Racing: Rain big factor in Guineas

By Mike Dillon

Rangipo was all class at Ellerslie on New Year's day.Picture / Steven McNicholl
Rangipo was all class at Ellerslie on New Year's day.Picture / Steven McNicholl

We've been waiting for tomorrow's $100,000 Darci Brahma Waikato Guineas at Te Rapa to bring next month's New Zealand Derby into focus.

It will still be a guide, but that guide might be slightly skewed by the weather about to hit Auckland and Waikato.

Rain for the second half of today and tomorrow will not suit all the Waikato Guineas leading candidates and some forgiveness needs to be mixed in the review of tomorrow's race.

A couple that should manage just fine tomorrow are Rangipo and Get That Jive, first and second on a slow track at Ellerslie on January 1.

Rangipo could not have been more stylish winning that race. The moderate pace that day made it important to be forward in running and Rangipo sat outside the speed and put a home-straight break on the opposition with Get That Jive just as easily beating the rest.

The 2000m Te Rapa barrier, with its relatively short run to the bend out of the home straight, can be awkward for horses drawn wide in large fields and Rangipo and stablemate Raghu have drawn No 14 and No 16 respectively.

"We are going to be as positive as we can from those barriers and Raghu, for example, will definitely be going forward," said trainer Tony Pike. "I need to review the speed map before deciding what Rangipo will do from his barrier, but he is best when he goes forward as well."

Tavago has yet to run on a slow or heavy track in his four raceday starts, but co-trainer Trent Busuttin is not concerned.

"He ran on a very heavy track at the Cambridge trials during the winter and had no problem with it at all. I find that if they can manage Cambridge's winter tracks they can handle anything."

Tavago looks a dedicated stayer, which makes his form to 1600m so far very stylish. He was unlucky when narrowly beaten into third behind Raghu on Karaka Million night and his first step to 2000m will suit ideally. After having to shift ground at the 220m last start he flew home under Blake Shinn and would have won in two more strides.

"I'm very happy with him and it's an even field in an even Derby year," says Busuttin. "I'd say this race will decide the Derby favourite."

The vulnerable horse if the track becomes an issue could be Scrutinize. He seemed to struggle two starts back when ninth behind Rangipo on a slow track at Ellerslie, although he has won all three of his runs on dead surfaces.

There is ample emerging talent in the field and this race will definitely be the highlight of the day.

Te Rapa tips
Even field: Brakbar, R3 Te Rapa. Excellent record in the wet so watch if the rain comes.
No room last start: Vinevale, R7 Te Rapa: Drawn to get the run of the race and getting better with racing.
Each way: Victoryshallbemine, R4 Te Rapa. Not always easy to follow, but won well here two starts back and rates highly with 53kg.

- NZ Herald

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