Oysters smothered in ice cream - about the only thing we could think of yesterday that's worse than a wet track in the middle of summer.

The footing at Ellerslie today will hardly be suitable to most horses and two words emerge - be careful.

But there are exceptions and Megablast in the $100,000 Avondale Cup is one of them.

He's been running what have looked like average races on firm footing lately, but will be well suited in today's conditions.


Difficult to know which of the others will be comfortable. St Jean is too good to leave out, even though co-trainer Donna Logan is unsure about the footing and neither is Gary Vile for his in-former Jacksstar.

Tony Pike was yesterday undecided whether to let well fancied Chenille go around. Five to Midnight is a must include.

Tony Pike was happy to allow Fast And Furious (No1, R1) to go around despite the track. He has impressed in just two starts and quite a few of those by Swiss Ace can manage a bit of rain. Bold Bachelor (No10) has been going average races, but he has form in the wet and will go around with a light weight.

Depending on overnight weather, the footing might be just okay for Hollywood Lass (No8, R2). She has been freshened, a condition she goes well in and has had a barrier trial to keep her a bit sharp. This is a good line-up with Splurge (No3), Mr Knowitall (No2), Go Nicholas (No6) and Triaction (No5) all capable of winning.

Sacred Way (No3, R3) made such an impression with his Pukekohe winning debut he will be equally fancied to make it two from two. This is only 100m further than his debut run, but even that will help his powerful finish. Tavidream (No1) is similarly progressive and Collaborate (No4) can run a big race fresh.

Although likely to be improved by the run, Eleonora (No6, R4) can run a huge race in her first start since her fine second in the Victoria Oaks in November. She led and won nicely at the Te Aroha barrier trials and should give a good sight here. A few chances here, among them Our King Sway (No10), who will appreciate the easing of conditions and Sound Proposition (No1).

The 58.5kg, as much as you ever want to see a mare carrying, is a worry around Serious Satire (No3, R5), but she is all class when at her best.

Worth remembering here is that she is dropping back from the group one Thorndon Mile to R75, hence the weight. She came from the back of the field in the Thorndon to finish fifth, a run which would take her close here. Cote D'Or (No11), Top Prospect (No2) and Sin To Win (No6) are prospects.

With the 2400m Vodafone Derby just 14 days away, these $100,000 Avondale Guineas runners are committed to going around for the sake of fitness. Only half of the field has run beyond 1600m and a 2100m run today is a requirement to be ready for the Derby. Sacred Elixir (No1, R6) deserves his favouritism.

"He won on a slow track at Moonee Valley," says trainer Tony Pike, "but the Valley is a different track to Ellerslie." Stamina will not be an issue for Sacred Elixir and he might just outstay them. Camino Rocoso (No6) was huge in winning under Hugh Bowman at Ellerslie two weeks ago and will be even better stepping up in distance. The Derby looms well for both of these. Highlad (No4) will like the footing and Wyndspelle (No2) and Charles Road (No13) are chances.

The last is not easy. Three-year-old Excalibur (No4, R8) can run a big race if he has a decent passage from a wide gate