Redemption week. We tipped a decent bet in Race 1 at Te Rapa last Saturday with disastrous results.
It pulled hard and sat three wide without cover before deciding that just wasn't his week. Still, you can disregard a lot of the beaten form from last week, many, many horses were not coping with the sane kick-back.
We'll go for Race 1 again (at Ruakaka today), this time with the favourite Fluorobus, who looked so smart finishing a close second on debut. He had a slight setback following that run, but will be fit enough for this. Don't be surprised if Rocket Fuel turns in big debut run from a nice barrier.
Plenty of form in Race 2 and one of the best of them is Revered (No1). His three placings in his last trio of runs have looked good and the four weeks between runs should have him nice and fresh for Nigel Tiley. Salt Bay's (No11) Hastings effort last start was just okay, but her close Tauranga second the time before was a cracker. She has only to run up to that effort to take beating. The 1400m will suit.
Tipping horses having their first look at Ruakaka is often risky, especially when they are coming off a debut effort on a heavy track at Matamata. But we will take the risk on Showcoblu (No1, R3). He hit the line strongly in that run and will not be a maiden for long. Viva La Burgundy (No4) has the advantage of being trained on the track and has already shown his liking for it.
He should be right in the action.
Big Mike (No1, R4) was our big tip last week and on the surface he had every chance when leading with no pressure applied, but took one look at the home straight and decided he didn't want to, or couldn't, play. We are taking the odds to it being the shifty track that brought him undone as it did with many runners on the day. Ruakaka should suit him much better and we will give him the benefit of doubt. Youwantmore (No4) is the value runner. She has been given four weeks to freshen after a shocker at Te Rapa, which was a back-up to the terrible conditions of the Rotorua Cup. Zanyetta (No5) is right in the race after his Te Rapa victory.
Race 5 could be a bit of a trick. You either go hard on Ambitious Warrior (No4) or look for better odds. Trouble with that is any of the others can win. Ambitious Warrior has the form on the board and deserves his favouritism. But Nailed It (No2) and He's Cavalier (No5) will offer better odds and look each-way prospects.
Rockabyebaby (No7, R6) has plenty of talent and is trained on the track by Chris Gibbs. She comes in fresh here and has raced well in that state. The 54.5kg looks appealing. Stablemate Greencast (No3) is not the worst chance. He is also resuming from a break and showed a level of readiness winning an Avondale barrier trial. Vinevale (No8) could surprise.
Hiflyer (No1, R7) faces the toughest task of the day, but then he's the best horse going around all meeting. The 61.5kg is frightening, but he is a stronger horse this preparation and he might just be able to pull it off. Rikki Tikki Tavi (No8) has a massive weight advantage and loves racing on her home track. The same for Spida (No5).
Winkle Dancer (No7, R8) was dominant enough winning here last start to say he can jump up a grade with the same result.
This is not the strongest field of the day.
Owen Patrick (No9, R9) has a future and is just starting to put it all together. He hasn't been tried on this track but we'll take the odds to that. Kyrie Eleison (No13) to get some of the money on her home track.
We're going for value in the last. Playboy Prince (No6, R10) might not be the easiest horse to follow, but he's got ability as well as a fighting spirit on his day. He hasn't won here despite being trained on the track, but he's twice been placed. Go each way. Beaufighter (No3) and True Enough (No8) look dangers.