Punting: First four tough call in Makfi Challenge

By Mike Dillon

It's doubtful we've seen a better betting race in this particular event than today's $200,000 Makfi Challenge Stakes at Hastings.

There is one catch cry - good luck.

The best each-way bet is probably Fleur de Lune. As good as her record is she remains a little underrated.

This race may change this. Then you have to consider whether a slow track (if it remains that way) will blunt the speed of Mufhasa.

Add in Green Supreme, He's Remarkable, Ocean Park, and Xanadu - not necessarily in that order - plus the track conditions and the waters are very murky.

Get the first four right and it's Hawaii here we come.

Conversely, Green Wings (No2, R1) should be difficult to hold out in the first with Travino (No1) the horse to beat, with underrated filly Kate (No8) a real chance with just 52.5kg on her back. Couple these three up in all multiples.

If speed horses are winning beyond the middle of the programme then Royal Queen (No1, R7) might add to her already impressive Hastings record. It's a good line-up and she will probably need that on-pace bias to assist.

At Tauranga, Golden Downs (No1, R1) comes in fresh. He looked good being placed first-up, then failed, but has had the freshener and that should assist greatly. So should a 2kg allowance.

Boy (No4, R3) was a bit unlucky when narrowly beaten at Te Rapa last start. He got hooked up in trouble in the home straight and had to work hard to try to get to them. The smallish field here is going to suit his style and the 54.5kg will be comfortable.

Great Of Favours (No8, R4) did well to finish third at Taupo when coming back from a long break. She should be improved for that and will be a decent each-way chance.

Ten Belles (No5, R5) is coming into this off minor placings behind John Gray and Te Toro Lass, both of which would be well fancied here. The 2kg apprentice allowance puts her right into this.

Sweet Suitor (No5, R6) will appreciate the drop back from weight-for-age class last start to this opposition. He was only 3.6 lengths from Fleur de Lune at Te Rapa last start and was right alongside horses like Fritzy Boy. These are a fair way down the ladder from that level.

After four seconds in her last five starts, Sandy's Star (No6, R7) just has to eventually take a trick. Viktoria Gatu's 4kg will get her over the line in front soon and it should come today. Horse and rider deserve it.

•A Bob Short provided that star turn at the Ashburton meeting yesterday when he won the race for 3-year-olds by seven lengths.

He led and drew away in the closing stages in the hands of Lisa McGregor.

A Bob Short, who was placed in his two starts as a 2yr-old, is trained at Ikamatua by Peter and Ken O'Malley.

Rewa bridged the gap to open ranks with an impressive win yesterday. It was her fourth win in six starts for Ashburton owner, Gilbert Butterick and trainer Jan Hay.

- Otago Daily Times

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