It will be far from the biggest price of the day, but Savapak earlier on the programme looks the goods for Te Rapa this afternoon.
The northern maiden races lately have been strong, but Race 2 today is of even strength and Savapak's debut second at Rotorua last time puts her right in the picture here. She did things wrong at Rotorua and should have learned a lot with that experience. The compact field should help as well.
With just six acceptors, Race 1 should be difficult to get some value out of and the exotics are probably the go. Nomisma (No4) did not get all the breaks at Ellerslie last time and is reasonably well placed here. She finishes her races off strongly and will be suited by the small field. Mary Quant (No3) should be ready to do something off the back of two starts this preparation. She is better than she has been showing.
Morse Code (No1) loves to lead and with early Te Rapa races often going to on-pace runners, he rates. Wills Road (No2) will be somewhere in the first four.
Clarify (No1, R3) is an interesting runner. He wilted after taking over with 550m to run in the Wellington Cup, but this is a long way from that. He has 59.5kg, but has earned it and won here with 59kg three starts back. He could take come pulling back. Vinevale (No2) could be the most difficult and Blue Lagoon (No6) is right in the party.
Race 4, the open handicap, is a contest between experience and the up and comers. Von Tunzelman (No11) will be favourite and without question difficult to beat.
He is one of the real emerging northern horses and bolted in at Tauranga last time. He has only 54kg and against the likes of Matimba's 60kg he looks well placed.
Matimba (No1) will be no pushover though.
He is coming back from group racing and the most important thing here is he likes Te Rapa.
He is not out of this, weight and all. Hushed (No6) and Endean Rose (No12) are chances.
There was a lot to like about the maiden debut win by Miss Dalghar (No8, R5) on this course a couple of weeks back. She sat three wide and ran away to win easily. This is quite a lot tougher, but she is likely to have derived benefit from experience. Elettra (No7) scored the win everyone knew was coming when she got home at Rotorua last start. She also should go on with it, but has an awkward barrier this time. Lady Style (No3) and Repo Bay (No4) are real dangers. Good mid-programme race.
The best each-way value all day could be Red Tsunami (No7, R6), a specialist on this track. She was beaten out of the money in a very strong field won by The Justice League at Ellerslie last start, but looks better placed here. Her overall form is excellent. Top Prospect (No1) will carry his full 59.5kg, but he has Jason Waddell to help him. He represents good class and can take this despite his tough assignment. Our Abbadean (No2) and Ali Baba (No8) are talented.
The Guineas, Race 7, will be worth the price of admission. With the Derby on the horizon there is enormous interest when these 3-year-olds step up to a middle distance and this will go forward as a top flight form reference. Hall Of Fame (No1) has the form on the board and his group one Levin Classic win last start was impressive despite being narrow. He has a slightly awkward barrier, but deserves favouritism.
Lincoln Blue (No2) is even wider at the start. His finishing position will probably be determined at the end of 400m. He impressed winning at Ellerslie two back and was subsequently luckless at Trentham.
Highlad (No4) looked very fresh and new when he resumed at Tauranga and although third it was a battling third and huge improvement can be expected. He and Windspelle (No3) are real threats now the distances are increasing.
Mystery Show (No7, R8) is a high class filly who has had a change of stable and will have her first start from Stephen Marsh's barn. She is making a fresh start after failing to get into the act in the 1000 Guineas at Riccarton. She is well up to giving this a shake.