Horse trainers don't tend to enjoy taking horses to the races that they probably can't win, especially if they are their stable stars.

But trainer Graham Richardson says even if that proves to be the case with Tiptronic at Ellerslie tomorrow, he still could go home a happy man.

A Group 1 winner just three starts ago in the Herbie Dyke at Te Rapa, Tiptronic is the best horse in Race 8 (1600m) but because of that he has to cop carrying 60kg topweight.

That was originally 62kg — apprentice Darren Danis' claim shaves off 2kg — but even that won't be easy to carry, especially as most of the field have just 54kg.


Tiptronic has won carrying 60kg at Ellerslie before and Richardson says the big weight isn't his main concern.

"The track conditions are the key for him," says Richardson, who trains in partnership with Rogan Norvall.

"He is a big-actioned horse and wants it slow at the absolute worst and ideally better than that."

Ellerslie was rated a slow8 last night and could get back to a dead6 with drying weather which would hugely aid Tiptronic and the race's other class act in Fiscal Fantasy.

But Richardson, like so many trainers of elite horses with huge weights, knows that tomorrow isn't just about winning.

"Sure, we would love to win but these good horses are getting ready for the bigger races, too," he explains.

"We are setting him for the Livamol [Hastings, October 17] so this is a step towards that and he will probably have another race in a few weeks.

"So he could go really well in this race but it only takes one of those horses on 54kg to have a better run and we get beat. Which is often how it goes with these good horses carrying big weights at this stage of the season."

Tiptronic faces a massive task at Ellerslie tomorrow with a heavy top weight. Photo / Trish Dunell
Tiptronic faces a massive task at Ellerslie tomorrow with a heavy top weight. Photo / Trish Dunell

Although the long list of 54kg runners in the race with the huge weight advantage may appeal to punters, the reality is not many of them jump off the page as horses you want to back to beat the top weights.

Central Districts visitor Penelope Cruise is second favourite but she was winning in rating 65 grade only three starts ago.

The other Group 1-winning attraction, Sherwood Forest, who won the Vodafone Derby last time he was on this track, has to carry an even bigger weight (62kg) in the other key flat race tomorrow, with Michael McNab in the saddle so he doesn't claim. But he has plenty of class runners around him, like Concert Hall and Two Illicit, so his weight doesn't look quite so out of whack.