The handicapper might have got the better of Maygrove in an overall sense, but the grey could buck that with victory in the $70,000 Rotorua Cup.

Okay, Maygrove has won $375,000, but the 60kg he carried last start in the Hawke's Bay Cup points to the lack of overall depth of our open stayers at this time of year.

Thanks to the appearance of Pump Up The Volume, who will carry the 60kg topweight, Maygrove drops back to 59kg even though second in the Hawke's Bay Cup.

Summing this race up and assuming Rotorua has copped the rain Auckland and Waikato received yesterday with showers predicted for today, there is little to choose between Maygrove and absolute mudder Pacorus, who, in finishing fourth behind Maygrove at Hastings, was three lengths behind.


Maygrove gets the nod with an unbeaten record in two starts at Rotorua, a significant statistic. He can handle the worst of winter conditions as he showed winning the Jakkalberry Classic there in October under 60kg. But if the track became a bog, which looks unlikely, it would suit Pacorus even more and in those conditions the 3kg between the pair would become more significant.

The slow track, rather than heavy, took the sting out of the finishing spurt Pacorus can find and if the showers continued he would be well suited, but Maygrove will be no easy target.

Endean Rose has always looked likely to get to the best ranks, but it has taken her time to reach her peak development. Her second to Mime at weight-for-age at Te Rapa last start showed exactly what most thought she would always be capable of one day. She drops from 57kg in that to 54kg here.

Mangaroa Flo Jo is no everyday mare, but when she puts her A game in place she can win decent races when rain is about.

There is a possible vulnerable edge to the high class improver Love Affair in the $70,000 Rotorua Stakes - she has never seen a rain affected track in competition.

And Rotorua in the wet is not the place for a horse that cannot handle those conditions. The reverse of that card is that we don't know she can't handle a slow surface.

If she can, her fabulous talent would carry her past this field. She has had just four starts and the three victories she has put together suggest the headlines are approaching quickly.

Mystery Show may have briefly felt the effects of a big first-up win, but her close second at Ellerslie last start said she is back to her best. Despite her brilliance, she can handle rain affected footing and should not be troubled here. If the favourite does not handle the conditions, Mystery Show will take advantage.

North And South has a great fresh-up record of three wins from four such starts. Lisa Latta would not be sending her north if she did not feel the horse was fit enough.

Underthemoonlight is in her best form and rates.

Weekend pointers
Better suited here: Roc De Bank, R3 Rotorua. Nice fourth to Killarney on a dead track at Te Rapa when resuming. Should go closer if wetter here, which looks likely.

Could be anything: Deals In Heels, R1 Rotorua. Remarkable late dashes to win both her starts so far. Should make it a treble.

Each way: Amber Rayne, R2 Rotorua: Good wet track stats and has a 3kg claim. Wide gate may not be an issue.