Improving track conditions might solve one of Beauden's problems in his comeback race at Matamata today.

But he still faces a weighty issue in the feature race of the first day of the new racing season.

The new racing season (horses officially turn a year older today) brings plenty of hope for New Zealand racing, with new racing legislation in place and the promise of potentially better days ahead, albeit with some better communication between the newly-formed TAB NZ and the codes crucial.

For many, just waving goodbye to the mess that was the 2019-20 season will be relief enough.


But one of the horses who came out of last season a winner was Beauden, emerging as a genuine weight-for-age horse with some stunning victories and a luckless third in the Zabeel Classic.

He pays the price for those today as he has to lump the 62kg topweight in the $30,000 open 1400m, made even more challenging by the fact favourite Crystallize will carry just 51.5kg with apprentice Masa Hashizume claiming.

Crystallize is race fit and likely to be on the speed, whereas Beauden could be back and giving him nearly 11kg, not usually a recipe for success.

Beauden's trainer Graeme Rogerson says at least the forecast of a slow rather than heavy track brings Beauden into the fight.

"He might still struggle to show his best on it but it should be better than some of the heavy tracks recently," says Rogerson. "Slow might be okay and he is a really good horse. But the weight worries me because he will be giving the favourite so much of a start.

"Whether he can catch him, I don't know, but he trialled well last start, so I wouldn't be surprised."

Rogerson plans to aim Beauden at the Group 1 races at Hastings, which start later this season, and today will indicate whether he can contest the 1400m first leg on September 19, or if he is better waiting for the 1600m two weeks later.

At least regular rider Ryan Elliot won't need to battle to make Beauden's weight after he, like many senior jockeys, have struggled coming out of lockdown.


"I admire how dedicated he is. He has been wasting hard to make 56.5kg for a couple he wants to ride [today]."

That wasting is so Elliot can ride Born To Fight (R4, No8) and talented mare Lily D'Or (R8, No7).

Co-trainer Pam Gerard thinks they can both go close to winning today.

"I know 1200m is short of Lily D'Or's best, but the way she worked on Tuesday, she can go close," says Gerard.

"And Born To Fight, who spent most of his career in Australia, is a horse I think can go through the grades here, with the slow track this week probably ideal for him."

Gerard also rates Gus The Maverick (R6, No5) as ready to go fresh-up after a recent trial win at Rotorua.


Today's fields have plenty of depth though, with Cyber Attack who was luckless at Te Rapa fresh-up, appealing as one of the better each-way chances in race seven.

*** Champion New Zealand mare Melody Belle looked surprisingly forward winning a star-studded trial in Sydney yesterday.

The 10-time Group 1 winner burst between her rivals at the 100m mark in the hands of Kerrin McEvoy to beat outstanding miler Fierce Impact over 850m.

Melody Belle spelled in Sydney after her autumn campaign and is likely to resume in the A$200,000 Missile Stakes over 1200m at Rosehill next Saturday.

*** Kevin Myers joined an elite group by training four of the five jumping race winners at Awapuni yesterday.

Jumps racing statistician Chris McQuaid confirmed Myers joins John Wheeler as the only other trainers to win four jumps races on the same programme in New Zealand.
Myers' four winners were all ridden by Shaun Fannin while Myers also trained Aigne, who was scratched from a hurdle race, to win the main flat staying race.


That means he won five of the six races he had starters in and finished fourth in the other, won by Wheeler.

*** Racing will return to the north in two weeks with Ruakaka to host its first meeting since lock down on August 15, replacing the scheduled Pukekohe meeting because of concerns over potential track conditions.