Few maiden winners in recent months have made the impression Richie McHorse laid on the line at Ellerslie a couple of weeks ago.
The big, rangy bloke came from near last, went around every runner and won stylishly.
He is bred from Oaks winner Boundless and while he is probably going to get better as he matures a bit, he is very effective right now and will take beating in Race 9 at Te Rapa this afternoon.
The jumping game gets under way in the north today. Because of little knowledge of fitness, the two hurdle races and the steeplechase are not easy betting mediums.
Kevin Myers is always to be watched in jumping races and in the opener today he has Zed Em (No9, R1), a young horse with clear pace on the flat. He has had one hurdles race, but in a stronger race than this and after his recent racing - unlike most of these - you can bet he'll be very ready. Paul Nelson falls into the same category as Kevin Myers and his Ooee (No6) is another to watch out for.
Boy (No8, R2) is a real fresh-up chance in the better class hurdles.
He has good jumping aptitude and can spring what might be something of a surprise. Thenamesbond (No1) has a tough job with 71kg, 6kg more than Boy, but he has plenty of ability and can't be counted out.
Fresh from a break, Snowdrop (No4, R3) ran only a touch worse than 1.8 for 1200m when winning at Ellerslie two weeks ago. She gets the same apprentice allowance this time and on a decent track she will take some pulling back again. She seems much stronger than previously.
Three-year-old Amarula (No2) ran a close fourth in last week's open sprint here and although he's going around with 58.5kg against older horses, he will give plenty of cheek as an on-pace runner.
The steeplechase, Race 4, is anyone's guess and this column would like to analyse the form from this before jumping in.
Diamantine (No2, R5) ran a very respectable race in the Hawkes Bay Cup last start and drops to an easier field today. It should make her very competitive. Our King Sway (No7) was hugely impressive winning in easier company at Tauranga last start, coming from a clear last. He has always looked to have ability above average and can step up.
Bachelor Zeel (No5) has the blinkers on today and looks to be approaching his best form.
There is much speculation around just how good juvenile Ugo Foscolo (No3, R6) is and we're going to find out today. He did remarkably well to win by a margin on debut at Rotorua after having trouble with the heavy track. Perhaps the main danger today, Memories Only (No5) did a similar job, but his margin was not quite so wide. This is a great contest and should be the highlight of the day.
Nelson Park (No3, R10) has been a revelation and there is no reason to suspect his form is about to come to an end. He fights very hard and can easily add this to his CV. Naughty Knuckles (No6) is the improver and Downton Abbey (No12) is about to hit her top form.
After her great form in the north over summer What Choux Want (No5, R5) should be a great winning prospect as she resumes in the south at Riccarton today. She is tough and honest.