Sum up the field for tomorrow's $225,000 Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires Produce and add a firm track and it gives you a headache. Add a wet track and that becomes a migraine. It will be a wet track.

The Stephen Autridge/Jamie Richards stable holds a decent slice of the trumps, given it has four representatives - a huge achievement given the issues juveniles can encounter through a season's racing.

So we asked Autridge his opinion on which of his quartet might best handle the conditions, after all he has little to concern himself with, just Gingernuts in the A$2 million Australian Derby at Randwick.

"Well, if the track was slow I'd be happy enough, if it was dead I'd be over the moon. But you'd be pretty sure it's not going to be neither of those. They had 30mm overnight and I can't see how it can be anything but heavy.


"The weather is meant to be improving from this point, but it might be too late. We've just got to hope it can improve."

Horse racing lives on hope and the stable hasn't given up on winning the group one race.

"Gold Fever is a short-striding thing and she might get through the ground," says Autridge. "And, Summer Monsoon galloped on wet footing last Saturday morning and worked well, so he might not be out of it."

Melody Belle has great credentials for the stable. She won on debut and in only three subsequent visits to the races she picked up the Karaka Million. She has to step from 1200m to 1400m this time, but interestingly she was not being run down in the Million, she was holding her own.

Additionally, she is by Australian-based stallion Commands, who has thrown any number of horses that shine in the wet. The fourth stable runner is Swing Note, first emergency, who has yet to win, but shows plenty of potential.

"To try and sum it up, Summer Monsoon and Melody Belle are the on-the-way-up horses."

There is not a runner that you could say would be a major surprise if it won.

On a firm track Star Treasure would probably start favourite and could win. How he will handle an "off" track as a long-striding colt remains to be seen. If he gets out centre track late and finds some footing his powerful finish could get him home.

Belle Du Nord was massively impressive winning at Trentham last start.

She has drawn nicely away from the inside rail, which could be important and the way she hit the finish two weeks ago suggest the 1400m will not be an issue. The footing may be.

Irish Flame will appreciate the slow footing that he won on at Taranaki, Hasahalo is not out of it and Hard Merchandise will be improved for his third to Belle Du Nord last start.

The evenness of this field means the winner may not be named above.

Top tips

• Value:

Neala, R7, Ellerslie. Beaten last start, but has multiple placings on wet tracks.

• Each way: Amarula, R5, Ellerslie. Has a impressive record when fresh from a break. Will give a sight.

• Forgive: Ocean Emperor. R2, Rotorua. Won like Phar Lap two back. Beaten last time, but capable of showing better this time.