Jason Waddell believes today's richest meeting on the Waikato racing calendar is his kind of day.
"Looking at the fields it is perfect for thinking riders, like me," he says matter-of-factly.
"Today is a day I could look a hero after a couple of the big races or it could be ugly. They are just those sort of races and I enjoy those types of days."
It helps that Waddell has four quality rides at Te Rapa's richest meeting of the season, including the favourite in both $100,000 3-year-old races.
Remarkably Waddell has never ridden any of his four group race rides today in a race or even a trial.
But he believes he can make up for that lack of quality time together with acres of research.
"I have been suspended for a while so I have been going hard out researching all these races, watching videos, reading every press report."
So what has the masterfully talented jockey learned from all that swat?
"This is going to be a tricky day," he laughs.
"Because I am on some really good horses but I will have some interesting choices."
Case in point NZ Derby favourite Dragon Leap, who Waddell says maybe shouldn't even be the favourite for today's $100,000 Legacy Lodge Waikato Guineas.
"I think he is a very good horse but I think he should be equal favourite with Travelling Light, not the $1.95 favourite," he offers.
"Everybody knows how good he is but this isn't his grand final and the filly (Travelling Light) is very, very good.
"We will both probably settle off a good speed and it might come down to who gets their timing right but I am not going out there thinking he will be too good for them."
Waddell thinks Jennifer Eccles will be perfectly suited by barrier one in the A$100,000 Ellis Fillies Classic — for the first 1600m of the race.
"The barrier is great to get her to relax in her first 2000m race but at some stage it could be tricky.
"I think Brahma Sunset will lead with Leith (Innes) on and Showbeel will be up there with Opie (Bosson) and those quality of riders don't give you gaps and you can't move them out of the way.
"If I wait for an inside run Leith could shut the gate while I want to make sure Loire out wide doesn't get momentum up on us and get past us," he said.
"The thing in my filly's favour is she has a very sharp 250m sprint so she doesn't need to be out and winding up at the 400m mark. But I could get very tactical."
When it comes to today's weight-for-age races Waddell is thrilled to pick up the rides on Tiptronic in the $400,000 Herbie Dyke and The Mitigator in the $200,000 BCD Group Sprint. He just wishes he could swap their draws.
"If Tiptronic has drawn one to three I'd give him a great chance of getting some serious money but from barrier 10 over 2000m at Te Rapa, I don't know what to do.
"I will have to keep thinking about that one."
The Mitigator's ace draw looks ideal for a natural leader but Waddell would have been happy to swap as he thinks he could have ambled to the front from almost anywhere.
But once in front he says there is no point waiting for the favourite Te Akau Shark and Avantage.
"If I can get even one soft sectional I then have to be off and rolling at the 600m, hopefully with two lengths on them.
"If I can do that he can get some good money but we all know how hard it is going to be against those top horses."
There are just 32 horses in today's four group races, although they all have enough winning chances that punters will get their chance and you wouldn't want to be taking odds on about anything in the features.
But today isn't just about the horses, as world class as some of them may be.
"Small fields can be tricky, very tactical.
"Sometimes it is the jockeys who win the races on days like this one," says Waddell.
"That suits me."
What: Te Rapa's richest race meeting of the year
When: Today, first race 12.25pm
Races: Four group races including New Zealand's richest weight-for-age race the $400,000 Herbie Dyke Stakes.
Star watching: Te Akau Shark, Avantage, Kiwi Ida, Enzo's Lad, Travelling Light, Dragon Leap, True Enough, On The Rocks, Jennifer Eccles, Loire (to name a few).
Watch: Coverage starts on Trackside 1 (online at www.tab.co.nz) with the Punters Lounge from 10.30am.
$200,000, M2 Te Rapa, WFA, 1400m, today 4.30pm
1. 2223X Te Akau Shark (4) Opie Bosson (59) $1.65 $1.05
2. 21041 The Mitigator (1) Jason Waddell (59) $31.00 $3.30
3. 0X006 Endless Drama (5) Leith Innes (59) $31.00 $3.30
4. 03024 Enzo's Lad (8) Michael Coleman (59) $51.00 $3.90
5. 900X2 More Wonder (2) Ryan Elliot (59) $71.00 $4.60
6. 28721 Avantage (6) Troy Harris (57) $2.70 $1.15
7. 73111 Kiwi Ida (7) Chris Johnson (57) $9.50 $1.75
8. 98X62 Volpe Veloce (3) Michael McNab (57) $9.50 $1.75