On a day when remarkable mare Winx will take 98 per cent of the centre stage, there is more than six hours of domestic racing to absorb.
Group racing at that.
The Start Wondering-Kawi $200,000 Haunui Farm clash at Otaki will be pure theatre and the perfect undercard two hours before we get to see our next glimpse of Winx.
We will see more of the champion mare than the opposition and as we said two weeks back - thank goodness for Hartnell. He is a group one horse in anyone's terms and Winx leaves him breathless every time they meet.
In today's A$600,000 Chipping Norton Stakes Winx will beat him by as much as he beats the rest. Misfortune is her only opponent.
We want to see a Kawi-Start Wondering dead-heat, but gun to the head, Kawi by the width of your cellphone.
A great race card at Matamata for Breeders Stakes day. Aotearower (No6, R2) is a good early prospect. She had little home-straight luck at Te Rapa last start, her home turn momentum being checked at the critical stage. This is a tidy little field, but she should go close on her home track.
Winning at your second start following a debut victory is extremely difficult, but Love Affair (No8, R3) might just be up to it. She sparkled when she came from last to win first up at Te Aroha. This is much tougher, but she will give it a good shake. Princess Kereru (No7) went a beaut last start and Everbrave (No3) also looked good on debut.
The colts and geldings 2-year-old is as interesting as the Breeders Stakes. Aim Smart (No1, R4) was huge in winning over the highly regarded Summer Passage (No4) on debut at Pukekohe. At level weights it will take a good effort to beat him again. The Summer Passage camp is confident their horse will finish closer this time. The enigma is first starter I Got You (No7), who has been super impressive in barrier trials. It comes down to raceday experience versus talent and that is a difficult equation.
The Breeders Stakes is a difficult race. There is no standout and predominantly these horses come from a number of differing form lines.
Few have been more impressive than Florence Jean (No4, R6), who left a field in her wake in her Ruakaka debut victory. She has enormous speed, but does not appear to lack a touch of toughness to go with it.
Difficult to do a speed map on this race, but if they head off Florence Jean early they will be travelling very fast. Excelleration (No3) was terrific winning on debut and was beaten by two very good ones when third at her subsequent start. She rates highly here. Santuzza (No5) and Gold Fever (No1) are among the chances.
Volks Lightning (No4, R7) has been in great form and at no stage looks vulnerable. She is powerful at the end of her races and with just 53kg to lump here there is no reason she won't do the same again. Leith Innes has a good barrier to play with and she should go close again for part owner Brendon McCullum. Red Striker (No5) is underrated and as a back runner has not always had a lot of luck. She can place well here on her home track. Smashing (No7) and Signify (No1) are in contention.
Von Tunzelman (No15, R8) is one of the north's most progressive intermediate horses and is the one to beat this afternoon. He steps up in grade, but has just 53kg and that will be a big factor. Trojan Warrior (No2) may not be everyone's idea of an everyday horse, but he is very talented and could be a major player here. He has won on the track. Hushed (No7) and Endean Rose (No16) are multiple musts.
The last is tough for punters with perhaps last-start winner Heart Beat (No1, R9) making some appeal. The Cruz brothers have a great strike rate from their Waikato stable. Imperium (No2) is better than his recent form on paper suggests.
It will be a big challenge for Cambridge talent Turn Me Loose to beat the top class Black Heart Bart in the A$500,000 Futurity in Melbourne, but he will give it a great shake. There was not an enormous distance between them last start in Melbourne and Turn Me Loose will be a fair bit fitter this time. Quinella appeals again.
• Peter McKay has been quite taken by Stokers Rock in the short time the southerner has spent with him.
The Matamata trainer took charge of the lightly-raced five-year-old a couple of weeks ago and he will make his northern debut in today's Kaimai Stakes on his adopted home track.
Stokers Rock won five of his 13 starts for Riverton trainers Michael and Graham Eade before owner Christine Stalker decided to give the son of St Reims his chance in the north.
"The owner wanted him to come up here for a couple of races," McKay said. "He galloped in company on Tuesday morning and finished off 1000 metres well. My son Shaun rode him and he said it was really nice work."
McKay also has two strong chances today in Barcelo (Vadamos at Rich Hill 1400) and Lucky's Revenge (New World Matamata 1400).
- Additional reporting NZ Racing Desk