Young trainer Alex Ashwood has emerging squaregaiter Humble Ladd back in his care and Craig Rail is tipping the seven-year-old to be a major threat in this Sunday’s Cobram Trotters Cup.
Rail was impressed with the Inter Dominion finalist’s trial performance at Bendigo last Sunday and he looks well placed to figure in his first official start for Ashwood this weekend.
Humble Ladd is one of two new Blackbook entries this week, with Nostra Beach filly Female Assassin also finding a spot in the list of horses to follow.
She is due to debut for trainer Rita Burnett at Swan Hill on Tuesday.
Trial 1: - GLORAFLYED (Fly Like An Eagle – Gloria Norma) is the first foal out of the Shark Gesture mare Gloria Norma. The second dam Gloriette produced three winners, which were Schonbrunn (1.58.5), Wheelers Hill (1.59.6) and Secret Desire (1.59.5). He took out the opening trial ahead of GOODTIME SOMETIME (Goodtime Sammy – Lady Suffragette 1.59.0, $28,868), which made his debut at Yarra Valley on Wednesday and finished in eighth. MISSKONTIKI was stood down to trial after breaking stride at Shepparton on December 23 and was able to finish in third spot. BIGGERBETTERBEST (Betterthancheddar – Big Time Babe USA) is out of an unraced American bred mare Big Time Babe, which has produced five winners including Bit Of A Babe (1.55.7) and If The Mood Suits (1.55.7). He finished ahead of SHEZONTHEROCKS with BUS STOP being the last one across the line.
Mile Rate: - 2.1.8 Last Half: - 59.3 Margins: - 4m, head
Trial 2: - Only two runners contested the second trial with PRETTYLILANGUS defeating ESSEX PLAYER in slow time. PRETTYLILANGUS competed in a heat of the Mares Sprint Championship at Kilmore on Thursday, finishing fifth behind La Serena whereas ESSEX PLAYER resumed from a long break when fourth at Maryborough on Monday.
Mile Rate: - 2.9.3 Last Half: - 61.3 Margin: - 1m
Trial 3: - COUNTRY MAJOR (Major Bronski – Mystic Bliss) continued his good trial form leading up to his unplaced debut performance behind Saviour Telf at Kilmore on Thursday. He defeated the former Queensland pacer FLAME LADY, which is scheduled to make her Victorian debut at Cobram on Sunday. ACE MONTANA hasn’t started since October 2020 and has joined trainer Graham Lyon after previously being with Lisa Hardy. He finished third in front of the former Queenslander LUXURY LAD with WONGA LAKE being the last one across the line.
Mile Rate: - 2.3.4 Last Half: - 58.3 Margins: - Neck, 1m
Trial 1: - TELL A TALL STORY hasn’t raced since being stood down to trial at Stawell on November 22. He was able to win the trial over the qualifier SASSY SAID SO (Well Said – Sassy Gert), which out of Sassy Gert, an unraced mare that has produced a winner in Carla’s Heaven (2.2.0). The second dam Sassy Gina was a Group 1 winner and produced the outstanding filly Sassy Sarah (1.56.8, $445,866). FULLOFIT finished a distant third and COURTESY CHANCERY was last of the four runners to complete the course.
Mile Rate: - 2.2.22 Last Half: - 57.30 Margins: - 5.5m, 44m
Trial 1: - Only two trotters contested the standing start trial with DANCINGALLALONE getting the better of PRIMZ LUCK over the concluding stages. PRIMZ LUCK stepped away best to lead by three lengths early with DANCINGALLALONE in the trail before coming to the outside with 500m remaining. It is fair to say that neither horse was pushed out going to the line.
Mile Rate: - 2.10.9 Last Half: - 60.6 Margin: - Neck
Trial 2: - MARGARET RUTH took a trail behind HOPEFUL BEAUTY shortly after the start and waited for the sprint lane. She dashed through and got the price. FORGET THE PRICE TAG was last of the trio throughout, came to the outside with 300m and held his ground in the straight. It was the same scenario as trial one with none of the horses being fully extended at any stage of the event. MARGARET RUTH and HOPEFUL BEAUTY are racing against each other at Bendigo tomorrow, where HOPEFUL BEAUTY will most likely start as the favourite whereas MARGARET RUTH will be at longer odds. The trial would suggest there should be such a great gap in the betting market, even though it was really just a stroll in the park. HOPEFUL BEAUTY is an emergency for the Maori Mile.
