Racing: Prince facing weighty issue

By Mike Dillon

Conditions set up $100,000 race at Tauranga to be an apprentice special with topweight giving away 7.5kg
Julinsky Prince will carry the topweight of 59.5kg while the remaining 10 runners are all on 52kg. Picture / Race Images
Julinsky Prince will carry the topweight of 59.5kg while the remaining 10 runners are all on 52kg. Picture / Race Images

However well-meaning the special handicapping conditions of Saturday's $100,000 Windsor Park Japan International at Tauranga, it has left a weighting nightmare.

In a strange set of circumstances, well-performed Julinsky Prince will carry topweight of 59.5kg and the remaining 10 runners all on 52kg.

The first problem encountered is finding 10 jockeys who can ride comfortably at 52kg - they are not on every street corner.

The conditions set the race up to be almost an apprentice special.

At the time of writing yesterday, the riders declared on NZTR website were apprentice Anna Jones for Matimba, Sam Spratt for Mabeel, apprentice Brendan Hutton on Watch This Space and Alysha Collett on Francis Drake.

That left six on 52 without declared riders and on the website, of those indicating they were riding at Tauranga, only Mark Du Plessis, Cameron Lammas and Sam Collett could make it as low as 52kg.

This problem must have been obvious when nominations were taken. Why could all weights not be raised by 2kg allowing most riders a chance to ride in a $100,000 race?

The other issue is that with Julinsky Prince on only 59.5kg, the remainder of the field is severely compressed.

The lowest rating horse, Enough, at 71 rating points, has to go around with the same 52kg as the 95-rated Soubrettes - that is hardly fair.

As complicated as the handicap is, it makes for an interesting equation - can Julinsky Prince give away 7.5kg to every other runner?

Adding to that equation is that Julinsky Prince is small in stature, even if he takes a long stride for that type of thoroughbred.

He beat Kawi by a nose in this race last year, relative weights, 58kg and 56kg for Kawi. There is nothing of Kawi's class underneath Julinsky Prince, but the 52kg brings a few of the opposition closer.

The turn of the track to rain-affected will suit Julinsky Prince ideally.

Iwannadancelikehim is one of the worst treated in the handicap under these conditions, but he has handled an "off" track and could be a danger to the topweight.

It's difficult to know how some of these will handle to conditions if the further rain predicted, in fact, arrives.

Watch This Space has been in won-derful form including an all-the-way victory at Te Rapa last weekend. If the Tauranga track is loose he might be able to scamper around.

The difficult circumstances aside, this is a great contest.

Tauranga tips
Hurdler, but don't be put off: Boy, R10 Tauranga. Talented despite his age and the type that can go well fresh.
Should have won one by now: Red Tsunami, R4 Tauranga. Capable of winning one soon. This could be it.
Track a question, but: Dubai Shuffle, R3 Tauranga. Can handle some rain-affected track. Capable of winning this if he copes only fairly.

- NZ Herald

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