Super six at Ellerslie

A quick guide to the New Year's Day feature races.

Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

R3 Barneswood Farm Eclipse Stakes

Group three 2YO 1200m

Catalonia won the Wentwood Grange Stakes in Waikato last start, and the Jason Bridgman-trained Commands gelding will be one of the favourites to win the first of the features. His big dangers will be Danica Guy's Australian-bred Gobi Ranger, who won his only start a maiden at Ellerslie three weeks ago, while Bonappetit was runner-up that day and is out of the strong Michael Moroney-Chad Ormsby stable.


R5 The Sound Championship Stakes

3YO Group two 2100m

Unbeaten Habibi won the group two Great Northern Guineas last start and could choose to take on the boys in this race or the fillies, in the Royal Stakes, arguably a harder task. Even though she steps up 500m in distance, she has won in all goings from Slow to Good and will take some beating.

Deane Martin won the prelude to this race, which means he has already won at the distance and on this track but likes the track a bit firmer than Dead6, both his wins coming on a Good3 surface. If the sun comes out and the track firms he will be right in the reckoning.

Other chances include King Kamada who was second in the prelude and won a maiden three starts back. Australian-bred The Darling One was third in the Eight Carat Classic on Boxing Day


R6 NZ Bloodstock Royal Stakes

Group two 2000m

If Habibi bypasses the previous race she will run into another classy filly in Fix who beat Soriano and The Darling One in the Eight Carat Classic on Boxing Day.

Fix was third in the 1000 Guineas and is actually rated a point higher than Habibi and this should be a mouthwatering contest.

Soriano and Emerald Queen will keep this pair honest.


R7 Rich Hill Mile

Group two 1600m

Roger James' mare Full of Spirit raced in Melbourne during their spring carnival and was a close-up fifth in her first start back in the country at Te Rapa, in the middle of the month. She should start favourite ahead of Viadana who has won his last two mile starts in open company.

Platinum Princess by all accounts trialled well last week and is primed for this, with six wins and five placings in 18 starts at this distance. Others to consider are Carrick and Diademe.


R8 Sistema Railway Stakes

Group one 1200m

The rising star of sprinting, Mosse, will need two horses to withdraw from the race to get in on a ballot.

Jason Bridgman's classy stallion Burgundy has won his last three starts at 1200m and is second favourite while The Hombre won the Newmarket Handicap on Boxing Day over 1200m and will be well supported.

Antonio Lombardo likes the sting out of the track and is a specialist at this distance.

TAB market: $3.80 Mosse, $4.50 Burgundy, $8 Durham Town, $12 Antonio Lombardo, $14 Demophon, Fleur de Lune; $18 Fazzle, Sitara, $21 Civic Rocks, Double Barrel, Ginner Hart.


Lindauer City of Auckland Cup

Group two 2400m

Annie Higgins won the Waikato Gold Cup on a good track and is well weighted to do it again here. The daughter of champion sire O'Reilly has won five of her 19 starts from 1100m to 2400m and twice since resuming on September 29.

Arcenciel has been racing well with a second in the Counties Cup two starts back and a third in the Waikato Cup. She can handle all tracks and ran into similar good form at this time last year.

Chapparone won this time last year and has been in good form since resuming this spell with a win first up. By High Chapparal, she will get the distance.

C'est Magnifique, Polyantha and Shootout are also sure to be well supported in an open race.

TAB market: $5 Polyantha, $7 Annie Higgins, $8 Shootoff, $10 Chaparrone, Savvy Dancer, C'est Magnifique; $12 Arcenciel, Dolmabache; $16 Savanah Rush, $18 Inanoff, $21 Better Together, El Soldato; $26 Boninsky, Fiorano, Storming The Tower, Templeton.

- Herald on Sunday

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