Mile Rate: - 2.5.3 Last Half: - 59.5 Margins: - 1m, 8m
Trial 3: - BAR ROOM BANTA settled in third position, moved to the outside in the back straight on the first occasion and worked to the front with 1400m remaining. He moved away from the pegs on the home turn but was under a hard hold down the straight and dashed home in a slick last quarter of 26.8 seconds to win impressively. RACKEMUP TIGERPIE led out then took a trail and was able to drive through underneath of his stable mate BAR ROOM BANTA at the home turn. He tried hard for second but might need to find another length or two when he competes against a quality field in the Bendigo Cup tomorrow night. BENEATH THE SHADOW trailed the leader early, ended up being three back on the inside and did well for a horse of a National Rating of 54 to finish as close as he did. The Cranbourne Cup winner SUPREME DOMINATOR was out for a Sunday morning stroll and remained at the back of the pack throughout without being popped the big question. He has drawn on the outside of the front line in the Bendigo Cup, which is a big hindrance to his winning chances.
Mile Rate: - 1.58.7 Last Half: - 55.0 Margins: - 1m, 8m
Trial 4: - RANGER STRIDE (Excel Stride – Heavenly Cullen 1.54.8, $26,493) began quickly and was able to dash to the lead before the first turn. He was able to cling on and take the prize. STANTON BREAK (Guaranteed – McCardle Lassie 1.58.1, $39,817) trailed the leader and went to the line hard held in second. He obviously has some ability and probably would have won had he been allowed to stride in the latter stages. CARRAMAR SOLOMONA was four back on the inside, went through the middle and was held up for a run at a vital stage but was finishing off strongly in the latter stages. SWEET EMMYLOU settled three back on the inside, moved into the death seat at the 600m and was the last one to complete the course. She has drawn on the pole position at Swan Hill on Tuesday night.
Mile Rate: - 2.3.9 Last Half: - 58.5 Margins: - 1m, Head
Trial 5: - JAXON BEACH began quickly and was able to roll to the front shortly after the start. He was allowed to dictate the terms and went to the line with plenty in reserve to win comfortably. TASSIEDEVIL STRIDE (Rock N Roll Heaven – Artful Lombo 2.5.3, $7,390) settled three back on the markers and moved through to trail the leader with 500m remaining. He went back to the sprint lane over the concluding stages and tried hard for second. CARRAMAR KASIANO was behind the leader before coming to the outside with 500m remaining. He finished third ahead of AWESOME REACTOR, which trailed him throughout. BAZARUTO BEACH (Sunshine Beach – Jilliby Zulu) was last for the duration and started dropping off the pace half way down the back straight on the final occasion.
Mile Rate: - 2.2.1 Last Half: - 58.4 Margins: - 6m, 2m
Trial 1: - PRIMA DONNA is a former New South Wales trained pacer, which recently joined trainer Lisa Hardy. She boasts one victory from 23 starts and that was at Griffith on November 06, where she scored at big odds. She recorded handy time in her trial victory and won by a large margin. She will make her local debut at Cobram on Sunday, where she has drawn on the outside of the second line against a reasonable field but she might run a cheeky race. ROCKYBOMBA is a former South Australian trained pacer, which has joined trainer Peter Chamouras. He finished second ahead of the trotter BACARDI WOOD with the qualifier BUCKLEDOWN CHRISSY (Alta Christiano – Glory Glory) being last of the four runners. She is out of the unraced mare Glory Glory, which has produced two winners, which are Aristocrat Chester (1.58.7) and Brie (1.56.3). ROCKYBOMBA is awkwardly drawn for his Victorian debut at Cobram on Sunday.
Mile Rate: - 2.3.0 Last Half: - 58.7 Margins: - 20m, 10m
Trial 1: - MADAME ANNIE began well and was able to slide past the early leader GLENS OF TEKOA 100m after the start to find the front. She backed off the tempo and finished off in a quick final half of 56.2 to get the prize. She is drawn on the pole position but is meeting a quality field at Swan Hill on Tuesday night. SHAQ settled down in last position, came to the outside at the 600m and ran into second. He was driven hard a long way from home but he kept on coming over the concluding stages. He backed up at Kilmore on Thursday night, where he raced without cover throughout and finished fifth behind Ozzie Playboy. GLENS OF TEKOA began quickly to find the front, took cover shortly afterwards and used the sprint lane to finish third. He ran a sharper race at Kilmore on Thursday night, where he stormed through late for second. GALLIFREY DIRECT settled three back on the inside and started yielding ground when the pace increased at the quarter pole.
