When chasing a Pick6 set to go well north of $200,000 there are few words punters love to hear more than "anchor".

Although the words "group one horse" might just top that, especially in the depths of winter for a terminating Pick6 spread across two heavy tracks.

That is the terribly tempting position punters find themselves in this afternoon when meetings that might have been otherwise easy to ignore at Te Rapa and Awapuni become that much more attractive.

Any time Pick6 is guaranteed to $200,000 with over $100,000 in dead money in the pool it ignites punters' interest, especially when it is terminating so has to be struck today.


It is a cunning TAB tactic, daring punters to at least look at the fields and once engaged they might play. And with that Pick6 research done they might be tempted to bet more into the same races.

So as marketing ploys go, it works.

The problem with winter tracks isn't the fact the horses aren't as good as during the premiers of summer. After all, there is still going to be a winner, or in this case six. Apples with apples, and all that.

The woe of winter is a horse can handle a Heavy10 one start, tackle the same surface the next week and perform dreadfully only for the jockey to return to scale and say "it didn't handle the track."

That opens up the punting possibilities because the usual determinants of class, fitness, draws and jockeys all often matter less than whether your pony actually likes this week's mud as much as last week's mud.

That means spreading the net wider in most legs which also means needing an anchor.

Enter Helena Baby and trainer John Bell. If they aren't your anchor for today's terminating turbo then you probably don't have one.

The big grey son of Guillotine has only had five starts but since the tracks have got wet he has won the last three by an average of five lengths.


He stays at 1400m for today's opening leg of the Pick6 (race six at Te Rapa) and while he is up from Rating72 to Rating82, his trainer has no concerns about that.

"This is a group one horse, I have no doubts about that," says Bell.

"But we won't get to see that here.

"He will have this start and probably go to the Opunake Cup at New Plymouth in two weeks and then we will be gone to Hong Kong.

"His owner wants him up there to replace another horse and while I would love to keep him here it is hard to argue with his logic. So he won't be around for much longer."

Bell says Helena Baby is at least as good for today as when he jogged home at Ellerslie last start and crucially has the ability to stay handy.

"The way the kickback can be at Te Rapa that is very important and he is good enough, and fit enough, to sit up on the speed and take the kickback out of play."

There is no shortage of form in the other two Te Rapa legs, with seven last-start winners in them, and plenty of horses who have performed on heavy tracks, but you might still need at least five horses in each to feel comfortable.

Awapuni's half of the Pick6 doesn't look any easier, with a rating65 over 2100m their first leg that could see at least 50m between first and last while the second leg there is just as tricky.

But the most likely Awapuni anchor, at least on your main ticket, comes directly out of the Helena Baby form line, with Obsessive having finished second to him at Ellerslie.

The Clayton Chipperfield-trained gelding has always shown ability, both his wins have come in the wet and he is strong enough for the strength-sapping Heavy11 that Awapuni is likely to dish up. And Obsessive gets a very handy 3kg claim via apprentice Hazel Schofer, whose career has started with 11 wins from just 43 rides with the promise of much more to come.

Terminating turbo

• Today's Pick6 is guaranteed to $200,000 but likely to go higher.

• It is terminating so must be struck today, so punters would be wise to take a small percentage ticket.

• Being a turbo Pick6 it is spread across three races each at Te Rapa and Awapuni, starting at 2.49pm.