Good each-way value, rather than any good things looks the order of proceedings at Ellerslie today.

It's a fair wait, but Preetha Varma (No 8, R8) in the last shapes up as one of the better prospects.

She is a mare on the way through and her first-up second was stylish.

She has drawn awkwardly wide at the 1400m, but Leith Innes may be able to work a touch of magic to get her the right run. With that she can go close. Armaguard had drawn even wider, but similarly he rates if he gets a little luck.


The six babies in Race 2 are all unraced. Gilhoolie (No 1) has won both his barrier trials and on that basis rates on top. Even though it's a small field barrier draws can be important and the No 2 gate he has should be ideal. Star Treasure (No 2) won his last barrier trial.

Maid Of Steel (No 1, R3) has not won in three starts this preparation, but her efforts have been pretty good. She should be fully fit for this assignment and will take beating. El Luchador (No 3) has been in great form.

Race 4 is a great betting affair. Marciano (No 3) is a horse with a future and his first-up win was excellent. He has drawn a bit wide, but the 1600m start allows a little latitude. Our King Sway (No 8), Cheeky Boy (No 5) and Zambezi Warrior (No 7) are all chances in a great contest.

Emily Monk (No 8, R5) is a classy mare who could run a bold race fresh from a break. Have something on her and stay on the train. Arrow In The Sand (No 10) is another worth staying with as is Eletist (No 5).

Mystery Show (No 1, R7) is a decent chance in the Soliloquy Stakes.

She is speedy, very adaptable and can win this, despite a wide barrier.

Astara (No 4) is the improver and Veearma (No 12) looked promising winning on debut.

All eyes will be on the Cox Plate. This column has tipped Hartnell to really test the champion mare Winx, but is it really a betting race?

This could well be the race of the season - would you really ruin that by having a decent punt.

One you can back is former New Zealand mare Lady Le Fay (No 1, R5) at Moonee Valley, now to be ridden by Winx's rider Hugh Bowman with Joao Moreira being refused permission to travel from Hong Kong.

And La Luna Rossa (No 2, R6) will be a winning chance, despite finishing out of a place in the 1000 Guineas. This is a bit easier.