The absence of Inferno has opened up the Clare Memorial Gold Cup for Alpine Heights at Omakau today.
The 6-year-old Spartacus gelding was second in Tuesday's Waikouaiti Cup, with Inferno capitalising on a sweet trip on Alpine Heights' back.
Alpine Heights had a 4.5kg weight advantage on Inferno and stuck on gamely to finish less than a length off the talented galloper.
Inferno's scratching from today's $15,000 feature over 2000m also assists Alpine Heights, as he was the top weight by 5kg, with the rest of the field on 54kg. Alpine Heights, rated at 85, is now at equal weights with horses rated well below him, such as Deceptive, who is rated at 64.
There were steady showers throughout the day at Omakau yesterday, and Alpine Heights' co-trainers John and Karen Parsons will not want the track to be worse than dead as he is winless on a slow or worse track from eight attempts.
Pazejan is closest to Alpine Heights on the ratings scale, but will also need a dead or better track, and is hampered by a wide draw of barrier nine.
Ima Dude was a last-start winner over 1800m in R65 class at Kurow on December 30 and has been a winner on slow footing.
News Flash has been re-handicapped to 60.5kg for his assignment in the rating 65 benchmark 2000m after his win at Waikouaiti on Tuesday - his second win in succession. His original weight for today's race was 58.5kg.
He could face most opposition from Prince Flight, who has minor placings over 2400m at his past two starts and could appreciate the drop in distance.Otago Daily Times