Mile Rate: - 2.0.4 Last Half: - 56.2 Margins: - 1m, 3m
Trial 2: - RINGER RUSS settled three back on the inside, angled out wide on the home turn and was able to claim victory on the line by a narrow margin. He is backing up at Melton tonight where he is not without a chance. BETTERTHANFLYHIGH was four back on the inside and came away from the markers with 500m remaining. He sprinted quickly to reach the lead before the home turn but was run down late. The juvenile qualifier SLICE OF CHEDDAR (Betterthancheddar – Shadow Flag 1.55.3, $38,180) did a nice job to fill third spot. He dropped out to be last of the five runners early, moved into the one out and one back trail at the 500m mark and was four horses wide on the home turn. MALINGJAN trailed the leader and went to the line seemingly having something in reserve with no clear run at the finish. He might be one to watch in a maiden event at Swan Hill on Tuesday. BLUE OCEAN was the last one to complete the course after setting the speed and being collared on the home turn. He was driven aggressively to keep the death seat and faded into tenth at Kilmore on Thursday night.
Mile Rate: - 2.4.5 Last Half: - 60.7 Margins: - Head, 3m
Trial 3: - SHARKATTACK settled four back on the markers and moved into the one out and one back trail with 900m remaining. He finished off nicely to take the prize over BEATS TRUE (Betting Line – Bettes Rose 1.57.8, $26,910), which was last early, moved into the death seat at the bell and hit the front with 500m remaining. They compete in the same race at Swan Hill on Tuesday night where Female Assassin and Shez Bettor’s Babe appear to be the dangers. LAVENDI RICKY (Betterthancheddar – Julies Equity 1.58.4, $197,969) trailed the leader for the majority of the trial and finished in third position. ROCKNROLL NUGGET (Rock N Roll Heaven – A Few Dollars More 1.57.4, $4,088) was three back on the inside and finished a distant fourth with the early leader ARIANA SPRINGFIELD (Sportswriter – Darlin Springfield) being the last horse across the line.
Mile Rate: - 2.4.0 Last Half: - 61.5 Margins: - 6m, 8m
Trial 4: - HUMBLE LADD returned from his Queensland and Inter Dominion campaign with a big victory. He settled down last of the four runners, sprinted quickly down the back straight to join the leader WELL DEFINED and asserted his superiority at the end. He was performing brilliantly at the trials before his Northern campaign and was very good again on Sunday. Interestingly, he has yet to race in Victoria but that will change at Cobram on Sunday, where he should make his presence felt in the Cup. WELL DEFINED was no match for HUMBLE LADD after setting the speed but was still a good effort in second position. He will also be racing in the Cobram Trotters Cup. TEQUILA BREE was three back on the inside and it appeared as though she was going to run last of the four when WISP OF SMOKE (3 back markers) moved alongside but she was able to kick back to fill third place on the line.
Mile Rate: - 2.1.7 Last Half: - 58.2 Margins: - 9m, 16m
BLACKBOOKER: - Humble Ladd
Trial 5: - JENNYSFAVOURITE began safely and was able to trail the leader BLUE SKYE ALM in the early stages. She came to the outside with 700m remaining, quickly hit the front half way down the backstraight and cruised down to the line to win easily by fifteen metres, without be pushed at any stage. She is racing at Maryborough on Monday and will prove hard to beat if she delivers a fool proof display. YANKEE TWISTER was three back on the markers, one out and out one back in the back straight then behind the leader from the quarter pole. He couldn’t stick with JENNYSFAVOURITE at the end but he beat the remainder of the field by a decent margin. BLUE SKYE ALM (Skyvalley – Sundae Alm) finished third after settling the speed and being collared at the 600m mark. SEBASTIANS BOY (Sebastian K – Prettygirl Lassie 2.3.7, $25,975) broke stride in the score up and was tailed off for the entire trial.
