Cote D'Or has a blemish on her report card going into tomorrow's $100,000 Travis Stakes at Te Rapa, but it might pay to ignore it.
The unplaced effort was her sixth in the Group 1 Breeders Stakes at Te Aroha. Miss Wilson was an impressive winner of that race and thoroughly deserved it, but there is no denying the track that day brought more than a few fancied runners undone. No explanation, but occasionally these things can happen in horse racing.
Cote D'Or can finish off strongly in her races and it was notable, like many others on the day, that it was difficult to make ground from behind.That was at 1600m and the step up to 2000m should be ideal. This time last year Cote D'Or won over 2100m at Tauranga and again at 2200m here.
Victory by Mime would be timely with the Murray Baker/Andrew Forsman stable passing the 100 winners for the season with its Ambitious Winner, Startling Reminder double at Tauranga on Thursday. "That makes $5.2 million in stakes for the season and it makes us on target to beat our best tally of 114 two seasons back," said Baker.
Mime won this race last year and won't mind if some of the anticipated rain arrives. "She won't mind if the track is wet and loose — she's won at Te Rapa when it's like that — but she wouldn't want it to get too deep."
Mime has had two starts this preparation. She needed the first run at Manawatu then found the track too deep and heavy at Counties last time. This race suits perfectly. She has had four starts at Te Rapa for two wins and a placing.
The 2000m record of Thee Auld Floozie is not impressive on paper, but that does not tell the entire story. She finished fifth to Mime in this race last year and although she had her chance she was just 1.4 lengths from the winner. A year earlier she made up six lengths in the home straight to finish fourth to Rasa Lila and her second to Endure in the Manawatu Breeders, a run that could easily have seen her win, showed she is not a complete duffer at the distance, even if 1600m is her pet.
Nicoletta, who has struggled to win one, finished third to Miss Wilson and on that run she deserves consideration for a place show at least.
All eyes will be on class act Volpe Veloce when she comes back from a spell in Race 2. She has 60kg topweight, but is unbeaten fresh from a break and will take plenty of beating. If the fine mare becomes vulnerable, Love Affair, also resuming from a spell, could get the better of her, but Volpe Veloce will start odds-on.
The $70,000 Inglis Sales Cambridge Breeders Stakes is an intriguing contest. Favourite when the TAB opened its Final Field market yesterday was Paulownia at $4.80 ahead of Prom Queen at $5.80 and $6.80 for Hanger. You can make a case for each of that trio.
Hanger has been so impressive, particularly getting the money on an unsuitably heavy track at Pukekohe last start. Paulownia probably didn't completely cop the surface when narrowly beaten into second and is a filly of massive class. She will be best suited if the rain does not arrive before this late race.
Prom Queen was taken on in that same Te Rapa race and should be improved for that run. A hugely interesting race, one which will probably be decided by the conditions.