Record breaking Balraj returns to Menangle

High speed: Robbie Morris allows Balraj to coast to the line at Menangle. Picture: Club Menangle
High speed: Robbie Morris allows Balraj to coast to the line at Menangle. Picture: Club Menangle

Kiwi-bred Balraj elevated himself to be the top of the pile in respect of speed by running 1:49.1 for 1609 metres at Menangle on August 6 - a southern hemisphere age classification record.

Now unbeaten in four starts on these shores, it is reported that connections of the three year-old gelding have refused an offer of $500,000 for the Art Major from American owners.

The stress from the record breaking win saw trainer Shaun Simiana the gelding time to record and he now resumes after 21 days.

After his Tuesday's assignment, Balraj will be given a break and a likely headline target will be the prestigious Group 1 Chariots Of Fire (on February 22, offering $200,000 to-the-winner) at Menangle.

Should Balraj maintain his incredible run of fast times, the pressure to sell will be increase in line with the Australian dollar as the diminishing exchange rate (A$ to US$) makes the transaction more viable for a potential sale to be executed.


Expert comment by Paul Micallef

Race 5

CHRISTIAN MAJOR (Grant Fuller): Resumed 3 pegs 7m 4th My Major Rocket (1:53.7) here Aug 17. Encouraging effort first-up and can place here.

IDEAL STAR (Tim Butt): Always handy but run down late by Benelong Valley (1:53.9) here Aug 20. Racing well and place show again with hotpot engaged.

JAKARRAS ACE (Michael Xuereb): Former Victorian having first run for stable and this track. Claimed after 5m 2nd Irish Player Bendigo Aug 6. This is much harder.

SHANOCON (Kerry McDowell): Not won here in 18 starts but handy effort 8m 4th Benelong Valley Aug 20. Wait for something easier.

BALRAJ (Anthony Simiana): Rising star unbeaten in 4 runs since crossing Tasman, latest led in southern hemisphere 3yo record 1:49.1 mile win here Aug 6. Has to back up and looks too good with a repeat.

HANDSOME HERO (S P Tritton, L R Tritton): Tactics queried when restrained 12m 7th to stablemate My Major Rocket here Aug 17. Fitter by 3 runs back but finds a difficult task here.

BETTORS POCKET (Kerry McDowell): Not won a race in 19 starts this season. Better effort 4m 3rd Benelong Valley Aug 20 but looks to have the job ahead against these.

CHRISTMAS TOYBOY (Amanda Turnbull): Brilliant beginner which can cross and take a sit on favourite. Outside leader first-up 9m 5th Benelong Valley Aug 20. Fitter and upset show if Balraj falters.

ANGEL IN WHITE (Mark Callaghan): Former top class mare out of form. Well beaten in both starts since resuming and having first run for trainer. Has trialled well.

THE BLACK ASSASSIN (Graeme Hartman): Has managed only 2 minor placings in 20 starts this season and not likely to trouble these from wide alley.

JEDI MIND (Darren Binskin): Best graded runner as the winner of 10 races here. Raced 4 pegs 4m 5th Pay Me Sam (1:52.2) here Aug 17. Can win this if favourite not on his game.

Race 6

RNR WINDERMERE (Amanda Turnbull): Led from this alley for odds-on 1:55.4 mile win here Aug 20. Scored with something in hand at Australian debut and bound to improve. Look for repeat.

FIORE STRIDE (Darren Binskin): Smart 4yo mare having only her 10th start. Followed leader/winner and just failed neck 2nd RNR Windermere Aug 20 in 27.2 sprint home. Capable of turning the tables.

BITA BANTA (Peter Hanson): Handy 3yo colt having first start for stable. Led 9m 3rd Straddie (1:56.5) N'ctle mile Mar 11. Wait for easier race.

PLAIN BABY (KerryAnn Morris): Outclassed 21m last RNR Windermere last week. Looks safely held again.

JUST TOOTSIE (Norman Warland): Fast 9yo mare winner 10 times here. Not raced since May and looks to be facing difficult task first-up.

HOWS THE MEMORY (Craig Cross): Led/won 1:57.2 Penrith 1720m Jun 27 before 3 stint Qld campaign. Has plenty of speed and look for a bold showing.

