another horror draw again this week in his quest for a Miracle Mile berth. Rather than take the risk on his close second in the Chariots Of Fire getting him into the Mile field, co-trainer Mark Purdon opted to run Self Assured in $100,000 Group 1 Schweppes Sprint. And he drew wide again in gate 10, but will start from eight if emergencies Atomic Red (gate two) and Conviction (four) don’t gain runs. The key runners draw inside Self Assured include: My Field Marshal (gate one), Colt Thirty One (two), Mach Shard (three), Alta Orlando (five) and Hail Christian (seven). There’s also a big task ahead for the two draw outside Self Assured: Bling It On (11) and Our Uncle Sam (12). Hunter Cup winner King Of Swing gets his chance to snare a Miracle Mile spot after drawing to lead from gate three in the other sprint, the $100,000 Group 1 Allied Express Sprint. He’ll cross those inside him and it’s hard to see anything outside having enough early “ping” to head him off. The other key runners are: Chase Auckland (gate five), Cash N Flow (six), AG’s White Socks (seven), Im Anothermasterpiece (nine) and Code Bailey (11). _________________________________________________________________________________________ STYLISH Memphis has the draw in the NSW Oaks to turn the tables on Dr Susan from last month’s Victoria Oaks. Stylish Memphis snagged the pole and opened a $1.60 favourite on the Aussie TAB, while Dr Susan is way out in gate 11 and is a $4 shot. Star Victorian Maajida, who showed something like her best winning the other NSW Oaks heat last Saturday night, is a $4.50 shot from gate five. If there’s a query for Stylish Memphis is whether she has the gate speed to hold the front from the pole and, if so, whether she will settle if buzzed off the gate by driver Mark Purdon. _________________________________________________________________________________________ THE stirring rivalry between glamour Kiwi mares Belle Of Montana and Our Princess Tiffany looks set for another superb chapter on Saturday night. They dominate early betting for the Group 1 Ladyship Mile are both drawing well. Belle Of Montana has a slight advantage in gate two and is $2.40 favourite, but Our Princess Tiffany is right next door (gate three) and is $2.70 on the Aussie TAB. Last week’s eye-catcher, another Kiwi Bettors Heart, landed the pole and should get a lovely trip. She’s on the third line of betting at $5.50. The X-factor is Craig Cross’ mare Bettor Enforce, who has explosive gate speed and could challenge for the front early from gate four. She’s also at $5.50. The other Kiwi in the race, Barry Purdon’s second-stringer Havtime, drew the extreme outside and is a $31 shot. _________________________________________________________________________________________ LUCK could finally be turning Smooth Deal’s way. The star Kiwi three-year-old’s Aussie campaign has been below par so far, but he looked good winning a weaker Menangle race last week and has snared gate three in the third of the NSW Derby heats on Saturday night. He’s sure to be favourite from ideal alley, especially with major rivals drawn outside him in Perfect Stride (gate seven), Zeuss Bromac (eight) and Mach Da Vinci (nine). The first Derby heat looks ideal for young Queensland star Governor Jujon, who has gate speed and the pole. His only serious rivals looks to be Youaremy Sunshine from gate five. Victoria Derby winner and prepost NSW Derby favourite Line Up has struck a strong heat and a slightly tricky draw. Anthony Butt has some thinking to do from gate four, especially with quick beginner and SA Derby Mach Dan in gate two and the untapped Pacific Dream, who also has good early speed, in gate three.   By Adam Hamilton

THERE is just something exciting about Kevin Pizzuto being back in the biggest races. It wasn’t long ago he retired his champ Tiger Tara and now he’s back in the biggest of big Australian dances, the $1 million Miracle Mile on March 7. Pizzuto’s always rated his speedster Majordan a Miracle Mile horse, but everything went wrong this time last year, it’s a much better story this time. Majordan guaranteed himself a Miracle Mile berth – the first horse to do that – when he led throughout and broke the track record winning the $100,000 Group 1 Newcastle Mile last night. His 1min50.7sec mile sliced 0.2sec off Balraj’s track record. Although the doubters pointed to Majordan’s soft 30.3sec second split, the son of Art Major did burn through a 26.9sec leading quarter then went 26.5sec from the 800-400m before still finishing-off in 27sec. That’s a 53.5sec last half around Newcastle. Paul Court’s Kiwi pacer Hail Christian grabbed the eye, flying home from three pegs right along the inside to get within a head of Majordan in second spot. The Black Prince was sound in third spot after trailing the leader, while four-year-old Balraj closed well late after coming wide and ran a mighty fourth. Let It Ride was beaten for early speed from the pole, came and sat parked and held-on well for a seven-metre fifth. