If this is a punting column then we're taking a punt.

This could be going too far out on the branch, but we are putting a question mark on $750,000 BMW Derby second favourite Get That Jive.

On paper Get That Jive deserves real consideration after very close minor placings to Derby favourite Rangipo in both the Waikato Guineas and the Avondale Guineas.

He's made big runs at the leaders in the home straight in both races BUT he hasn't managed to get past Rangipo when he's looking like doing that.


In fact - and you need to watch the electronic coverage of both races very carefully - Get That Jive's final two strides in both races are weakening strides.

He's actually lost ground fractionally in both races.

Yes, he's had to go wide on the home bend both at Te Rapa and at Ellerslie and perhaps that may not be the case today from his inside barrier, but horses hitting the line hard are the ones you like to see in Derbies.

The Te Rapa and Ellerslie races were at 2000m and 2100m and today (Saturday) they have to find the stamina for 2400m.

In Derbies you see up to five or six horses in contention at the 400m and rarely more than one or two at the 100m, so tough are these races.

So, we are sticking with the Tony Pike runners Rangipo and Raghu, both incidentally out of Zabeel mares and unlikely to be flagging late.

From where we sit Valley Girl is the danger if she can find the necessary luck from her disastrous No 18 barrier.

Tough call on Get That Jive - only time will tell if it's sense or nonsense.

Marky Mark (No5, R1) might be a good way to start the day. He didn't quite appreciate the slightly dead track here last start, but copped a shocking trip anyway. With better luck in running he should be very competitive even though racing against older horses. He is classy when right. Emily Monk (No10) is a mare on the way through to better things.

Race 2 is perhaps the best special conditions race we've seen in a long time. Sabotage (No4) and Elfee (No5) dominate. Sabotage is backing up quickly from his classy third to Lauberhorn at Matamata last week, an effort that puts him strongly into this race. There was also a lot to like about his Te Teko maiden win. Elfee has been equally stylish in winning two of her six starts, characterised by strong finishes. Thatsforsure (No12) wasn't happy in the conditions last start and will do better if she's more comfortable this time.

Race 3 comes close to a no-bet affair, but if you're tempted, Maid Of Steel (No9) and King Krovanh (No2) make most appeal. Pentathlon (No3) is in there too, but being primed for next week's 3200m Auckland Cup he might find it a bit sharp, although class will carry him a fair way.

Increditable Hulk (No7, R4) comes in fresh and he races best that way.

The draw is awkward, but if he gets luck he can get in it at reasonable odds. Southerner Kinagat (No1) won well in a tougher race last week and goes up to 60.5kg.

There is no tougher race on the card than Race 5. It would be deserved if Way In (No7) got the money after three straight seconds in pretty good fields. She has drawn a good gate and can make use of it. Chances everywhere, Just Call Me Riley (No4) being among them.
Trainer Stephen Marsh holds the key to Race 6 with No More Tears (No5) and Ruud Not Too (No7). Both have drawn good barriers and No More Tears has the speed to take advantage. He's An Ace (No2) has drawn awkwardly, but can be in it with luck in running.

Sacred Star (No1, R7) held the key to the Darley Plate, but was only going to keep his place in the race if the track came up at a Dead 4 or better. If he starts his class will be a factor, but if the track moves under him he loses lengths. Conditions will dictate. If he doesn't show, Red Striker (No12) is a real chance. She will be improved for her Matamata run last week and the quick back-up should suit. In Style (No2) and Mabeel (No6) rate.

If Opie Bosson can get Coldplay (No4, R8) some passage from a wide gate in the Sunline Vase she can be a real threat. The 2100m should suit. Mime (No1) is suited and Duchess Kate (No2) and Promise To Reign (No3) should be in all multiples.


If you're lucky enough to be in the Cuvee area at Ellerslie today (Saturday) don't miss a word from special guest Jim Cassidy.

"The Pumper" as we all know him has never wasted words, but nor has he ever backed away from saying exactly what he believes.

Every question and answer word today will be gold and it's a shame not everyone on course will hear them. If one point characterises the 53-year-old riding legend it is self-belief.

If champions are supposed to let their achievements speak for themselves, Cassidy backed himself "before" the event.

"Ring-a-ding, ding, The Pumper is King," he announced when he came back from the sidelines as a result of the Jockey Tapes issue, something that would have buried - and did - lesser lights.

And Cassidy never failed to deliver, becoming only the third Australian jockey to ride 100 group one winners at the 2014 Melbourne Cup carnival.

Given the Cassidy legend really began at Flemington in 1983 when he won the Melbourne Cup on Kiwi, he found it necessary to end it on the same track last November.

Australian racing would not have been the same without Hall Of Famer Cassidy, yet he staunchly refers to himself as a Kiwi.

You could write five books about what happened between November 1983 and November 2015 and you will hear a portion of that history in the Cuvee this afternoon.


You have only gut feeling to go on when you miss lead-up races to a Derby.

"My gut feeling is he will go very well," said co-trainer Trent Busuttin when asked about Tavago for Saturday's $750,000 BMW Derby at Ellerslie.

Tavago missed the Avondale Guineas after jarring up badly when going the worst race of his short career finishing 11th in the Waikato Guineas.

The Derby was in serious doubt at that point but Busuttin felt there may have been a rescue mission.

"The owners left it to my discretion and said if I felt the horse was going good enough to put in the Derby field then go for it and if not leave him at home," said Busuttin.

"Two days after the Te Rapa race he was a million to one to be in the Derby, but he spent a week on the water walker and he's made good progress.

"The Te Rapa run was a result of him having a really hard run first time up after eight weeks on Karaka Million night then just a two week gap to the Waikato Guineas. He was just too young and immature for that."

The Cambridge horseman says he's happy with Tavago.

"You can't say you're going to win with a horse that's had his preparation, but he's been going well enough to earn his place in the field.

"There are no standout, dominant horses this year and it's a winnable race."

Tavago will be ridden by Australian-based international jockey Noel Callow, who has ridden at Ellerslie previously.

Busuttin gives some chance to his second runner Predator, despite just an even effort when seventh in the Avondale Guineas.

"He's a big strong type by Savabeel and the 2400m won't be a worry for him."

Melbourne-based Michael Walker will ride Raghu after regular jockey Michael McNab had his appeal for a stay of proceedings on his suspension turned down on Thursday.