There is one question to be answered - do we assume yesterday's and today's rain will greatly affect the Te Rapa form, or do we press ahead with the form as we know it.

The answer will be more obvious by the time you read this, but the first option looks the more sensible.

Kawi first. No, he's not going to be totally suited by the footing facing him today in the BCD Group Sprint, but he appears to have so much on the opposition here he could well get away with it.

It certainly won't be worse than when he finished third behind Ponderosa Miss and Vesper, beaten a head and a nose, in the 2015 version of the Manco Easter at Ellerslie.


Trainer Allan Sharrock believes Kawi is in the best form of his career.

Heroic Valour and Packing Eagle are almost certainly going to be disadvantaged by the rain-affected footing, so Kawi still has a fair bit on his side.

Start Wondering, although best on top of the ground, can manage some softening of the footing and is hugely better placed than in handicaps at his most recent starts. Also, he is unbeaten in two visits to Te Rapa.

Elusive Treasure and Brilliant Shine won't mind rain and the mystery horse is Sacred Star, although the better the track the better his chances.

The $400,000 Herbie Dyke Stakes is much more open on a track that probably won't inconvenience too many runners. The rain has probably negated the barrier draws, with those drawn wide less problematic than on a very firm surface. Lizzie L'Amour (No7, R6) is probably still entitled to favouritism. She is versatile and the 2000m is her preferred distance at this point, coming off a 1400m race. Wait A Sec (No2) looks suited and as we've said, take no notice of his last start eighth at Taranaki a week ago. Even against stronger overall quality here he is better placed this time.

Rangipo's (No5) form has been excellent, particularly his close fourth in the Rich Hill Mile and the 2000m here with a bit of rain around will see him extremely competitive. Coldplay (No8) and Devise (No4) are right in the party in what should be a marvellous race, despite the conditions.

Small fields are always tricky and the opener today is no exception. Visitor Soleseifei (No4) has form in the wet and should get a cosy run in behind the leaders from an inside barrier, something that can still be an issue, even in seven-horse fields. Sasanof's Hero (No3) keeps improving and rates highly in this field and Epae Road (No7) might do better with the addition of blinkers, a recommendation of last week's rider Jake Bayliss.

One of the toughest wins these days is the next start after a winning debut, but the O'Sullivan/Scott-trained Show Hands (No5, R2) was so stylish winning on his home track he deserves consideration today. He is worth backing and staying with because he looks a young horse of significant ability. Melbourne Born (No4) has the draw to get a nice economical run.

Patch Man (No4, R3) is the only unraced baby in this 1200m juvenile and that can often bring horses undone, but we liked the Cambridge barrier trial and we're going to give him a chance. He finished that trial strongly even though beaten and should be suited out to 1200m. In an even line-up Valalie (No7) and Beam Of Light (No6) are first-start winners who rate highly.

We've been waiting for Kapoor (No3, R4) to get to her first step out at 2000m and it arrives today. She is hugely talented, has not always had enormous good luck and has done extremely well to put together a remarkably consistent record. She comes in here with a lovely barrier and won't mind the cut in the ground. She will get her chance in a suitable race, albeit a strong field. Dijon Bleu (No2) will appreciate the rain. Her No 7 gate is just a touch awkward, but she has lots of class. So has Belle Du Nord (No1). The No 11 gate is ugly at this starting point and it will be interesting to see what Johnathan Parkes will do, although going back would appear to be likely. Milseain (No8) was terrific winning on debut even though in maiden class and had no luck when third at Trentham.

Skyweka (No5, R5) deserves some luck. She has drawn the right gate to get that luck and looks a good each-way prospect. Monrecour (No9) has raced well in fields as strong as this.

If Felaar (No1, R9) copes with the conditions he should clean up the last. His win two back at Ellerslie was stunning and he had no luck at all at Trentham when second last start. He has no form in the wet, but most by his sire Ekraar manage rain pretty well. Dream Dancer (No7) and Kirkenes (No2) are multiple hopes and can win if the favourite does not manage conditions.

Jockeys' best

A selection of New Zealand's leading jockeys offer their best rides for the weekend and, where applicable, last week's result.
Opie Bosson: Copper Mine — Pukekohe (race four) (Lily The Pink — scratched)
Matt Cameron: Legramor — Te Rapa (race seven) (Matauri — unplaced)
Alysha Collett: Felaar — Te Rapa (race nine) (Joe's Legacy — 1st)
Mark Du Plessis: Madam Woo — Pukekohe (race seven) (Platinum Mam'selle — 2nd)
Johnathan Parkes: Wait A Sec — Te Rapa (race six) (Darscape Princess — 1st)
Jonathan Riddell: Dijon Bleu — Te Rapa (race four)

Dillon's tips

Best: Kawi, taking the chance on conditions.
Each-way: Rangipo, Skyweka, Kapoor.
Best roughie: Arraignment

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