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ THE Newcastle Mile was marred by pre-race controversy when the three Craig Cross/Luke McCarthy runners were scratched for late arrival. McCarthy pleaded for leniency after presenting the horses – Bright Energy, Little Rascal and Wrangler - to stewards just six minutes after the two-hour cut-off. “The stewards tweeted at 2.09pm there was a fallen tree causing traffic delays, so we got the horses off the walker, loaded them and were on the road by 2.50pm. We’d normally allow three hours tops for the drive, but we left as soon as we could and that was four hours and 10mins before the cut-off,” McCarthy said. “We kept in touch with the stewards and actually drove through the gates of the track one-minute before the cut-off, but the traffic was so busy on a big night it took us another seven minutes to get through, unload the horses and see the stewards. “It was six minutes after the cut-off and it’s usual practice at a regular meeting for stewards to give 15mins of leeway, but not last night.” Obvious comparisons were drawn in the different approach Queensland thoroughbred stewards adopted just last month when traffic chaos delayed the arrival of buzz galloper Alligator Blood for the Magic Millions raceday. They put all races back one slot and the horse received a police escort to the track. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ CO-TRAINER Clayton Tonkin insisted the best was still yet to come for his star pacer Centenario, who had to be euthanized last Thursday night. The former Australian 2YO of the Year, who won 11 of his 17 starts and $332,520, broke a shoulder in trackwork and had emergency surgery. Sadly, the operation was unsuccessful and Centenario could not carry his weight on the shoulder. “We’re all devastated,” Tonkin said. “He was a real favourite, like part of the family, and he still had it all ahead of him. He was the best of our fantastic batch of four-year-olds.” In the past couple of months alone, Tonkin and co-trainer Emma Stewart have had major setbacks with stars like Be Happy Mach, The Storm Inside and Ride High, let alone previous setback with last year’s Chariots of Fire winner Poster Boy. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ VICTORIAN trainer Mick Stanley has started the juvenile season in stunning style. First came Soho Lanikai’s (Somebeachsomewhere-Obahma Joy) breathtaking 65.2m debut win in the Premiere Stakes at Melton on February 8 in a 1min54sec mile rate for 1720m. Last night (Saturday) Soho Almasi (Mach Three-Fususi) was never out of second gear leading throughout to win her first start by 16.4m in a 1min56.3sec at Melton. Both are raced by leviathan owner-breeder Rob Watson, hence the “Soho” tag. “We’re off to Sydney next week, Almasi for the Pink Bonnet and Lanikai for the Sapling Stakes,” Watson said. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ IT is so rare to see a filly beat the boys in a feature race, but that’s what exciting WA filly Double Expresso did at Gloucester Park last night. Ross Olivieri’s daughter of Sweet Lou beat buzz pacer Major Martini by a nose in a hotly-contested $40,000 Caduceus Club Classic and they went a slick 1min55.4sec for 2130m. Double Expresso, who won seven of her nine juvenile runs, was beaten first-up third campaign, but has since won three on end. The free-for-all was easy work for Aiden De Campo’s Handsandwheels, especially after the scratchings of key rivals Galactic Star, Bill Haley and El Jacko. Handsandwheels continued his fantastic season when he led throughout, dictated terms and zipped home in 27.4sec to beat Rock Me Over in a cosy 1min56.8sec mile rate for 2130m. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ ONE of Victoria’s most-improved pacers Deedenuto won an action-packed Group 3 Ararat Cup last night. Top young driver Jackie Barker teamed with leading trainer Emma Stewart for Deedenuto’s all-the-way win in a brisk 1min57.9sec mile rate for 2195m around the old-school Ararat track. The race changed dramatically on the home bend when Deedenuto’s stablemate, Our Millionaire, galloped outside the leader and effectively wiped-out the favourite and buzz runner General Dodge and he was looming strongly. Auckland Inter Dominion finalists Sicario continued his good recent form by finishing second. The Ararat Trotters’ Cup went to in-form trainer-driver Chris Svanosio with his son of Skyvalley, Kyvalley Finn. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ THE excitement continues to grow around regally-bred three-year-old trotter Elite Stride. Owner-breeder Emilio Rosati has been buzzing about the colt, by Muscle Hill out of his former US trotting mare Real Babe, since mid-last year. And Elite Stride’s two wins and a second from just three starts underline his potential. Trained and driven by Anthony Butt, Elite Stride booked his spot in next Saturday night’s Group 1 Need For Speed final by impressively winning a heat at Bendigo last Thursday night. He was helped by favourite Powderkeg breaking and losing all chance at the start, but Elite Stride did his share of work and won well in a 1min57.7sec mile rate for 1650m. His main danger in the final will be Maree Caldow’s Andover Sun, who won the other heat in a 1min57.8sec mile rate.   Adam Hamilton