Mile Rate: - 2.8.1 Last Half: - 60.3 Margins: - 15m, 45m
Trial 6: - IONA SPIDER settled down last of the three runners, moved to the outside with 700m remaining and ambled up to the leader JUST OSCAR to win untouched but she has a National Rating of 54 so she was clearly the class runner of the trial. JUST OSCAR is now being prepared by Mary-Jane Mifsud and was given plenty of time to balance up in the early stages, edged to the front at the 1700m and fought on well in the straight. He did break stride about 30m past the post, which is a concern leading up to his first up performance at Maryborough on Monday but he did show improvement in the trial. DYNAMIC DIESEL was the best away from the standing start before taking cover and was last of the three runners to complete the course.
Mile Rate: - 2.12.5 Last Half: - 66.0 Margins: - 1m, 9m
TABCORP PARK, MELTON 04/01/22
Trial 1: - JEREMY LOU (Sweet Lou – Lady Musgrave 2.10.3, $2,025) is a juvenile pacer for trainer Julian Attard and put in a tidy performance. He started quickly to find the lead and dashed away at the finish to win with seemingly plenty in reserve. DEVIL OF A SMILE was given plenty of time to balance up in the early stages and was well away from the markers for the first quarter of the trial. He gradually eased across to be last and without cover in the one wide line, progressed forward from the bell and battled on well to finish second. He has drawn the middle of the line at Swan Hill on Tuesday night. FIREFLY (Downbytheseaside – Illawong Joyful 1.57.2, $41,169) was three back on the markers for the majority of the trip and moved away from the inside on the turn to be third. HEPHAESTUS PHOENIX (Love You – One Yankee Hall 1.58.2, $49,908) was four back on the inside and beat home AUZZIE SPIRIT (Kvintet Avenger – What About Perky 2.6.1, $8,225), which trailed the leader and yielded ground over the latter stages.
Mile Rate: - 2.0.6 Last Half: - 57.74 Margins: - 13.5m, 8.5m
Trial 2: - The open class trial was only a field of two but it created plenty of interest with the return of champion pacer LOCHINVAR ART, which hasn’t started since securing six victories in succession including the Super Series Final and the Shepparton, Ballarat and Hunter Cups nearly a year ago. He eased in behind the leader TANGO TARA, came to the outside and almost drew level but went to the line with something in reserve. TANGO TARA wasn’t fully extended in his all of the way victory either. He has been very consistent since coming from New Zealand and has been freshened since his win in the Breeders Crown Graduate FFA on November 19. He has drawn awkwardly on the inside of the second line behind Torrid Saint in the Bendigo Cup tomorrow night.
Mile Rate: - 1.56.9 Last Half: - 55.30 Margin: - ½ Head
Trial 3: - The outstanding horses kept on rolling out at the trials with the millionaire trotter TORNADO VALLEY taking out the third event. He showed his customary gate speed to get across and find the lead on the first corner, backed off the speed mid-race and jogged home to win very softly. He has drawn on the pole position and should give a great sight in the Maori Mile at Bendigo tomorrow night. CYCLONE S ADAMS settled three back on the inside, moved away from the markers at the 400m mark and finished off solidly for second. It was a good performance as a lead up to his effort in the Cobram Cup on Sunday. NORQUAY was caught out a little wide coming into the first turn. She eased back to last and was doing her best work at the end to finish third. She is competing against a handy field at Bendigo tomorrow night. ZIGZAGZOO was the last horse across the line after trailing the leader throughout.
Mile Rate: - 2.3.1 Last Half: - 57.55 Margins: - 6.5m, 1.5m
Trial 4: - IDEAL PACE trailed the leader early and ended up being three back on the markers mid-race. He came to the outside with 700m remaining, forged to the front before the home turn and was able to skip clear to win nicely. His rivals were closing in late but he wasn’t extended going to the line. LOCHINVAR JAG settled down last of the six runners, moved away from the inside in the back straight (1-2) and went through the middle over the latter stages. He ran home strongly and put in an eye-catching performance. THUG ROSE (Always B Miki – Kim Maguire) ended up being four back on the markers before angling into the one out and one back trail in the back straight on the final occasion. She finished in third with AZELLIAS FAME being fourth after making an early move from four back on the markers to find the lead with 1400m remaining. DELTAS VILLAGE (Village Jolt – Mazzas Delight) was five back on the markers throughout and beat home MY LADY NATASHA (A Rocknroll Dance – Mach Class 1.56.6, $34,500), which led out then took cover.
