Ellerslie's Diamond Stakes holds the key to Saturday's $225,000 Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes at Awapuni.
Without knowing how much rain will arrive overnight, you have to believe the Ellerslie 1-2 result of Heroic Valour and Windspelle will feature heavily.
Both find the line strongly and their first attempt at 1400m should be very relevant. It also won't do Heroic Valour's stablemate Sassy 'N' Smart any harm, provided she can leave the barriers on one of her good days rather than the tardy beginning she made in the Diamond last time.
All three are class acts.
The Ellerslie conditions are also subject to the overnight rain, which hadn't materialised to any great depth at Friday night's deadline. It will be critical to most of the results this afternoon.
Aramelle (No10, R1) will be tough to beat in the opener. He was unlucky when resuming and should get a decent run from a nice barrier.
He has the breeding to go a fair way quickly. Hardcase (No3) hasn't done a lot wrong in three starts. Bit of emerging talent in Race 2, the juvenile. Quantum (No2) is one of only two in the field that has already forced his way into the winners' circle with a nice tough win at Matamata. Cavallucci (No1) is the other winner and will be improved for his Ellerslie run last start. Astara (No6) is another danger.
Sound Proposition (No2, R5) looks the logical winner. He ran into a good one in Postboy here last start, but faces an easier task this time. He has the speed to get handy and can finish off. Prince Of Passion (No3) has found a rare patch of form. He jumps up a grade for this, but the fields he has beaten in his last two starts have been strong.
De Niro (No2, R6) is relatively inexperienced, but he has displayed ability and looked good finishing a close second to Stradivarius at the Matamata trials last week.
Race 7, the open sprint, will be a great betting race, but there is no standout and if you get the trifecta or first4 right Christmas will come early. Conditions will matter. On decent footing Fully Funded (No4) is capable of ending his current campaign on a second straight win, but if it's wet he might struggle, although he's going to appreciate coming down from 60kg to 57kg. In Flight (No8) was in great form in the early stages of his last preparation, winning them in a row, all, interestingly, at Ruakaka. But talent is talent and his only failure at Ellerslie was on a bog track. It won't be that bad here. In the wet Fascination Street (No9) could surprise with a big fresh-up run and Spoke To Carlo (No3) has won fresh.
Temple Tiger (No2, R8) fits most of the stats for the day. This is a confusing race with the likes of Snow Secret (No7), Palace Rock (No10) and Waipipi Lad (No9) all capable of putting their name in the frame.
Palace Rock was massive in winning here last start, but any rain may make it tougher for her.
Our best chance in Sydney on Saturday would appear to be in the Australian Derby in which What's The Story and Tavago are both strong chances. Randwick should suit both horses.
Clear up cobalt confusion
Isn't it time to clear up the cobalt confusion by declaring the cobalt level of every winner tested.
They could be published a week after the race, or when they were ready.
The mystery needs to be put to bed.
Publishing the levels weekly was suggested some time back, but officialdom said it wasn't possible because the O'Sullivan/Scott case was still in limbo, although it's difficult to see how relevant that was given the cobalt level of each of those horses had already been made public.
As one prominent trainer said: "If my horses were getting a relatively new product with additives and it pushed the levels of any element dangerously close to the threshold, I would definitely want to know wouldn't I. Who wouldn't."
• So, Larry Cassidy believes Winx is better than Sunline.
Isn't it a shame that such comparisons are made because the result is the horse placed on the lower pedestal is immediately denigrated.
No horse that wins at group one level deserves denigration and Sunline heads that list.
Larry Cassidy won a couple on Sunline early, but once Greg Childs linked up he never got off the mare's back.
Cassidy rode Winx once for a relatively minor win on Caloundra Cup day in Queensland.
Winx is a freak, no doubt about it, but so was Sunline.
Stakemoney is not always the literal measure of greatness, but for the record Winx has won A$5 million with more than that again to reach Sunline's bank account.