YOUNG gun Self Assured will have to create history to overcome a horror draw and win Saturday night’s $200,000 Group 1 Chariots Of Fire (1609m) at Menangle. The All Stars’ young star drew the dreaded outside alley (gate 12, will start from 10). No horse has won the Chariots Of Fire from the outside draw at Menangle. And Harness Racing NSW figures show only seven per cent of Menangle winners over the past 12 months (27 of 379 races) have come from the outside and that includes all distances, not just mile racing. Drawing the outside saw Self Assured’s odds soar on the Aussie TAB from $1.75 pre-draw to $2.80. In contrast, the money has poured in for Lochinvar Art, the horse who upstaged Self Assured in track record time in the 4YO Bonanza at Melton last month. Lochinvar Art has drawn gate five, but if the emergencies drawn inside him (Supreme Dominator three and Catch A Moment four) come out, he will start from barrier three. He was $4.50 pre-draw, firmed $3.80 after the draw and has since been backed into $3.20. He looks certain to challenge for favouritism. The other big winners from the draw were Demon Delight (gate one, $5), who was big behind Self Assured at Menangle last Saturday week, and likely early leader Max Delight (two, $5.50). __________________________________________________________________________________ IT’S great Princess Tiffany is headed to Sydney, but a huge task awaits her on Saturday night. Fresh from fibrillating at Addington last week, the megastar mare will start from the second outside draw (gate nine) in the last qualifier for the Ladyship Mile, the $50,000 Group 2 Robin Dundee (1609m). Peter Bagrie’s mare Bettors Heart drew gate seven and Steve Telfer’s Step Up has gate five, while Barry Purdon’s Havtime snared the pole, but will need to improve on her Sibelia Stakes run last week. WA’s best mare Our Alfie Romeo has also come across for the race, but drew the extreme outside. __________________________________________________________________________________ STYLISH Memphis has gate five in the first of the NSW Oaks heats on Saturday night. Her major rivals look to be Victorian trio Amelia Rose (three), Alice Kay (seven) and Its Ebonynivory (nine). Victoria Oaks winner Dr Susan should make light work of wide draw (gate eight) in the second heat with major rival Jenden Stride drawn even worse (10). The third heat should be the most competitive with leading contenders Vincenzina (three), Maajida (six), Our Antonio Rose (eigtht) and Its Beaujolais (nine). __________________________________________________________________________________ THERE is a Miracle Mile berth up for grabs in Friday night’s $100,000 Group 1 Newcastle Mile. It’s a good field, but not as much star factor as expected with most of the biggest names waiting for the qualifying sprints at Menangle on Saturday week. Renowned speedster Majordan looks the leader and one to beat from gate eight, but other key runners include: Let it Ride (one), Hail Christian (two) and The Black Prince (three).   Adam Hamilton

ANTHONY Butt was the star of Victoria’s Summer Of Glory and looks a key player again heading into Sydney’s Carnival of Miracles. Butt’s two major Victorian winners, Dr Susan and Line Up, shape as the ones to beat against in the NSW Oaks and NSW Derby respectively. And he’s got Perfect Stride for support in the Derby, along with the consistent Make Way pushing for a Chariots Of Fire berth. Line Up, Perfect Stride and Make Way all step-out at Menangle on Saturday night. “Line Up and Perfect Stride go round in just a normal three-year-old race, but they needed the run otherwise it would’ve been five weeks between runs from the Victoria Derby to the Derby heats here,” Butt said. “It’s turned into a really strong race because horses like Governor Jujon and Youaremy Sunshine are using it for a lead-up as well.” Smooth Deal would’ve been there as well, but he was balloted out and will go around next Tuesday at Menangle instead. The heats of the Derby are at Menangle on February 29 and the final a week later on the Miracle Mile card. “Line Up and Perfect Stride are really well going into this week. They’ve come through Melbourne very well,” Butt said. “I’m driving Line Up and young Cam Hart, who drives a fair bit for Emilio (Rosati, owner), will be on Perfect Stride. “I actually don’t think there is much between them. Line Up had more lead-up racing and was primed for Melbourne, while Perfect Stride will have really benefitted a lot from those couple of hard runs down there.” Butt said the Cran Dalgety and Nathan Purdon-trained Dr Susan’s Menangle win last Saturday showed she was right on song for the NSW Oaks heats on Saturday week. “She did that well. She’s absolutely flying and her gate speed, combined with the fact she can switch off after burning early, is