Lack of horse numbers in each case has demoted Race 1, 2 and 3 to the start of the raceday at Te Rapa tomorrow, but they are the most interesting betting propositions.
On paper, Cambridge trainer Chris Wood holds a strong hand in the opener with Roc de Bank and Wooden Edge engaged, but Roc de Bank is likely to run instead in Race 3, for which Mark Hills has been engaged.
That will open the possibility of Wooden Edge establishing his account for the current preparation. Part-owned by former outstanding rider Gary Edge, Wooden Edge has a pretty good record in a relatively short career, particularly at Te Rapa. It would pay to forget his beaten performance when resuming last start. He got into trouble in the running and returned with cuts to his back legs. Wooden Edge is well up to winning this and with Darren Danis' 3kg allowance he is going around with just 52.5kg.
Local Justacanta has won one of his three starts this preparation and there has been plenty to like about the other couple of runs. He makes it tough for himself by getting back in early running, but with a small field here much of that could be negated. He looks the obvious danger in an interesting field.
Roc de Bank will go close in Race 3. He won stylishly on this track fresh from a spell and, even better, was narrowly beaten by Underthemoon-light and Deals In Heels in a strong line-up. He looks one of the best prospects on the programme.
Experience counts for a lot in 2-year-old races, even at this late stage of the season.
Cyber Attack finished powerfully into second behind the extremely talented Peaceful over 1400m on this track last start. He drops back to 1200m this, but stayed handy last start and he should be ideally suited by the compact field. He looks a progressive horse for the Pike stable. This should be a step up the ladder.
Classy mare Rosewood looks the goods for the feature at the Marton meeting at Awapuni, the $35,000 Norwood Farm Machinery 1400.
The conditions look perfect for the mud-lover. The Awapuni track was yesterday rated a heavy 11 and with only 54kg to carry through the testing conditions Rosewood looks a great prospect.
Lisa Allpress has the ride and she is making up for time lost with her injured shoulder.
It's an "off" week at the Queensland winter carnival before next week's 3200m Queensland Cup, in which Megablast will attempt to tidy up his campaign with another victory.
The interest for New Zealand lies in Sydney where former Kiwi 3-year-old (Mr) Haussmann makes his second appearance for Chris Waller.
The first Australian run produced nothing flash, but Haussmann will have learned and he has a couple of things in his favour — a heavy track and James McDonald aboard. In the same race is Cambridge-trained Mofara, ridden by Kathy O'Hara.