Racing: Rangipo no one-trick pony

By Mike Dillon

Vinnie Colgan and Rangipo (green and blue) were too good in the NZ Derby last year. Photo / Chris Loufte
Vinnie Colgan and Rangipo (green and blue) were too good in the NZ Derby last year. Photo / Chris Loufte

Rangipo might be a 2400m Derby winner and bred from a Zabeel mare, but he's out to prove he's no one-trick pony in tomorrow's $100,000 Windsor Park Japan/NZ International at Tauranga.

Rangipo has won just one race at tomorrow's 1600m distance, but don't forget that was Ellerslie's Great Northern Guineas.

Three-year-olds that are not necessarily natural 2400m stayers can sometimes get away with it against their own age group. Trainer Tony Pike indicated Rangipo may be one of those heading into last year's Derby and he was probably right.

It certainly looked that way when Rangipo came back from three fruitless Australian starts on two separate trips following his Derby victory and finished a terrific second to rapid improver Splurge in a fast-run 1200m at Ellerslie three weeks ago.

That should have him in perfect shape for tomorrow's rich feature and probably another useful stat is that he is one from one at Tauranga.

And, if you doubt his natural speed, Rangipo has won twice at 1400m and his times have been 1.22.79 and 1.22.43.

All Roads is stepping up from R85 to open company, but a close look at his latest form eased your mind over that.

Last week at Te Rapa he gave a hugely talented Hiflyer 3kg, which made his task very difficult. Two checks in the home straight made his job impossible from that point under 60kg and he did remarkably well to finish second.

Despite the $100,000 stake, you could argue there is not one of Hiflyer's class engaged, which makes All Road's lead-up form look very good.

The interesting runner is Trojan Warrior. He has never given the impression he doesn't try hard enough, but he is hard to catch on the tote just the same. One place he certainly does look good is here at Tauranga - he has won all three of his races on the course. For a horse that has won at the elite level he is tremendously well off in the weights at 53kg.

Romantic Maid is another very interesting runner. She finally got her payday at Te Rapa after, to be fair, the best trail of all time.

Danielle Johnson had a little trouble getting her a run in the home straight but once she did the mare had a clear run to the winning post.

She had just 54kg in that race and goes down a further 2kg for her first attempt at open company. As low as that weight looks she is not that well off in the handicap compared to the likes of Rangipo and Trojan Warrior.

Tony Pike might owe a rival trainer a round or two if Rangipo lands the feature event at Tauranga tomorrow.

His task was made a whole lot easier when Kevin Myers made a late entry on Wednesday for Scapolo.

"He was going to have to carry 58.5kg and now Scapolo is in he's only going to carry 52.5kg," Pike said. "As the class horse in the field I would expect Rangipo to race accordingly."

Rising Red is out of tomorrow's Tulloch Stakes at Rosehill and is likely to be spelled.

Trainers Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young will now rely on Anaheim to fly the stable flag in Saturday week's A$3 million Australian Derby.

Rising Red had a Sandown win preceding his runner-up finish behind Gingernuts in the NZ Derby.

Tips for Tauranga

Learning as a stayer: Cote D'Or, R5 Tauranga. Will have learned a lot from the middle distance attempt at Matamata last time. Will be extremely competitive.

Each way: All Roads, R8 Tauranga. Didn't get many breaks last time and due a winning turn. This is not easy but he's progressive.

Due one: Crookshanks, R6 Tauranga. Not far away in good fields lately and finds a nice race.

- Additional reporting NZ Racing Desk

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