With only 53kg, Jeu De Cartes looks well placed in the Hawkes Bay Cup.
The quest for an anchor in today's $200,000 Pick 6 at Hastings is difficult.
Most of the legs are multiple choice by necessity.
If there is something that comes even close to an anchor it's probably local runner The Hombre in Leg 5, the open sprint.
He wasn't beaten by much at Te Aroha last start and don't forget his Railway second on January 1.
He will claim a 3kg apprentice allowance through Christopher Dell.
This is the most even leg and a spread is critical. Blue Nile (No6) won well at Pukekohe, as did Frank Whitaker (No7), whose five-length debut victory suggested something pretty smart. It's unfortunate that he's drawn so wide. The Knight (No5) has been freshened and that will be the key to his performance, as will his inside barrier draw.
La Tourneau (No9) hasn't won when resuming from a spell but she has been placed and the 3kg allowance via Christopher Dell will be important. Good luck in this leg, you'll need it.
Lost World (No4) covered plenty of extra ground when resuming at Ellerslie last start and was collared right on the finish line. He starts from a perfect gate this time and should figure for Jason Collett. Savvy Dancer (No7) will probably need 2000m pretty quickly, but while relatively fresh he should run a decent 1600m. He got home strongly into fifth over 1200m at his first start back at Matamata last time and will appreciate the additional 400m. Beyond All Doubt (No10) and Jabez (No8) are both chances in a fieldthat contains plenty of promising types.
Great race this - a huge level of talent. Musuko King (No11) has been extremely impressive in winning his last two from just four starts, but complicating things is his wide barrier at the tricky 1600m starting point at Hastings. Hayden Tinsley is aboard again and he now knows the horse well, which will help. Murray Baker has always had a big opinion of the well-bred Mackadoo (High Chaparral - Staring) (No4) but physical issues have at times stood in the way. He starts afresh here and don't be surprised to see a big performance. Gunsmoke (No9) has taken his time, but impressed greatly in winning at Te Rapa last time. He looks ready to go on with it now. Montetra (No5) is best over slightly more distance than the 1600m, even though two of his three wins have been at the distance. He is fresh, having had just the one run, and can figure here. Aldebaran Star (No2) and Langdon (No3) are strong chances in a great field.
Hawkes Bay Cups are rarely easy. With only 53kg, Jeu De Cartes (No11) looks well placed. She has been performing well with little luck in fields at least as strong as this lately and will greatly appreciate the lift from 1600m to 2200m. Precious Time (No17) is jumping way up in class, but the way she has been finishing off her races she can figure in this. The drop from 56kg to 53kg will be important. Top Spot (No13) is better than generally given credit for and her second to Petergabriel last start was very good. Petergabriel (No8) is again a chance as are Innocent Lady (No5), Back In Black (No3) and Doctor Freemantle (No1). Tough race.
With the 3kg apprentice allowance The Hombre (No1) is going to be all the rage. You look at this field and wonder how many of them could have finished second in a Railway. Home track advantage also applies. From a lovely inside barrier, Ginner Hart (No12) appeals with no weight on his back and Kitt And Miss (No8) is the blowout chance. Her last run was better than it looked. The barrier looks bad, but Guessing (No10) is not out of it.
Perhaps it's a mystery what happened to Outback Girl (No5) last start, but her previous form was too good to ignore here. She is trained on the track and has won twice here. Sklittle (No6) stepped up to open company last time and failed, but drops back again here and rates highly. The 3kg off Miko's (No1) back will be a critical factor and one of the best value runners will be northerner Snave (No12), who is improved for his first-up run.