Sacred Falls is a hot favourite for the $400,000 New Zealand Guineas but there are challengers.

The presence of stand-out early three-year-old star Sacred Falls in the day's feature, the Sothy's 40th New Zealand 2000 Guineas, at Riccarton, means every other runner represents outstanding value.

Over the odds

Irish Rebel, who was a fixed odds $10 quote earlier this week, looks one of the best bets as a result of the hype around unbeaten Cambridge colt Sacred Falls (Riccarton, race seven, 3.56pm).

The big-striding Danehill Dancer colt tuned up for his shot at group one glory with a late-charging second fresh-up over 1400m at Hastings on October 25.


Trainer Jason Bridgman says his big NZ Derby hope has gone on the right way since but is still fresh enough to run a sharp 1600m second-up for new rider Hayden Tinsley.

Don't forget that this stable's second-string Rock'n'Pop did something similar last year when upstaging hot-pot Burgundy.

Under the odds

As impressive as Thunderbird One (Te Rapa, race four, 1.41pm) has been winning his last three, there's one big factor that says his even-money quote this week is overly optimistic - Ruakaka raider Seed Of Speed, the Dean and Donna Logan trained four-year-old, has also been one of the most impressive spring types in the lower grades.

Unlike Thunderbird One, he also has a course and distance win to his credit. Factor in in-form lightweight Ruby Libs, who is also more proven at the trip, and Thunderbird One is at least a buck lighter than where he should be at this stage of his promising career.


Raymond Connors probably isn't too fussed about the woeful depth in the New Zealand staying ranks for the last couple of years. The shortfall means the Wanganui trainer keeps bringing his honest stayer Blood Brotha (Riccarton, race nine, 5.12pm) back to plunder easy pickings at the New Zealand Cup carnival.

The 2010 Metropolitan Trophy winner followed up with a good fourth in this race last year before scoring in the New Zealand Cup. His lead-up form suggests he's close to the same shape.

Drop-back special

Don't read too much into Wowowo's (Te Rapa, race six, 2.56pm) failure last-time out in the Wellington Guineas (1500m). He over-raced in the early and middle stages before losing all interest and dropping out of contention in the straight.

Back in R65 company over 1600m on a track he's already run second on in his September debut he has the ability to clinch a next-up run in the Levin Classic. Co-trainer Trent Busuttin already has the NZ Derby squarely in his sights.

"He'll really come into his own over 2000m and further," said Busuttin before the horse's last start.

Bet of the day

Cést Magnifique (Te Rapa, race seven, 3.36pm) should now be ready to live up to the high regard in which he's held by his stable after two warm-ups over shorter trips.

He misfired on a three-race Australian autumn campaign and was expensive last time out on this track over 1600m, but up to 2100m on a firmish surface, watch the Roger James-trained five-year-old explode clear for his regular pilot Andrew Calder.

Value bet

His recent form may look sketchy but Heza Rebel (Te Rapa, race three, 1.06pm) is well up to taking this out with the aid of Shohei Shirahama's 2kg allowance. He was a narrow but impressive course and distance winner when quitting maidens at the same time last year. Third-up in his last campaign he again showed his liking for today's conditions when pushing Sir Lovesalot to the wire, beaten just a head in a far stronger Te Rapa three-year-old event.