It's wonderful having a bet on the wide open spaces of Pukekohe. The track gives every horse a chance and outside of bad luck the best horse on the day generally wins.
Which makes this afternoon's programme particularly exciting with a number of excellent fields providing a wide range of chances.
Get it right today and you will pay for the Christmas presents.
You won't get those off Francaletta (No 7, R5) if she remains unbeaten after the $100,000 NRM Breeders Stakes. She makes as big a step as it's possible to make to race against the best, but she's good -- very good.
She opened at $2.60 on the fixed odds and the way she's won her four races, that's not out of order. She has drawn what looks to be a horror wide barrier, but her tactical speed is enormous and she should be able to position up okay, even if it means leading.
Aotearower (No 9) and No More Tears (No 3) have the class in this type of race and Sewrell (No 11) is a big improver.
You could do worse than start the day with White Diamond (No 6, R1).
Her solid finishing second to Bee Tee Junior at Ellerslie last start was a beaut. She started from an outside gate and was forced over a fair amount of extra ground.
She ran strongly to the line and the 2400m this time will be right to her liking, as will the inside (No 3) barrier.
He's Dan (No 2) has been in fine form, but even with the apprentice allowance will be giving White Diamond 3.5kg. That might tell late in the race.
Marciano (No 2, R2) should be in for a good summer. He won well when resuming at Ruakaka and made ground for a good fourth behind Chenille at Ellerslie last start. He should get the right run from the No 2 gate.
Promise To Reign (No 6) will find this easier than at weight-for-age behind St Emilion on Melbourne Cup Day at Ellerslie. The drop from 56.5kg to 54kg will also be appreciated.
Race three for the 2-year-olds is not easy. Five have shown good raceday form in one start and the other five are on debut. Among the latter is Talaria (No 9) who has won his barrier trials in good style and is from a stable that can get them ready to win first-up.
Star Treasure (No 3) may have been five lengths from winner Gilhoolie on debut at Ellerslie, but he made up an enormous amount of real estate after being tailed off early. If the Lonhro colt jumps with them today he can get a measure of this.
Global Thinking (No 5) did a good job to win at Ruakaka and Summer Passage (No 4) has shown up at the trials.
Plenty of the punters' money went sideways when Mr Luigi (No 8, R4) finished third on resuming at Tauranga, but he is worth sticking with.
If anything that first race will have sharpened him. Skyweka (No 7) has won four of his 10 starts and looks a danger. They were never going to beat Sacred Siren (No 13, R6) when she resumed at Hastings.
That was just her fifth race start so expect her to continue going forward and although this is a fairly hot field she will take beating with just 54kg.
Alamer (No 5) and Our Daisy (No 11) are two good value inclusions into multiple betting. Verdi (No 9) is probably another must have for multiples.
The $100,000 Counties Cup is a puzzle. Newcomers to the top level, Megablast (No 7, R7) and Chocante (No 14) come in at the right weights, 54.4kg and 53kg, but there are no form references against this level of stayers.
They are capable though and can lift major shares of this prize. Get That Jive (No 2) is classy, but has risen to 57.5kg very quickly after just two wins. He has yet to be tried beyond 1600m so faces a tough task here, but is a horse of the future. If he wins this it will be an enormous performance.
Race eight is the best betting event on the card. There are six or seven that are headed for the headlines: Snowdrop (No 9), Fire Jet (No 10) and Snapshot (No 6) are among them and they face a topliner in Perfect Fit in a handicap. where she must carry 60kg. That's a big task for a mare.
Snapshot is unbeaten when fresh and Snowdrop has won two of her four fresh runs.
They look the dangers to in-form Fire Jet (No 10).