Waipukurau horsewoman Kirsty Lawrence will be looking for a good effort from Intransigent in the Cornwall Hcp at Ellerslie today. Photo / APN
Punters will have to wait until late in the day at Ellerslie for best option on what looks a tricky card
Smartly, late in the day, might be as good an investment as you'll get at Ellerslie today.
There are a couple of keen betting races and if you get those right it will be a big day, but Smartly (No9, R8) might be the safest you'll come by.
She fought very bravely against a classy Ididit at Rotorua last start, going to the lead a fair way from home. She is very brave and provided the inside barrier draws are not counting against runners late in the day she should be extremely difficult to keep out. Pump Up The Volume (No1) has to give her a bit of weight, but he should be fitter for his first-up run and looks the danger.
Elusive Gold (No1, R1) probably should have won one of his last three consecutive minor placings, which makes him no good thing today, but from an inside draw when the track will be good against the rails early in the programme, he rates highly.
There are a few chances here, but don't dismiss Charlie Farley (No5) from multiple tickets. He had drawn a touch wide, but that was an improver's run at Ruakaka.
Essential (No1, R2) might be a value bet with apprentice Silver Wong taking 4kg off his back. He has previously won when fresh and should be at reasonable odds. Favourite Frank Whitaker (No4) is the danger and don't forget Faraway Eyes (No5) sat three wide when resuming.
The Cornwall is traditionally a famous race, but the field this year reflects the lack of depth in our winter handicappers. In a tricky race to pick, Dark Bishop (No2, R4) has to be considered and Dancing Chief (No8), Little Alfie Brown (No4) and Intransigent (No3) stand out a bit as dangers. Tough race. The last mentioned has a great record on heavy tracks and should be ready to hit top form.
Despite his 59.5kg topweight, Silverdale (No1, R5) can still win the 3-year-old. It won't be easy, but he's a horse with a fair bit of grit and is right at the top of his form. Decorah (No4) has been freshened since her unplaced run in the Oaks and should be improved by her recent run in the mud at Avondale.
Neo (No15, R7) has the weight advantage and that could be extremely important in the second half of today's programme. He will appreciate the 53kg after the 60kg he struggled with at Rotorua last start. The tough brigade of Postmans Daughter (No6), The Hombre (No2) and Alegrio (No1) are right in this race.
At Wanganui, we'll probably see another example of how Mike Breslin has the right polish on his team. Mighty Matt (No2, R3) won well for him last start and looks well placed to make it two straight.
The Castletown, Race 4, is a very tough race. If you do the form there's not a great deal between the top five or six runners. Looking for value will be the key and an each way on the two Avondale-wining fillies Dublin (No9) and Aaja Nachle (No8) could be the best way to go. Luck in running will determine this race.
You can almost certainly dismiss the Rotorua run of Moss Pit (No8, R5). Trainer Graham Richardson said the classy mare was distracted on the day and he expects something better provided the track is not too badly cut up. The Muffin Man (No1), now with the Hillis stable, might run a big race fresh.
Art Beat (No8, R8), Innovation (No9) and I Am Sam (No2) - don't leave any of them out of multiple bets on this race. Each-way on Art Best might be the way to go.
Commett (No2, R9) worked home for second at Manawatu like he was going to be hard to beat next time. He has everything in his favour.