Today’s race at Ellerslie will identify a favourite, but picking a winner is not easy

The 3-year-old ranking at the top has been confusing all season and going into today's $100,000 Auckland Eye Avondale Guineas does nothing in terms of clarification.

With the Derby just around the corner, let's hope coming out of it does.

The current top of the TAB's Derby fixed odds market looks like: $5 Provocative, $6 Get That Jive, $8 Rangipo, Valley Girl.

With the exception of Valley Girl, who won last week's $300,000 Herbie Dyke Stakes at Te Rapa, they clash in this afternoon's Guineas.


This race will definitely identify a clear Derby favourite, but sorting out today's winner is a nightmare.

To Rangipo, Provocative and Get That Jive add Dukedom, southerner Son Of Maher, Raghu, Predator, Brighton, The Hassler - and that's not the end of the chances - and you have a real contest.

Remember this time last year - you had Mongolian Khan and Volkstok'n'barrell and you could have the rest.

Rather than go too heavily into today's race, it may pay to invest some of those dollars on your Derby hope in the big race ahead in advance of 4.03pm today. If your fancy wins today it will be half odds for the Derby.

Rangipo looks perhaps the best each-way in this afternoon's feature.

He has done nothing wrong and is not uncomfortable on a track that is chipping out.

Decorah (No3, R6) remains a wonderful each-way investment in the second feature, the Go Racing Syndications Avondale Cup, essentially because she will be comfortable regardless of track conditions.

She comes off an excellent third in the Karaka Stayers Cup where the 60kg proved a bit too tough. She drops to a much more comfortable 57kg here and her wide barrier should not prove too difficult.

The plethora of dangers include Jimmy Mac (No2), Farm Boy (No4), Sacred Master (No11), Rose Of Virginia (No9) and Pondarosa Miss (No5).

Only five runners in the opener, but it should be one of the races of the day. Consensus (No3, R1) finishes her races off well so will be suited by the field size and does not mind an easing of the ground. Snapshot (No5) has been beaten only once in six starts and rates highly.

Conditions - expected is a track that is chipping out only a little - will matter in Race 2. That'sforsure (No6) could not have made a bigger impression when winning here last start, powering home from well back to win clearly on a day when back runners were disadvantaged. She is a progressive filly who will get better and better. Don't be surprised if she makes it two straight this afternoon.

Plenty of chances, one of them being High Class (No2), narrowly beaten in a useful field last start.

Last season's Sires Produce winner Marky Mark (No8, R3) resumes following a break after an Australian campaign. He represents good class and on 55.5kg looks a decent prospect while fresh. Smashing (No7) is very fast and if the pattern is suiting on-pace runners she will figure. Fully Funded (No4) has a wide barrier, but is still in consideration.

Race 4 is a challenge. Much depends on whether on-speed runners can figure. If so Sheradream (No10) can be right in it from her handy draw.

She gets 3kg off her 58kg handicap via apprentice Ryan Elliot and that will suit her somewhat small frame. She comes in off a break and looked useful at the recent Avondale barrier trials. Eight Points (No9) can run a big race fresh.

Palace Rock (No14, R5) has not had a massive amount of luck in recent starts.

Off 54kg and a reasonable barrier she can be right in the finish. Altius (No2) had no luck when resuming and is a must for all multiple bets.

The last is extremely tough and each way on Splendido (No3, R8) has appeal and a value go on Irish (No15) may not go astray.

She was not suited by the rail being out 12m here last start. Zastella (No13) is not out of it.