Punters chasing the guaranteed $500,000 Pick6 at Matamata today might be well-advised to pay close attention to the chances of two local trainers.
Wayne Hillis will produce strong chances in legs three and six while Kylie Fawcett has a leading hope in leg two.
Hillis will be represented by Livin' On A Prayer (NZB Insurance Pearl Series Race) and Sure He Can (Matamata Tractors & Machinery 1600) with the former an impressive debut winner on the course earlier this month.
Despite an earlier trial placing, the well-related daughter of Redwood was allowed to start at odds of 19-1.
"She won very well and she had showed us quite a bit of ability," Hillis said. "That trial effort gave us more confidence as well.
"There's not a lot of her, that's why we have given her a fair bit of time, and she has trained on very well. The way she finished off the other day, she should go a bit further."
She is out of the group one winner It's My Sin, who has done a fine job at stud as she is also the dam of 10 other winners including the group two Chairman's Handicap winner and two-time Sydney Cup runner-up Divine Touch.
"Livin' On A Prayer is the last one out of the mare so hopefully she can carry on for us," co-breeder and part-owner Hillis said. He is also confident of a bold showing in the closing event from Sure He Can, who has placed in three of his seven starts and was most recently runner-up at Ruakaka.
"He's drawn wide, but that shouldn't matter come that time of the day and there's a good run down the back from the mile start," Hillis said.
"He's been unlucky not to have won a race by now. He's a big horse and still a bit weak in behind, but I expect him to go very well again."
Stable apprentice Darren Danis will again be aboard Livin' On A Prayer while jockeys' premiership leader Danielle Johnson will take the reins on Sure He Can.
Punters may leave the Fawcett-trained Ironbark (Electrico Ltd Fasttrack $2.5K) out of their Pick6 calculations at their peril.
The patiently-handled son of Any Suggestions sports one of the strongest form lines with a debut second on the track earlier this month behind the progressive Blue Shadow. She has since beaten a competitive field of three-year-olds at Te Rapa.
"He's really well and very bright," Fawcett said. "He'll sit on the pace and I'd expect him to go close.
"This will be his last run before he goes out. He's a half-brother to Candle In The Wind and he's pretty promising."
Sam Weatherly will retain the ride aboard Ironbark.
• The Pick6 at today's Matamata meeting is guaranteed to $500,000.
• It has a carryover pool of $221,516 after not being struck at recent Wednesday meetings.
• Because today's meeting only has nine races, the Pick6 starts in race four at 1.07pm.
- NZ Racing Desk