Pretty Good Excuse will have to overcome the worst of conditions today if she is to defend her Hokitika title.

Trainer Andrew Carston said he couldn't be happier with the mare's condition ahead of the Miss Scenicland Stakes, but one factor outside of his control has him concerned.

"She's as good as I can have her, but it's going to be a very, very heavy track and that's the only worry I have.

"There's got to be a bit of doubt - I've never seen the track like it is. It's gone way past a heavy 11 and it's going to be very much the survival of the fittest."


Pretty Good Excuse comes into the race in fine form with two wins from her last three starts, including a most recent front-running victory in an open handicap at Riccarton.

"She's certainly going as good as ever and I couldn't be happier with the horse," Carston said.

"The question is whether she can cop the track, but it's a great stake so that's why she'll be going around."

While he has a question mark over Pretty Good Excuse, Carston believes her stablemate Jackfrost will be at home in the conditions when he steps out in the Rendel Foster Memorial Hokitika Businesses Cup.

"The wetter the better for him," Carston said.

Talented youngster Princess Rihanna showed she was no one trick pony with her latest performance at Ellerslie. The Lance O'Sullivan and Andrew Scott-trained filly blew the start in the Eclipse Stakes on New Year's Day before she got home well to finish fourth behind Hasahalo. At her previous debut appearance, Princess Rihanna had posted a convincing win at Otaki where she raced on the speed.

"She showed us that she can chase them from back in the field so ... going forward it's looking good for her next run in the Karaka Million," Scott said. Princess Rihanna currently sits in fifth spot in the order of entry to the $1 million contest at Ellerslie on January 29.

- NZ Racing Desk