The $50,000 Westbury Stud Challenge may be the most competitive race on the day, but Sacred Falls could be the best prospect on the card at Ruakaka today.
The unbeaten colt looks a 3-year-old of enormous potential.
He overcame difficulties to win on debut on this track and his second victory was a mere training effort.
Possibly the biggest danger he faces today - even apart from some very talented opposition - is the No1 barrier draw for a horse who has little early tactical speed.
The second half of Sacred Falls' races are the most impressive part and that's where you need to look for him this afternoon.
Southern Lord, another Ruakaka winner, will be on the speed and he is a big danger. He is almost certainly underrated at this point.
Buckland Boy, Silver City, Travino and Silverdale are chances in a hugely competitive race.
The Nemisis (No1, R2) is a 6-year-old maiden, but has had only a handful of starts.
He has looked likely in his last couple and will not get many better opportunities to break through than this.
The horses that have been showing form on wet tracks lately may be inconvenienced if the rain does not come before the early part of the programme. If that's the case, Ace High (No3, R3) could be an upset chance. Pretty much all his form has been on decent tracks and he is worth a look here, but keep a watch on the weather.
Another value bet is Miss Marbella (No6, R4). Similarly her main form has been on the firmer surfaces and two back she was a close third at Ruakaka. King Dan (No3) should be ready to do more than in his first start back after a break.
Don't Touch It (No1, R5) showed real class with a second to Scarlett Lady at Ellerslie back in March. Under 57kg, he was just beaten over 1400m in a lightning 1.21.95. He resumes from a winter spell here and although there could be a slight question over his total fitness, his class will carry him a long way.
Antonio Lombardo (No7, R7) is a class act and showed he was ready to resume racing after a break when he won at the recent Avondale trials. He has drawn nicely and should be on the speed throughout. He is two from two at Ruakaka. Stablemate Undisclosed (No2) is not without a chance, and watch for a cheeky run from Capone (No3).
Plenty of scope in the final race and Storm In (No7, R9) and Shanspur (No12) should, as course winners, be on every multiple ticket. Jungle Knight (No10) fits into the same category.
Northern mares Art Beat (No3, R9) and Jeu de Cartes (No9) are big dangers in the $70,000 Merial Ancare Metric Mile at Awapuni. This will be a competitive betting race and the two mares should be well covered in the quinella, trifecta and first4 options.
Jockeys don't always make the wisest decisions when given a choice of horses to ride in a race.
However, Darley trainer Peter Snowden believes Kerrin McEvoy has got it right by opting to partner Albrecht over stablemate Epaulette in the A$1 million Golden Rose at Rosehill today.
"He's my pick of the two," Snowden said of Albrecht. "He's really been aimed at this race. It's just unfortunate he's drawn a bad gate.
"Luck in running will play a big part for him."
Both Snowden-trained colts were out of luck at Tuesday's barrier draw, with Albrecht drawing widest in the field of 10 while Epaulette fared marginally better with eight.
It is the second consecutive race in which Albrecht has come up with the biggest marble but he was able to overcome it last start to score a resounding win in the group three Up And Coming Stakes (1300m).
That was the same race Manawanui won 12 months ago en route to landing the Golden Rose (1400m).
Epaulette may be the stable's second string but it's not because of a lack of ability. A three-quarter brother to last year's Golden Rose placegetter Helmet, hopes are high he can follow in the footsteps of his older sibling who went on to claim the Caulfield Guineas.
Punters have also zeroed in on Albrecht as Darley's better chance and on Thursday he shared the third line of TAB fixed odds markets at $9, with Epaulette at $13.
Boom filly Nechita is the $2.20 favourite after her brilliant return victory in the Silver Shadow Stakes.
-AAPBy Mike Dillon Email Mike