such an asset,” he said. Butt’s also hopeful Make Way, trained by his fiancé Sonya Smith, can secure a Chariots Of Fire start with another bold run in Saturday night’s Group 2 Paleface Adios. “He’s just that bit below the absolute best ones, but the top four from last week are gone. Yes, a few new ones come in, but he’s drawn ok (gate six) and a top five run this week should be enough to get him in,” he said. Butt foray into training, most specifically the private gig for Rosati and his wife, Mary, continues to go. He confirmed he was taking over Shane and Lauren Tritton’s huge double barn at Menangle when they leave at the end of March. “It’s perfect. It’ll give us 40 boxes and plus room for another five or so who prefer to be in yards,” he said. “We’ve already got 30 or so in work and the set-up Shane and Lauren have will be ideal to move into,” he said.   STAR Kiwi pacer AG’s White Socks headlines the field for Saturday night’s $50,000 Group 2 Terang Cup (2680m). Greg and Nina Hope’s stable star will chase a second Victorian country cup after his Ballarat success last month. Punters have already stepped-in to AG’s White Socks backing him from $3.50 into $2.80 with the Aussie TAB, despite drawing the back row (gate nine). In-form local Code Bailey, who ran fourth in the Hunter Cup compared to AG’s White Socks’ fifth placing, has the advantage of the front row (gate six) and is $2.40 favourite. On the same card, former Kiwi Ronald J has been backed from $2.15 into $2 to make a winning Aussie debut for Kate and Andy Gath in the Group 3 Terang Trotters’ Cup.   Adam Hamilton

THE countdown to the Miracle Mile really hots up at Menangle on Saturday night. The All Stars’ Chase Auckland (gate 11) clashes with former Miracle Mile winner My Field Marshal (nine), the flying Alta Orlando (10), brilliant miler Majordan (eight) and classy Ignatius (seven) in the mile free-for-all. While it’s not a Miracle Mile qualifier, it could certainly help reshape betting on Australasia’s premier sprint race on March 7. It’s got all the potential for a blistering time with Majordan appearing a certain leader, but others realising they can’t leave him along as happened when he won easily last Saturday night. The Craig Cross/Luke McCarthy team settled on Alta Orlando as their runner this week out of their team of Miracle Mile contenders. “Alta Orlando’s had a frustrating time with missing the trip to Perth and then being scratched with something minor from the Hunter Cup. He’s raring to go,” McCarthy said. “King Of Swing will go straight to the qualifying sprints (February 29) and we’re still tossing-up where Bling It On and Cash N Flow will have their next runs.” __________________________________________________________________________________________ SUDDENLY buzz NSW pacer Balraj is under the pump. The former Kiwi created a huge stir winning his first eight NSW runs, but had to work hard in slick time to lead last week’s Paleface Adios Sprint then tired to finish ninth. He’s on the quick back-up in this Saturday night’s Paleface Adios just to try and make the Chariots Of Fire field, but has the outside draw (gate 12) to overcome. Sure there’s no Self Assured this week, but it’s still a high-class field of Chariots hopefuls including Emma Stewart/Clayton Tonkin trio Hurricane Harley (three), Fourbigmen (two) and Out To Play (eight). Other key players include Make Way (gate five), Grant Dixon’s former Kiwi Henry Hu (four) and polemarker Culture King. __________________________________________________________________________________________ THE three placegetters from the Victoria Derby clash again at Menangle on Saturday night. Anthony Butt’s winner Line Up and third placegetter Perfect Stride (seven) are their along with Grant Dixon’s Governor Jujon, who ran second in Victoria. Under the preferential draw, Line Up has gate 10, Governor Jujon 11 and Perfect Stride a slight advantage in seven. In an interesting move, tough Victorian Youaremy Sunshine, who ran fourth in the Victoria Derby, has moved to the Craig Cross/Luke McCarthy barn and has gate eight. It’s a ripper race and thankfully over 2300m ahead of the heats of the Derby in a couple of weeks. Another star three-year-old, Stylish Memphis, also steps out at the meeting after being a late scratching last weekend. The prepost NSW Oaks favourite has drawn the pole against older, but largely inferior rivals in the third race over a mile. __________________________________________________________________________________________ BARRY Purdon already has prepost favourite Belle On Montana on target for the Ladyship Mile and unleashes his second-stringer, Havtime, at Menangle this week. Havtime has drawn wide (gate nine) in the $50,000 Group 2 Sibelia Stakes (1609m) in a talent-packed field. The one to beat is definitely Craig Cross’ much-improved Bettor Enforce (gate 11), who went so close to upsetting Belle Of Montana in the Ladyship Cup at Melton on Hunter Cup night.    Adam Hamilton

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