Expectation with an untried two-year-old can be excruciatingly exciting as to be almost life-changing.

Matamata trainer Graham Richardson has that feeling right now.

No, his expectation is not around a juvenile for the new season, but Volpe Veloce. The nerves around any horse resuming from a break are ever present, but when that horse is coming off a spell after winning seven of eight at its only previous preparation, that level is Everest-high.

We didn't contact Richardson because his response would be automatic. What else was he going to say other than he was happy with the high class mare and that he was excited to see what she would do.


Given the circumstances, he can do without that pressure.

So, what can we expect when this race is simply a stepping stone to her next assignment, the $200,000 Tarzino Trophy at Hastings in three weeks.

Well, even allowing for significant improvement out of this race, if Volpe Veloce is to win at group one level in three weeks, she must go close here with just 54kg in a much easier field.

Track conditions? Good question.

The class filly last year took the Castletown Stakes at Wanganui on a heavy track, the remainder of her races being on decent footing.

Class comes in here. Top class horses find a way to win when they can't win. Volpe Veloce was clearly better than those she met last season and she was always determined to show it. A wet track at Wanganui was not sufficient to suppress her class above the opposition. One element underpinned every performance - determination. Only a too-far 2000m beat her in her final appearance.

Te Rapa was officially a slow 8 yesterday.

With no further rain predicted before Saturday evening, at least some improvement could be expected and Volpe Veloce should manage.

Te Rapa tips

Deserves this:

Bee Tee Junior, R2, Te Rapa; Excellent minor placing here and from a handy barrier is well placed to get the run of the race for Troy Harris.

Now very solid: High Class, R7, Te Rapa. Took a while to come to her best form after a brilliant winning debut as a juvenile. Racing consistently and this is a winnable race.

Close to a win: Avant, R6, Te Rapa. Would not need to improve much to take this. The wide gate at 1600m at Te Rapa is not necessarily disaster.