Racing: Don't misjudge last at Ellerslie

By Mike Dillon

Miss Judged in the last at Ellerslie today is probably as close as you'll get to a calorie-free Easter egg.

Unlike the chocolate variety, this is an Easter egg that won't make you fat, but it's probably going to be safe to consume.

Miss Judged has won only one of her 14 career starts and was beaten on this track last start, but it was as good a beaten run as you can get.

The short head distance the talented I'm A King beat her by is not the significant margin in the race - the four and a quarter lengths back to third, filled by the useful mare Miss Krisdel, is what you need to look at.

Miss Judged raced well clear of the opposition in the home straight at Ellerslie that day and it took a superb effort by I'm A King to go and get her. Miss Judged's run would have won just about any other R70 sprint you can think of all season. That was a hard run, but she's had four weeks to recover and the last at Ellerslie this afternoon looks to be her race.

You wouldn't think you could be unlucky all season, but Fiorano (No2, R5) pretty much has been. His luck has to turn soon and it would be timely if that was today.

Calatrava (No3) won an identical race at the last meeting, being greatly assisted by the sit-sprint tempo she set in front, something that worked right against the back-running Fiorano.

There is a 2.5kg weight turnaround in Fiorano's favour this time and provided nothing gets away with a ridiculous lead again he should be right in this finish.

Kingston Samba (No2, R7) has taken his time learning the ringcraft, but he's getting there. It was a pretty good run when only three-quarters of a length away in sixth place in a useful maiden field on this track last start and he easily won a barrier trial at Te Awamutu since.

He has drawn awkwardly wide, but it's a small field and there should be a chance for the right run.

Colin Meads should go close with the appropriately named Tanalised (No8, R9). He didn't get a fair crack when beaten favourite here last start and there was a bit to like about his prior Te Rapa victory even though he only just got there. He can charge the finish line the same way his owner used to attack the try line in his day. This is another one you won't retire on, but he's going to be awfully hard to keep out.

At Manawatu, the clash between Vosne Romanee (No1, R9) and Red Ruler (No2) will be a beaut. Vosne Romanee got the better of their last battle when he won at Ellerslie and Red Ruler finished fourth, but this will be different.

Trainer John Sargent has had to carefully plan his attack with Red Ruler, who leaves next week for the big race in Hong Kong, followed by a possible Singapore invitation race. Because of his lack of full fitness Red Ruler pulled quite hard in that last race, but was still only 1.4 lengths away.

He is significantly improved and is ready to give Vosne Romanee all the opposition he needs this time. Plus, because of the special conditions of this race, Red Ruler gets 1kg off Vosne Romanee. That's not a lot, but combined with the fitness element, it might just be enough.

Race 5 at Manawatu looks a terrific race. All In Tempo (No4) has been running great races against stronger opposition and although this will be no day at the beach for him, on his recent efforts he might prove too good.

The only reservation is that his recent efforts have been extremely tough in races he couldn't win. But he's worth taking the risk on.

The barrier draw is very awkward, but Banchee (No10, R7), with even luck, will be the one they have to contend with in the Sires Produce.

She's a fabulous filly who finds the line very strongly and although several of the opposition will be similarly suited by the first jump to 1400m, Banchee will eat up the extra distance. Lion Tamer (No3) will be a big danger.

He is similarly talented and has been set for this race right through. He badly needed his run at Trentham last start, but won anyway. If you couple the northern pair up with Cellarmaster (No1) and Jimmy Choux (No2) you should pick up the multiples.

It was difficult, no, try impossible, to work out just what happened with Elbaz (No2, R10) when beaten hot favourite at Ellerslie last start. It was one of those races you simply have to pretend didn't happen.

He's got 58kg and an awkward wide draw to contend with, but if James McDonald can find him some sort of a run he should prove very difficult to beat.

- NZ Herald

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