Racing: Conditions to suit Humidor

By Mike Dillon

It may be his first race against the best but trainer is confident of a top effort in the Livamol Classic tomorrow.
Humidor will be chasing his third win at Hastings from as many stars in the Livamol Classic.
Humidor will be chasing his third win at Hastings from as many stars in the Livamol Classic.

Humidor sits there as the thorn between two roses in tomorrow's $250,000 Livamol Classic at Hastings.

Co-trainer Johno Benner is quietly confident with every aspect of his $4.40 favourite, where the connections of the next two fancied, classy mares Rasa Lila and Mime have cause to be cautious.

Rasa Lila may be questionable if the Hastings track stays at a slow (9) rating and Mime has drawn the outside barrier of the 18 acceptors.

Benner is entitled to his quiet confidence. Humidor has had one start each on slow and heavy and won them both and is unbeaten in two previous starts at Hastings. And he has easily won his past two.

"He's drawn the middle of the field and he won't mind whatever the track conditions are," says Benner.

Humidor's only negative - if it can be called that - is he is rising to weight-for-age grade. The class of opposition, although up a bit, is not really an issue, but the rise from 53kg two weeks ago to 57.5kg here is.

Difficult to make a case against him though.

Rasa Lila came right into Livamol favour when she came from near last to push Kawi to a close third in the Windsor Park Plate here two weeks ago.

Co-trainer Steven Ramsay is unsure whether to be worried by the conditions. "The only time she has been asked on a track she is likely to race on this time was when she flashed home in the Rich Hill at Ellerslie at the start of the year.

"She ran the fastest last 600m in the Windsor Park and I'm fairly sure she ran the best 600 in the Rich Hill.

"She can run very good late sectionals off a decent pace and I'd be surprised if there isn't a bit of pace on in this race."

How the Hastings track races will be interesting and will certainly have an impact on the Livamol, so attention needs to be paid to the earlier races. The inside lanes on the first of the three-day carnival were new ground and raced as the fast lanes.

Things were more even on the middle day and with the rail out 2.5m this time and a wetter track, only the first half of the programme will determine for certain where the best place across the track will be to lodge a late challenge. "We've drawn No 4, so we'll probably be committed to an inside run for at least some of the race," said Ramsay.

Perhaps typically, co-trainer Murray Baker is reasonably relaxed about Mime's outside barrier. "Someone has to draw the wide gates, so we'll have to work with it."

From a much better draw in the Windsor Park Plate, Mime enjoyed the perfect run behind the leaders, taking over in the home straight and fighting hard to the line to be just beaten by Kawi.

"She probably got to the front a touch too soon when the leaders collapsed on the home bend," said Murray Baker. "She will have to go back from that barrier, but she can come from the second half of the field and the rain-affected footing will be no problem for her."

The Baker/Forsman stable also has the very under-rated Saint Emilion engaged and he rates at least some attention from an inside gate if his odds remain around the $20.

St Emilion successfully lumped 60kg in the final start of his last campaign at Ellerslie in April and prevailed with the same big weight when resuming at New Plymouth recently.

"He's a very tough horse and he doesn't give in easily."

Authentic Paddy has been all around the placegetters on the first two days at Hastings and the wetter track will very much suit Julinsky Prince, who resumed with a useful sixth in the Windsor Park.

Against him is that is three starts beyond 1600m he has failed to feature.

The stable is very happy with Hasselhoof, who may not be quite as happy with the track rating. Still, in ability he rates higher than most of these and can easily win.The Battle of the Unbeaten almost trumps the Livamol Stakes as the attention-grabber at Hastings.

Heroic Valour, four from four, and Ugo Foscolo, unbeaten in three, go head to head in the $100,000 Sacred Falls Hawkes Bay Guineas.

And to add another dimension, track conditions may well have the final say.

If the race goes to plan most expect Ugo Foscolo will lead the 3-year-olds around the home bend and Heroic Valour, two or three lengths away, will attempt to run him down.

The result of that will depend on how the inside lane against the rail is racing after a previous five races. If it's suiting the inside horses the finish should be a beaut.

Stephen Marsh is happy the speed-orientated Ugo Foscolo will be at his best with a five-week gap after winning fresh from a spell on this track on the first day of the carnival.

"He is still developing and he still doesn't carry a lot of spare conditions. He's done well though and we're happy with him.

"If he's as good as we think he is, he will be hard to run down."

Heroic Valour only narrowly beat last week's winner The Soultaker at Ruakaka when resuming, but there was a lot to like about the victory.

He knuckled down like the outstanding horse most know him to be.

It's just as well Central Districts jockey Jonathan Riddell can sleep on an aircraft.

Riddell rides Awapuni 3-year-old Manhattan Street in tonight's A$200,000 Stutt Stakes at Moonee Valley at 11.30pm (NZT) and has to be back to ride Torque The Torque at 1.08pm at Hastings tomorrow.

Manhattan Street has been beaten only once in four starts and that was by the hugely talented Highlad, who will run at Flemington on Sunday.

Weekend winners

• Keep improving: Tessastock, R1, Te Rapa: Lightly tried young mare who scored nicely when resuming. That won't be the last.

• Classy: Mystery Show, R4, Te Rapa. Meets a good lot here, but has shown she is not far removed from the best fillies. Will look the winner at some point of the home straight.

• Support here and follow: Van Tunzelman, R5, Te Rapa. Patiently handled 4-year-old Zabeel and that will pay dividends. This could be one of them.

- NZ Herald

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