No surprise Dean and Donna Logan hold the high ground again at Ruakaka today even if a repeat of the six winners of two weeks ago looks to be a stretch. But they will dominate.
No reason at all King Zeus cannot make the step up to open company in the feature, the $25,000 Northern Districts Security Handicap, even if the bigger money at the TAB appeared to be angled more towards stablemate Candle In The Wind.
Both won at that meeting two weeks back, Candle in the Wind having to step up two grades to open company here and King Zeus just one. Candle In The Wind carried only 56.5kg in R75 and King Zeus 58kg in R85 and here they have essentially the same weight, which leans it in King Zeus's favour.
If successful he will take his Ruakaka record to seven wins from nine starts.
If in-form Spin Doctor lumps his 59.5kg and beats this field then good luck to him, he will have earned it, but it is a real ask.
The value could be Noble Warrior, who drops 3.5kg from his useful fifth here last start.
On his close second here a fortnight back Uncle Sugar (No5, R1) deserves another win. Whistling Straits (No3) looked good when a slightly luckless seventh in an open handicap at Ellerslie last start and could start the Logan stable off the right way.
The outside barrier of the nine runners is not ideal for Britt Ekland (No9, R2), but if Danielle Johnson can weave just a little magic early the opposition will be pressed to keep the progressive filly out. She has been strong at the end of her two recent Ellerslie wins and that racing style is what will be needed in the closing stages here. Speech Craft (No7) was unlucky enough to run into course specialist King Zeus last start and finished a gallant second. Without him to contend with this time he should be right in it again. Airfield Road (No10) could be some value.
Barrier draws should play a major role in the 2-year-old event. The two winners Copy Watch (No1, R3) and Southern Icon (No2) have barriers 16 and 13, difficult assignments for juveniles over 1000m at Ruakaka. Debut runners Shanzou (No3) and Twya (No5) have looked good at the trials and importantly both have drawn good barriers. Include both in all multiple bets. Tricky race.
The Show (No2, R4) is going to win a race soon and it's probably going to be today. He has been run down by smart types in Sacred Wins at Ellerslie and Empathy at Te Rapa in his last two and has a fair barrier for Opie Bosson to launch him from today. The wide barrier is horrible, but if Thornbird Lass (No13) gets any luck at all she will be right in this finish. She clipped a heel when beaten out of the money here two weeks ago and did well to finish only three lengths from the winner. She's been unlucky not to win a race.
Logan stable followers got plenty when To Be Sure (No5, R6) won here last start and they backed up on the TAB yesterday. He goes up a grade for this, but drops 1.5kg and this looks a very winnable race for him. Elysium (No11) and Clubs Choice (No8) look the dangers.
You had to admire the way Rocknrolla (No7, R7) stuck to her task when she won her last start for the Logans after sitting three wide for the second half of the race. She is progressive and can step up in class here. Sophie's Gem (No8) has previously raced well when fresh and has drawn a nice gate for the 1200m. Ryan Mark (No4) is another coming back from a break and comes from a stable that knows how to get them ready first up.
Sky Idea (No1, R8) would not need to improve much on his Te Rapa third last start to go close in the last. To his advantage he is already a winner on this track. Royal Sceptre (No3) and Moretti (No8) could be dangerous.
There has been a suggestion the Hastings track may not be wet enough for Wotabuzz (No11, R6) in the Hawkes Bay Steeplechase, but this column does not think that will be a factor. The inside track when he won at Trentham last start was better than what he will strike today and the 4800m will be plenty testing enough.
In the Hawkes Bay Hurdles, Real Treasure (No7, R3) looks a coming star, but in winning his last two he hasn't struck the company he will meet today. Waitoki Ahi (No1) and Just Got Home (No6) should offer plenty of opposition this time.