Sothys $400,000 2000 Guineas favourite Mongolian Falcon and stablemate Wyndspelle have had their flight plans to Riccarton frustratingly delayed.
The pair were due to be flown south from Auckland yesterday morning, but fog at Christchurch Airport resulted in the aircraft being grounded. They were due to be flown instead in the early hours of this morning.
"Thank goodness they are good travellers," said co-trainer Chris Gibbs. "Mongolian Falcon has had two trips to Hastings from up here at Ruakaka and Wyndspelle has been there, too.
"They were taken back to the float proprietor's property in Auckland and apparently both ate up their breakfast and were looking for more."
Gibbs does not see any significant downside to the pair arriving in Christchurch not much more than 24 hours before their group one assignment.
"When you plan these things for major races, it's just nice when things go smoothly. But it's more annoying than it is a problem."
Mongolian Falcon is the $2.80 favourite with the TAB to win the Guineas. He bolted home in the Hawkes Bay Guineas before being narrowly beaten by race rival tomorrow, Ugo Foscolo in the Sarten Memorial at Te Rapa last start.
There were excuses in that race. Te Rapa on the day had an on-pace bias and when Ugo Foscolo slid around to the front at the 950m it pushed Mongolian Falcon from the trail to three deep on the rail.
The latter tried hard in the closing stages, but a tactical ride on the winner by Michael Coleman won the day. Mongolian Falcon drew level two strides past the winning post.
The long Riccarton home straight should even that contest out this time.
Both Mongolian Falcon and Ugo Foscolo have drawn good barriers (No 4) and (No 1) and look certain to go forward early. "We are very happy the way the pair of them have trained on since Te Rapa," said Chris Gibbs. Wyndspelle turned in a huge performance to finish third in that Sarten Memorial defying, better than any runner, the on-speed bias to make up tremendous late ground. He should really appreciate the size of Riccarton and the likelihood of a decent pace.
The Autridge/Richards stable have a strong hand with Heroic Valour and Hall Of Fame. The latter looked good running away by five lengths off an easy lead at Riccarton last start. This opposition is lengths better, but you can only beat those you face.
The same applies to Matamata's Cha Siu Bao. He has come through a maiden race and a R65 event, albeit with hugely impressive victories.
Punting pointers for tomorrow
• Take the shorts: Hiflyer (R5 Te Rapa). Top-class galloper on the way through. Fresh here but has had a barrier trial.
• Class: Enough (R6 Te Rapa). Has huge ability and given plenty of time to develop it. Watch one of the best, Frenchman Gerald Mosse in action.
• Deserves this: Tom Melbourne (R3, Flemington). Led them up in the Lexus and caught in the last breath by Oceanographer. None of his class engaged this time.