ELECT TO ROCK (S P Tritton, L R Tritton): Broke when last to Rays Choice here Aug 17 after leading hfhd 2nd Weona Luke (1:54) here Aug 10. Down in class. Don't dismiss.

BENALONG VALLEY (Trevor Munday): Finished strongly when clear from 3 pegs for first-up 1/2 head win over Ideal Star in 1:53.9 here last week. Looks to have returned better and not out of this.

BLACK EIGHT (Leon Jurd): Former Victorian with 1 win from 16 starts and having first run for stable. Looks tested on form.

COWBOYS N INDIANS (Kerry McDowell): Safely held 4 times since behind leader head win over pacemaker Mongolian Archer (1:54.9) here May 7. Needs luck.

Race 7

REDBELLY JACK (Michael Xuereb): Fast early and draw suits but this class may test. Off back row twice since leading 1:56.4 Newcastle mile win Jul 20 beating Dynamic Archie.

DREAM TO SHARE (Amanda Turnbull): Had soft run behind leader 10m 3rd Rusty Crackers Wagga 2270m Aug 23. Finds it hard in town and rough place hope looks best.

MISS RIVIERA BELLE (Adam Francis): Former quality mare with 10 wins here but struggling these days with only 3 minor placings from 20 starts this season. Prefer others.

JAKES SPORTWRITER (Leon Jurd): Yet to win in town in 20 starts for this stable but has run 9 placings in good company. Held up 3 pegs 7m 4th Mister Brazil here Aug 17. Each-way.

WARDAN EXPRESS (Kevin Pizzuto): Quality Victorian having first start for top trainer who excels when given these horses. Has the speed and class to give this a big shake.

THE FAITHFUL (Peter Russo): Has failed to flatter in both runs for stable since leaving Queensland. Unplaced all 10 runs this season and hard to fancy.

TEAM OF STARZZZ (Tiarn Sutton): Clear late and flashed home to just miss 2nd My Major Rocket (1:53.7) here Aug 17. This is so much harder.

UPANATOM (Kevin Pizzuto): Another very good Victorian having first run for this stable. Out of form but well up to this at his best. Follow stable betting moves.

SMOKEY QUARTZ (KerryAnn Morris): Fast beginner. Ready now after 3 runs back from a spell and could be hard to run down if he can cross. Also versatile.

JAMES DEAN (KerryAnn Morris): Unplaced past 5 starts here and looks to be facing a hard task from this wide alley.

LORD ZIN ZAN (John McCarthy): Not won a race for nearly 2 years. Behind leader 2m 2nd Mister Brazil (1:51.7) here Aug 17. Well graded and can threaten with right run.

Race 8

STAR WRITER (Steve Turnbull): Sat behind leader from this draw when 5m 5th The Democrat (1:54.8) last week. Won't be far away again in open race. Each-way.

ELROY JETSON (Leon Jurd): Racing a shade below best with unplaced runs past 7 starts and not won since Jan this year. A return to best here would see him threaten.

FAT PROPHET (KerryAnn Morris): Very hard horse to follow. Has won a few of these with luck on his side and can do the same here if it presents itself again.

SABRAGE (Peter Russo): Set slow pace in front when head 2nd The Democrat last week. Had no excuses last week but will be in front for a long way again.

ARTHUR LOWE (Paul Fitzpatrick): Fast beginner. Has 2 recent placings here to his credit and will appreciate first run in claimer. Keep in calculations.

THE IDES OF MARCH (Shane Sanderson): Fast beginner and has had his chances in this company without winning in 12 starts this track. Still can't leave out in hard race.

GOTTA GO HENRY (Malcolm Locke): Unplaced 3 times in the top grade since beating Fat Prophet in 1:54.6 claimer here Jul 30. Versatile and will give this a big shake.

DEANO ROBYN (Ian Wilson): Back marker who hits the line hard and best over 2300m but still good enough to win this with right tempo.

HES OKEY DOKEY (Leon Jurd): One of our best claimers and he will test this field. Stormed home 5m 2nd Under Worked (1:51.4) here Aug 6. Watch for him late.

CONTROVERSIAL (Dennis Upton): Found a purple patch with 2 wins and 2 placings here before always well back 9m last The Democrat last week. Respect.

This story Will Balraj's high speed be hot for Menangle rivals? first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.