Consecutive races will throw up real class at Te Rapa this afternoon.
Race 5 sees one of our most talented emerging horses in Hiflyer (No 7) resume from a spell and 35 minutes later another of that ilk in Enough (No 3, R6) similarly resumes with one of the world's greats, Frenchman Gerald Mosse on his back.
Both races are worth attention. Hiflyer has not raced since May, but was given a barrier trial on October 27 in which he beat Derby victor Rangipo. He has the outside gate of the 12 acceptors, but the 1400m barrier at Te Rapa is not so fierce on wide gates as the 1200m and there will be a bit of time to hopefully work into a decent spot. He is in for a big season.
So is Enough, who has put together two wins a second and a third from just four raceday appearances. His last start was in March, but he has been working well at Cambridge. Mosse and Enough should be a good match.
Te Rapa opens with a juvenile event, which is a mixture of youngsters
that have had one start and debut runners. One of those, Astor (No 6, R1) was stylish in winning two barrier trials, particularly the more recent at Te Aroha. A similar effort would take her close.
Midnight Runner (No 3) won his trial the same day and looks promising. Lady Rossa (No 7) is another with a real chance on debut.
Shock Horror (No 1, R2) has finished powerfully in two starts so far over 1300m and 1400m. He is by Shocking and will improve as the distances increase and looks perfectly placed at 1600m today. Miss Catherine (No 6) has a nice barrier and has promising form behind her.
Clarify (No 9, R4) got no favours from the barrier draw last start and still finished third when resuming. He comes out of a much more favourable gate this time and in an even field should be competitive.
The open sprint, is complex. Ryan Mark (No 1, R7) is all class, but the 60kg looks daunting, yet it is difficult to rule him out. Mosse (No 8), to be ridden by the man whose name he carries, has a good record when fresh from a break and although he will improve greatly with this run - his first in 11 months - he has great class.
Then, there is last week's winner Close Up (No 6), fresh runner Fully Fledged (No 5) and another classy act in Natuzzi (No 2).
Marain (No 9, R8) was heavily backed on debut and did not let the team down. The win was so decisive he could repeat it against tougher opposition.
Preetha Varma (No 8) disappointed even though she did not get the best run when the Ellerslie rail was out 9m last start. She is talented and worth another chance here.
Class comes out in group one races and Mongolian Falcon (No 3, R7) at Riccarton has plenty of it. His close second at Te Rapa last start was as good as a win.
He will almost certainly go forward from his handy barrier this time and will take the race to the opposition. As usual there is plenty of talent on offer here, but bad luck looks to be Mongolian Falcon's main danger.
Stablemate Wyndspelle (No 5) will love the big wide open spaces of Riccarton. He can get home strongly in his races and with the almost certainty of pace in this race, he will be well suited. Ugo Foscolo (No 2) will be somewhere in the placings.
The best bet on the impressive card at Flemington for the wind-up of the Melbourne Cup Carnival looks to be Tom Melbourne (No 3, R3). He did a great job to lead, go clear and have the Lexus won everywhere but the last two strides last Saturday. Unless that has taken too much out of him, this is his race to lose.