Promising Matamata filly Ready Steady takes some of the headache out of a tricky Pick6 on a rain-soaked Pukekohe today.
Leg four, the R75 feature sprint, is a huge drop in class from her last-start appearance in the Newmarket Handicap at Ellerslie.
She was badly held up in the straight that day and did well to still finish so close up in ninth.
Pearl Lustre is a patiently handled filly who should be tough to beat fresh-up. She had promising trials form on slow surfaces last spring, including a win over classy Zurella, before a luckless debut for ninth. She was trapped wide the entire trip that day at Hastings and also got a cut to the nose. Hillbilly Bear is another freshened 3-year-old you need on the spread. He ran second on debut on a slow Taupo last August and showed he was forward with a recent trials placing.
It never pays to get overly confident in maiden distance affairs, but there are a lot of positives around Oberon. He's had three tune-ups over shorter trips and each indicates the 2100m should now be perfect. He's also proven on rain-affected ground. He ran 1m 55s for 1600m when beaten a nose over 1600m at Ellerslie last prep. Outside of him the chances are wide. Although she's had a few attempts, Nukumai has to be one of those on the score of her last-start second in special conditions company. The light-tried Tino Pai, Queen Of Reims and Aprils Choice are also worth including if funds permit.
Go as broad as you can afford - this is a nightmare to sort out. On-pace runner Big Bang Baby has to be on any serious multiple spread. She can stick on okay as she showed two starts back when a close-up fourth in stronger field. Boomchuckalucka is also a must-include off a lengthy break. She had a fair bit of support when last produced and looked forward for a return when third at the Cambridge trials this month. Trials winner My Cracker and last-start runner-up Light N Tasty add to the confusion.
Bank on stakes-placed filly Ready Steady to stem the strain on the account balance. She's worthy of anchor status in this field, particularly when you factor in Rotorua treble winner Phillip Turner's 2kg claim reducing her weight to 54.5kg. In her last fresh-up sprint on slow ground she ran second in the $45,000 Lion Red Plate. Guevara appeals as insurance. He was an impressive maiden winner around the same time in a similar state.
Beejay Belle made a meal of a heavy Riccarton in her last raceday appearance but that was in the 1000 Guineas at the end of a testing campaign. Back in this class on a track she won fresh-up on as a 2-year-old the group two placegettter has to be tough to contain. Local The Prophecy seems to be finally living up to the potential he's shown all along. They should be all you need on the ticket to progress.
James McDonald and Cambridge trainer Murray Baker can round out the double with Le Nuage, a stablemate of Beejay Belle. She ran second this course and distance last autumn on a heavy track and appears stronger in this campaign. Classcoroc, Light The Way Rossita and Sapling also appeal. Classcoroc will be a huge danger if she handles the track. She ran a late-closing fourth three starts back to Rock 'n' Pop in the listed Karaka Three-Year-Old Mile and had no luck last time out when held up in the straight.
* Yesterday's races at New Plymouth were cancelled due to strong winds.