Star Kiwis add heat to Chariots Of Fire

28 February 2024 | RACING AND SPORTS
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Dont Stop Dreaming.

Dont Stop Dreaming. Photo by Club Menangle

The $250,000 Group 1 Chariots of Fire is the feature event on the opening night of the Sky Racing Carnival of Miracles at Menangle on Saturday night where qualification for next week's Miracle Mile will also be up for grabs in the two feature sprints.

The addition of Kiwi stars Dont Stop Dreaming and Its Merlin – as well the horse that placed behind them in last year's New Zealand Derby in Sooner The Bettor – has created one of the most talked about and eagerly anticipated editions of the Chariots of Fire in recent years.

Dont Stop Dreaming has been terrific in Australia so far, winning his past two starts at Menangle after chasing Leap To Fame when second in the Hunter Cup.

He was very impressive in a fast-finishing Hondo Grattan win over this distance two back and was in cruise control in last week's victory.

He appears to be the real deal and is thriving here in Australia so with the aid of a good draw everything looks to have fallen into place for him.

Its Merlin was beaten into second at his Australian debut but he did some work and should be better for it.

He is highly accomplished and has a knack of stepping up on a big occasion so is worthy another chance.

There has been merit in the two Sydney efforts of Sooner The Bettor and he led and stuck on for second last week so the ace draw can see him competitive.

The Kiwis won't have it all their own way with a strong local contingent, headed by the emerging Frankie Ferocious.

He has impressed in two starts since joining the Jason Grimson yard, steaming home to win the 4YO Bonanza when fresh at Melton before showing plenty of speed to lead and win easily last time.

He can go forward from this draw and will be peaking third up so is a big danger.

Better Be The Best is back in winning form, making it two in a row when beating several of these rivals in last week's Paleface Adios.

He can get into the action early from this draw so must be respected.

Classy Victorian Ladies In Red adds plenty of interest to the Miracle Mile picture with the mare launching a surprise bid through the first of the night's qualifiers, The Cordina Group Sprint.

Ladies In Red faces a challenge resuming at this level but she is all class and will be ready to go off a couple of trials.

She owns a terrific strike rate and can lob into the right spot from this draw. The stable's decision to kick her off here suggests she is going well.

The marble has fallen beautifully for Taipo. He won at Menangle three back and since then was a brave fifth in the Hunter Cup and runner up last start after drawing wide and racing outside the leader. He is drawn to enjoy the favours.

Hot And Treacherous is a query after he blew his chances with an early break in last week's Newcastle Mile to follow a fresh win at this circuit. He is big on talent and is a real player if he gets it right.

Last-start placegetter Rock N Roll Doo is building nicely and has yet to miss a place in five third-up attempts, winning three. He won last year's Len Smith Mile and is drawn to advantage.

Speak The Truth cops a tough draw but he is smart and will be improved by last week's win in Brisbane so is worth including in the exotics.

Menangle specialist Hi Manameisjeff will have to overcome a wide draw to maintain an unbeaten record at the circuit in the Allied Express Sprint.

He made it eight from eight at Menangle when a narrow winner from a similar barrier last time, a win that took his record at the distance to five from five.

He has been freshened since but was kept up to the mark with trial and while a wide draw in a strong field poses a challenge he has the early pace to get across.

Mach Dan looks a big danger from the ace draw. He had enough speed to lead from a wider barrier at Geelong last week and held off last year's Miracle Mile winner Catch A Wave.

He is in form and owns a good record at the distance so should get every chance.

Better Eclipse has been kept fresh since his Hunter Cup fourth and is a past Chariots of Fire winner at this circuit and distance.

He was runner up in the Inter Dominion earlier in his campaign so has cemented his place at the top level and is up to this.

Mach Da Vinci was a brave second to Leap To Fame in last week's Newcastle Mile and won from a similar draw at Menangle two back.

He deserves respect along with Loyalist who performed well from a tough draw in the Newcastle Mile after kicking off the campaign with back-to-back wins.

To view Racing and Sports form analysis of the meeting, click here.

Sam Williams and Ken Warren preview night one of the 2024 Sky Racing Carnival of Miracles:

Racing & Sports Podcasts · Chariots of Fire Night Preview with Sam Williams and Ken Warren

 

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