Mike Dillon: Several chances but no certainties at Ellerslie

By Mike Dillon

Punting Atom Cat has had three runs since a spell and although yet to place, each has been a good effort. Photo / Glenn Taylor
Punting Atom Cat has had three runs since a spell and although yet to place, each has been a good effort. Photo / Glenn Taylor

Civic Rocks is not the worst way to start the day. Matthew Cropp will bring his weight down to 57.5kg.

When Tiger Woods was dominating world golf, betting on the majors used to be a breeze.

You might have to take unders, but it was like put in, take out.

But when Woods, um, tapped the mat, it became so tricky golf tournaments are now almost a sucker bet.

The fields at Ellerslie today resemble those more recent golf affairs - take a punt and close your eyes.

Get it right at Ellerslie today and your next three Christmases will arrive early.

Even though there is no sign of a good thing, there are three or four good bets at around $6 to $8.

One of them is Atom Cat (No 3, R8), although he is definitely going to be at the low end of that range and possibly even at $5. He has had three runs since a spell and although yet to place, each has been a good effort. He was caught three wide at Manawatu last start and under 59kg that is close to impossible. With Phillip Turner's 2kg apprentice allowance Atom Cat this time has 56.5kg and an inside barrier draw. Worthing (No 2) is close to another win. He has been fighting on strongly and has very good course and distance stats to back up his claims.

Civic Rocks (No 1, R1) is not the worst way to start the day. Matthew Cropp will bring his weight down to 57.5kg, much more manageable than the 60.5kg. He should get a good rails run from his inside barrier and challenge at the right time.

Golden Globe (No 2) won't have the likes of Burgundy and company to worry about as he did when resuming last start at Te Rapa. He is down to carry his full 59.5kg with Sam Collett aboard as usual, but he will go a much improved race.

Plenty of chances in Race 2. Toma Valea (No 4) is the type to produce a good sprint fresh from a break. He is pretty useful when allowed his own rules in front and his No 2 barrier will be a big assist.

Don't be surprised if Cool Storm (No 6) figures. She is not an everyday horse, but is more than capable at this level and comes in fresh, a state she favours.

The chances of Sum Up (No 3, R4) in the Cornwall Handicap will indeed be summed up inside the first 200m. If he can get in close to the rail from his outside barrier and not cover extra ground on the tricky bend out of the home straight, he is a strong winning chance. That was a top class second in the Rotorua Cup. The 54.5kg is a nice handy weight.

Fromelles (No 2) deserves to be favourite and Intransigent (No 5) is a strong chance and would be even stronger if showers arrived today.

Plenty of betting scope in Race 5 despite the smallish field. Consider Grand Admiral (No 4) each way. He was back and wide in his last start here at Ellerslie and did well to finish strongly within two lengths of the winner. He is unlikely to get as far back this time, but even if does, the smaller field will assist his finishing effort.

Mackadoo (No 3, R6) deserves to be at shortish odds. Murray Baker has had his troubles with this bloke, but there is no doubting the ability when things fit into place. They did last start and Mackadoo raced away by nearly four lengths. This is a fair bit tougher field, but he's up to it.

The last is a good betting race. If the showers arrive include Llancaden (No 8) in your multiple bets. Llancaden has been waiting for a wet track and may have to wait a little longer if there are no decent showers. If they are leading and winning earlier on the programme, Smartly (No 11) will be tough to pull back again.

- NZ Herald

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