Yesterday Hayden Tinsley had the greatest slice of luck he'll have all season - he landed the ride on the favourite Survived in today's $250,000 The Turks Spring Classic.
Engaged rider Opie Bosson called in sick yesterday morning with the tail-bone injury he gave himself slipping on the steps at home early in the week.
In minutes Tinsley went from having no ride in the group one race to sitting on the $2.90 favourite.
If there is anyone in horse racing less demonstrative than Bosson, it's Tinsley.
"I found out only five minutes ago," he said when contacted by the Weekend Herald. "I'm always happy to be on the favourite in a group one race."
Tinsley has not won the race, previously known as the Kelt Capital.
He says he gets more excited than he gives the impression of being.
He'll have to remain the one person who knows that.
But like Bosson, that seeming lack of emotion leaves Tinsley cool under fire. When it comes to mid-race decisions he won't be fazed by the occasion or that he's on the hot favourite.
In terms of potential, trainer Jason Bridgman draws no line between his two DHL $85,000 Hawkes Bay Guineas runners All Decked Out and Wolfwhistle. That said, he fancies All Decked Out to beat his stablemate home at Hastings today.
"I think there's very little between them, but I lean to All Decked Out because he's coming off a Listed Stakes race and Wolfwhistle won a maiden race at Taupo.
"Make no mistake, Wolfwhistle is a serious racehorse, but I think the other bloke has the experience in better company on his side going into this race."
All Decked Out has had only two starts, bolting home at Ruakaka on debut then freaking a little after being knocked over coming out of the starting gates there in a better field at his only other run. He came from clear last to finish third to El Roca, who is now one of the favourites for the A$1 million Caulfield Guineas.
He will have learned an awful lot from that experience.
From the No 2 gate, Gobi Ranger is drawn to get the cosy run here.
Trainer Danica Guy felt he was below full fitness when resuming in that El Roca Ruakaka race and his second there suggests he will find something here. He has been the TAB favourite over All Decked Out since the markets opened.
The difference is, Gobi Ranger had the beautiful trail in that lead-up race and All Decked out had to come from clear last. Less than one length separated them at the finish.
Touche is one who could surprise. The very heavy track on the first day of the carnival did not suit and he's better placed here. Sir Andrew is another not to be ignored for multiple bets.
In the feature, the $250,000 The Turks Spring Classic, favourite Survived eased yesterday with the TAB from $2.90 to $3.20. We think that's enormous odds. If he's on peak form - and we believe he is - he will win barring bad luck. He's simply better than these.
You can completely forget his failing to fill a place in the Windsor Park on the middle day after stylishly winning on opening day.
Much has been made of his "failure" in the Windsor Park. In fact, it was a big run. If you have vision of that race, play it again and watch the four to five lengths he loses around the home turn as Opie Bosson takes him to the centre of the track to find better footing after Survived had slipped badly.
Survived actually takes significant ground off third-placed Nashville in the final 250m without Bosson getting too serious.
The footing will be perfect for Survived today, the 2040m gets more into his comfort zone and his staying powers should be far too much for this field.
We believe he would need to be off his game to be beaten.
Harvest (No3, R1) finished powerfully to win on the middle day of the Hastings carnival and appeals in a special conditions race. She has drawn to get the run of the race and the 1400m will suit perfectly. Von Krumm (No8) is the horse she ran down to win and he looks the horse to beat again.
Silverdale (No12, R3) is a horse you do not want to forget simply because he failed first up from a spell. The 57.5kg and the very testing conditions combined to make it just too tough for him at Pukekohe, but in suitable conditions today his class will come further through. He rated fairly high last season as a 3-year-old. Tricky race, but Open 'N' Shut (No1) could run a big race fresh.
Traveller (No1, R4) has gone up 2kg for his win here two weeks ago, but he would have won that day with a further 2kg on his back. He is a progressive Zabeel stayer and from the rails draw Mark Du Plessis should give him the run of the race.
That was a massive run King Kamada (No15, R5) produced to win when resuming two weeks ago. There is always a little nervousness when they work that hard when fresh. Also, he won that day because there was huge pace on that allowed him to flash home from the back - he will need the same conditions here. C'est Magnifique (No2) goes well when fresh and Breaking Dawn (No9) is underrated.
Plenty of money to say Titch (No2, R7) can return to winning form and why not. He's better than these and his two starts this preparation will have him dead ready for this. Sou'east (No8) is the improver.
Titch's stablemate Scapolo (No9, R8) is going to take beating after showing his form in better class in Australia and he looks a horse who will keep producing the goods. Brave Centaur (No3) will do a lot better than his eighth placing at Ruakaka when resuming.
The 60.5kg looks formidable for Ringo (No1, R10), but his class will come into play. Provided Leith Innes can find him the right passage he should go close. Zinko (No3) is a possible improver. In Australia, Orion in Race 2 in Melbourne looks a good prospect. He has been waiting to climb up to a reasonable distance and the step from 1500m to 1800m in the ICI Stakes is perfect. His second to Divine Calling at Moonee Valley was a beaut and Michael Rodd has retained the mount.
Sangster and Silent Achiever get around in the A$502,000 Turnbull Stakes.
It might be a stretch to see Silent Achiever win in her lead-up to her first main mission, the Caulfield Cup, but Roger James is confident the New Zealand mare will be in the mix.
Her two runs in Melbourne have been huge and she is better suited here.
"If he can finish within a few lengths of them we'll be right on track for the Caulfield Cup," said trainer Trent Busuttin of Sangster.
Zurella goes around fresh in the A$220,000 Blazer Stakes and that's a state she enjoys. The wide draw at 1400m at Flemington is not ideal, but she has class. There will be a big watch on her.
Allez Eagle went from an $18 chance to $5 favourite for the 2000 Guineas at Riccarton with his debut Te Rapa victory yesterday.
The Guillotine 3-year-old impressed scoring in a strong 3-year-old race under Leith Innes.
"We've always had an opinion of him," said co-trainer Tony Pike.
Allez Eagle went ahead early in the home straight and scored from pacemaker A'Larose with the unlucky favourite Cosmic Cube a close-up third.
The unusually strong midweek meeting produced a wealth of on-going form.
Zonza looked a good prospect for an Australian campaign when she came with a strong finish to beat a good field to give Innes one of his four winning rides.
Role Model looked good coming back from a disappointment at Ellerslie last Saturday and Atacama, ridden beautifully by apprentice Ming Cheung, put her name in the frame for top class races when she ran away from a good field.
The Darling One, giving rider Michael McNab a winning double, looked good coming back from a spell. The overall form needs absorbing solidly.