There is a sense of timing around Pacorus in Saturday's $75,000 Winning Edge Presentations Hawke's Bay Cup at Hastings.

Particularly considering the weather forecast, with significant rain predicted for the Bay.

Yesterday, Hastings was rated a Dead (5), but rain today and tomorrow will change that.

Which is good news for the connections of Pacorus, one of the best winter track stayers going around.


The four starts he has had this preparation have readied him for what will be a tough test if the predicted weather arrives in even half strength.

Six of Pacorus' seven victories have come on rain-affected tracks. Of his $142,900 earnings less than $10,000 has been won on tracks that were not slow or heavy.

Last start, Pacorus finished fifth to Sampson in the Awapuni Gold Cup.

The track was officially rated a Slow (8), but did not race too badly and did not suit him as much as this one will.

"There is no doubt he is a mudder - his form shows that," says part-owner Tim Vince, a form analyst for 15 years for syndicates in Hong Kong racing and who dabbles with his own harness horses in Auckland.

"I'm never been an optimist because I know how much can go wrong in this game - the minute you get confident you get your bum kicked, but I've started to get a bit keen for Saturday since I've seen the weather forecast. He's a bit of a toff when rain is around."

Second in that Awapuni race was Five To Midnight and he was run down by Sampson in sight of the winning post.

His form lately has been a long string of minors and this could be his opportunity to end that.

His close placing in the City Of Auckland Cup at Ellerslie places him right in the frame.

Maygrove is the class act of the field with $359,927 earnings. He finished fourth in the Awapuni Gold Cup and although the footing may not have been ideal for him, he was a fraction disappointing.

Although handicaps are relative, Maygrove goes up from 57kg at Awapuni to 60kg here and that will not make it easy for him if the track is very testing.

Savaria represents good class, but she has yet to show her best in footing she is likely to strike here and the same can be said of Sopraffina.

Perhaps the best of those on light weights is Cheeky Boy - hardly an everyday type, but he has an excellent wet-track record.

He found the 1500m at Ellerslie last start too short and will be better suited at this 2200m.

Meanwhile, closer to home, regardless of how some of the races at Tauranga on Saturday may be decimated by scratchings caused by the weather, the open 1400m is going to be a beaut.

It features smart sprinters on decent ground with most of them more than useful in the wet.

Our King Sway is the perfect example of them. Better, not only has he won in the rain, he has won in the rain at Tauranga.

Two starts back he won the Taranaki Cup on a Slow (8) and his fourth to All Roads on this track last start was excellent given the footing was better than he prefers.

He is set up for a peak performance this time.

Seventh Up could finish only third over 1200m at Ellerslie last start, but it was a better effort than it looked. He got back as usual and was required to run a very fast closing sectional even to finish third.

It would have been impossible for him to close off quickly enough to win. This race will be run much more to suit him.

Southern Icon has rare ability in the rain. He ran a nice first-up third then perhaps felt the pinch of that effort when beaten at his second start. This will be better for him.

Illuminati can finish better than the eighth that resulted from the first-up effort. She will be fitter for this.

Punting pointers

Best bet: Pacorus (Hastings, R6, No 3) Sure to appreciate the wet track and carrying less weight than in recent starts.

Each-way: Underthemoonlight (Hastings, R7, No 4) Recent Cambridge trial winner who relishes heavy footing.

The roughie: Zed Leppelin (Hastings, R5 No 9) Hard to catch but goes well on his home track and has wet track form.