Mabeel is a chance in the feature at Tauranga today.Picture / Trish Dunell Mike Dillon
How horses handle today's Tauranga track will decide a difficult day's punting.
One of the better bets may even be Julinsky Prince in the feature despite his horrendous place in the handicap because of the conditions of the race.
He has a record of four wins from five starts in the heavy stuff, which is remarkable compared to his opposition. His small stature is against him in these conditions, but his heart is in the right place.
Overall it is a nightmare race and it might just pay to rely on the topweight's heart.
Difficult to back horses coming back from breaks in these conditions, but Summer's Day (No3, R8) is a live chance in her first start since the beginning of summer. She is a mare on the way through and doesn't mind a bit of rain around. Neither does Sonsy (No5) who is also back from a break. Don't leave either out of multiple bets. Galaxy Miss (No7) loves give in the track.
Charchar (No13, R9) has drawn wide, but that may not be a bad thing late in the day. In fact, it's probably an advantage. She is a bit of a worry getting into the barriers, but once she leaves them she has talent to beat smart sorts. Swiss Warrior (No7) is also drawn out, the doubt being he is probably better on slightly firmer footing than he will face.
The tip in the first might be that Tiffany (No5, R1) has won two of her three wins on slow tracks. This is not a good five-horse field and she rates highly.
On what should be a tough day punting at Tauranga, Dubai Shuffle (No5, R3) might be worth a look. He is fussy about what sort of rain-affected footing he wants to handle, but if he's in the right mood he's more than capable of putting this lot away. Difficult field, Smartly (No6) and Storming The Tower (No4) are dangers.
Red Tsunami (No8, R4) deserves a win and this could be it. She has been placed on slow and heavy tracks and will handle today's conditions better than most. If he lives up to his juvenile form Amon Ra (No1, R5) is going to take some stopping. He has been running okay races on top of the ground and grows another leg with some easing of conditions.
?Looming heavy track conditions for Tauranga today have dented Cambridge trainer Trent Busuttin's confidence with emerging galloper Mabeel.
Busuttin and his partner Natalie Young have Mabeel entered for the group two Windsor Park Stud Japan-New Zealand International Trophy (1600m) and with a good track would have headed to Tauranga with high expectations of a win.
While Busuttin was leaning towards pressing ahead with a start despite wetter conditions than he would have preferred, he said he would leave that decision to owner Deborah Ho.
"Going into the race earlier this week, we were thinking the only thing that could beat him was a wet track," Busuttin said. "We are absolutely thrilled with him and with him down to carry just 52kg, we were pretty confident about his chances. Up until the weather forecast came out, we were thinking we would be going to Tauranga for a win."
While the track conditions have tempered Busuttin's confidence, he knows the quality of racehorse he has on his hands, having supervised his progress from an impetuous lower grade sprinter to a more professional older galloper capable of mixing it at the top levels.
A winner of two of his five starts going into this season, the Savabeel five-year-old racked up wins in two of his next three starts, leading to group three success in the Anniversary Handicap (1600m) at Trentham.
That led to a gallant fourth placing to Kawi, Stolen Dance and Sports Illustrated in the group one Thorndon Mile at Trentham before he was freshened ahead of this month's group three Darley Plate (1200m) at Ellerslie, where he flashed home for a luckless sixth.
"He's always shown us he was a far above-average galloper and run serious sectionals, both in training and on the racetrack. But he's never been easy because everything he does, he just wants to do at 100 miles per hour."
Mabeel closed off the Darley Plate with 800m in 44.58, finishing with 600m in 33.32, 400m in 22.34 and a closing 200m of 11.32. Additional reporting: NZ Racing Desk