Mile Rate: - 2.3.9 Last Half: - 57.26 Margins: - 5m, 1.5m
Trial 5: - FYNN FROST began quickly from a wide draw and angled across to trail the leader. He circled around to find the front with a mile remaining and was always in complete control of the trial, winning comfortably. SMITHSTARS LEXUS was five back on the inside, moved into the one out and one back trail at the 700m mark and was without cover from the 500m. He tried hard in the straight for second. EMMBER was four back on the inside and moved into the breeze when turning into the back straight on the final occasion. She was able to angle in behind the leader with 500m remaining, went back to the sprint lane and went to the line on a tight rein. She is returning from a spell against a strong field at Bendigo tomorrow night. BELLASTEEL dropped out to last early, joined the one wide line at the 700m mark, came out three horses wide from the 300m and battled on fairly well for fourth. MANBAR DUKE trailed the leader in the early stages then ended up being three back on the inside and finished fifth. BONA KHAN led out before taking a trail and started yielding ground with 600m remaining.
Mile Rate: - 2.1.2 Last Half: - 57.21 Margins: - 3m, 1.5m
Trial 6: - INTERVIEW began nicely and was able to slide to the front shortly after the start. He backed off the tempo mid-race and was able to cling on to win by a narrow margin but was never extended at any stage. AMOUR FRATERNELLE settled last on the inside, moved into one out and one back trail at the 500m mark and finished strongly out wide on the track for a game second. STRATEGIC STRIDE (Love You – Glory Stride) was the first to leave the markers and moved up without cover from third at the 600m mark. He finished third just in front of LEOTARDANDLACE, which trailed the leader throughout with MEGEVE (4 back markers) being last but the field finished in a bunch. LEOTARDANDLACE is backing up at Maryborough on Monday.
Mile Rate: - 2.8.5 Last Half: - 59.96 Margins: - ½ head, 5m
Trial 7: - FEMALE ASSASSIN (American Ideal – Nostra Beach 1.53.5, $266,190) began quickly to find the lead and completely dominated her rivals. She skipped well clear on the home turn and sustained the run to win by a large margin. She recorded slick final sectionals and she is nicely bred so she might be worth following. She has drawn on the outside of the front line at Swan Hill on Tuesday night but she should give a bold showing. BOTANY BAY WARRIOR trailed the leader throughout and finished in second position. ALCATRAZ GIRL (Pet Rock – Golden Valour) was five back on the markers, moved away from the inside with 300m remaining and found the line well for third. KAPTAIN KIDD (Captaintreacherous – Aniteattheopera 2.1.6, $13,300) settled at the tail of the field and was doing his best work at the end to finish in fourth position. CARRING BUSH was four back on the inside and finished fifth with CAMIVELLS PRIDE (A Rocknroll Dance – Miss California) being the last one home after being without cover early, eased onto the markers to be three back and yielded ground over the final stages.
Mile Rate: - 2.1.7 Last Half: - 57.13 Margins: - 15.5m, 15m
BLACKBOOKER: - Female Assassin
Trial 8: - The stable mates WILLIE GO WEST and CRUZ BROMAC went around from behind the tapes in the final trial. CRUZ BROMAC stepped away best and found the lead with WILLIE GO WEST in the trail. WILLIE GO WEST came to the outside with 300m remaining and chased hard in a sizzling final quarter of 26.5 seconds to score by a metre. CRUZ BROMAC returns from a long break at Bendigo tomorrow night and is sure to be strongly fancied.
Mile Rate: - 2.0.2 Last Half: - 54.8 Margin: - 1m
Trial 1: - The Metropolitan class horses KEAYANG JACKIE and KEAYANG LIVANA had a bit of class on their rivals and finished first and second. KEAYANG JACKIE hasn’t raced since recording two wins in succession, including the Cinderella Stakes in December 2020 but she was able to record fast time and scored by a large margin. KEAYANG LIVANA hasn’t raced since a ninth in the Sumthingaboutmaori Trot in August. Her wins include the 2020 Super Series and Breeders Crown Finals so she is a quality trotter and she beat the remainder of the field by a large margin. BAKERS BANDIT hasn’t raced since August and was able to beat home LEICA BUDDY and BLUE VEIN FITZ, which ran fourth and fifth respectively.
Mile Rate: - 1.59.4 Last Half: - 56.47 Margins: - 16.5m, 16.5m