Winning form at this time of year can be surprisingly accurate as a follow on, particularly if they've been impressive.
We have a couple of those going around at Rotorua today, the most notable being Wooden Edge in Race 5. He handles winter tracks well, tries very hard and with a 3kg apprentice allowance he looks value at the $2.80 the TAB was offering last night despite solid support on the punt.
The paper form of Coolibah (No3, R2) is not so impressive, but forget that - that form was on the flat and he reverts to hurdling here, a racing form at which he is unbeaten in three attempts. Don't forget two back he showed he was coming up very well with a third at Ruakaka in a strong race. He has had the racing now to fit him for his first jumping start this year.
The Arabian Duke (No2, R1) has a great record at Rotorua. He has yet to win his first hurdle race, but he was placed in both his attempts and looks well placed to break through today. He will give a great sight. Kiddo (No1) looks the danger.
The 3kg apprentice claim the Baker/Forsman stable has taken off Crafty Jess (No6, R3) will prove crucial in the final 200m in what will be a testing track. There might be a slight question mark over her head in the heavy conditions, but she is worth the risk in the circumstances. Sapphire Sky (No4) can run a big race.
Liquid Inspiration (No2, R4) is one of those who has been impressive in winning. Difficult to win your first three races straight, but Liquid Inspiration has shown real potential. And the 3kg allowance looks attractive. Hello M'Lady (No4) looks promising.
The feature, the Taumarunui Gold Cup, is a real puzzler. If you want to take the chance Francis Drake (No3, R6) can manage the wet conditions then look no further, if he does he wins. But there is a question mark. Katie McKeen (No6) could not have created a bigger impression in taking a big win at New Plymouth last week. Provided that has not taken too much out of her she should run a huge race on 54kg.
Race 7 is not one to unload on, but the visitor Jonquil (No2) will be fit as all of Kevin Myers' horses are on raceday. Yet another that will be aided by a 3kg apprentice claim. Alfie Dee (No1) makes some appeal.
Wrangler (No5, R8) is heading into the veteran stage, but has not been racing long and has plenty left to offer. The slight freshen-up will be beneficial and so will the 1kg allowance. Trueman (No9) and Sellwood (No10) are both really dangerous in a good betting race.
Enchanting Beauty (No6, R9) could be good way to finish the day, although this is a very competitive race. The wide gate will be an advantage late in the day and Troy Harris will make the most of it. I'm Brosnan (No8) is also out there at the start and is not the worst prospect.
A mare who failed to make any early impact on her trainer will be out to defend her unbeaten record today.
Liquid Inspiration has made the dream start to her career with two wins from as many starts and she will chase further success in the Maketu Gentlemen's Club 1215m at Arawa Park. "She's definitely surprised me, I can't believe it actually," Matamata horseman Wayne Hillis said.
The five-year-old won on debut on her home track and was again successful at Arawa Park last month. The runners-up in those respective races, Trueman and Combat Warrior, have both since won.
- additional reporting NZ Racing Desk