On one of the busiest and most important days of the South Island racing calendar, one half of the south's most potent training duo will be staying away - and not by choice.

Balcairn trainers John and Karen Parsons will produce a 13-strong hand on Otago's premier day of racing, including the talented pair of Starvoia and Residential in the Living Corporation Dunedin Guineas (1500m).

"They are leaving me at home - they reckon I'm bad luck," Karen Parsons said. "I want to be down there, but John says I'm a jinx."

That won't mean that Karen Parsons won't be supervising the team from afar, with a key focus the Guineas, in which Starvoia ranks a leading chance after her last-start third in the Gore Guineas (1335m).


"It was a disaster for us with the wet track. Our horses all went terrible in it," Parsons said. "Going down the back, she went from bolting to flat in a matter of strides. Only her class got her up to third.

"We think she's extra well. Like probably everyone else, we'd like to think she can win. She'll relish the extra distance. She's bred to go a mile and a quarter but then again she can't read her own pedigree page."

Parsons said Starvoia would progress to the Southland Guineas (1600m) at Invercargill on February 18 before tackling South Island filly of the year series races.

"Her next year will have to be her best. She's done a huge job to come up like she has. She's only had short breaks."

Parsons wasn't ruling out Residential's chances today either.

"We were shattered with her too because she sprinted twice in the race - once in looping the field mid-race and again at the finish," Parsons said.

"If she'd only sprinted once, she would have been a lot closer. It's awfully hard to sprint twice in races like that and still win. She won't be far away from the money."

While the Parsons won't have a runner in the feature White Robe Lodge Handicap, they will produce topweight Revelator in the Dunedin Gold Cup (2400m) and talented sprinter Madam Bentley - a winner of four races at Wingatui - in the Ray Webster Plumbing Open (1200m).

"It's her favourite track," Parsons said of Madam Bentley.

"And it's fair to say, we're quite partial to the track ourselves - we've had a lot of success there. It would be quite nice if I was allowed to be there myself on Saturday."

- NZ Racing Desk