In-from trainer Nigel Tiley will have to cop a little loss before what should be another winning day at Avondale today.
Tiley should have had the easiest start a horse trainer can have to a race meeting today, with the meeting supposed to be on his home track at Pukekohe before a midweek deluge saw the surface become too wet for fair racing.
"It was supposed to be a case of just taking them down the hill to race, which is always a bonus," says Tiley.
"But from a form point of view, it shouldn't matter. While it is always nice to race on your home track, the horses who handle the really wet tracks at this time of the year can usually carry that form to other tracks."
Team Tiley have been the must-follow stable in the north since racing's return from Covid-19 lockdown, with weekly winners being booted home by debutant apprentice Callum Jones, who is making the most of his 4kg claim.
Avondale raced only three days ago and with the track favoured on pace runners, Tiley, one of our great jockeys before becoming an astute trainer, expects it to favour leaders again today.
"The rail has gone out 8m to find new ground and those horses who can get handy and dictate their own line should have an advantage."
Tiley dominates the market for the feature race today — race five — with two last-start winners in Lupelani (1) and Gorgeous Geisha (7) as well as former Auckland Guineas winner Demonetization (2).
The latter is almost certainly the most talented of the trio but is fresh up and will carry his full 62.5kg weight, with Leith Innes riding, whereas the stable's other pair both have apprentice claims.
"He is forward enough to go well but that is a big weight so I think Gorgeous Geisha is our best chance," says Tiley.
"She won well last start, has really developed and carries only 51kg. And she has speed so I think she will be handy. So she is the one to beat."
However, Tiley isn't sure if that makes her the stable's best chance for the day as Diogenes (R6, No 7) and Macushla (R4, No 7) both won well in the wet last start.
Diogenes finds himself only two starts out of maidens and racing a one-time Melbourne Cup hope in Blue Breeze so today is clearly his biggest test but with Jones claiming he also gets down to 51kg, a huge advantage over the topweights.
Blue Breeze is the interest runner on the programme — good enough to run third in Auckland and Counties Cups before an Australian campaign last spring went pear-shaped.
He won fresh up over 1400m on a heavy track this time last year but, like Demonetization a race earlier, his weight will be an issue.
"Macushla won well last start and she can win again, too, so we could be in for a good day," says Tiley.
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Nigel Tiley: "We can win two or three races all going well but maybe Macushla (Pukekohe, R4) or Gorgeous Geisha (Pukekohe, R5) are our best."
Stephen Ralph: "Tunzagutz (Pukekohe, R8) was really tough on the heavy track last week and she has to be hard to beat again."
Craig Grylls: "Windy Height (Pukekohe, R3) likes it heavy and can run handy which gives him a chance."
Michael Pitman: "Confessional (Riccarton, R5) only carries 51kg and is better drawn this week."