Cambridge trainer Tony Pike prepared half of the eight-race card at Hastings on Thursday and he could start New Plymouth off well this afternoon.
Skyweka looks a decent each-way bet in Race 2 for the stable. The useful mare was unlucky two starts back at Ellerslie over the carnival then jumped up to Group 3 class to run in the Anniversary Handicap at Trentham.
She trailed four back and although she didn't feature in the closing 300m, she fought on okay to be just 2.3 lengths from winner Wait A Sec.
Skyweka drops back to Rating 85 grade for this. She ran a closing sectional almost exactly the same as Wait A Sec, who if in this race, would be around $1.50. Scrutinize ran a nice second at Te Rapa last start which was, in effect, his first start back from a long break after standing in the barriers and taking no part at Taupo on January 2. He got home nicely over 1400m at Te Rapa and will appreciate 1600m this time.
Tony Pike produces Anarchy (No5, R1) in the opener and although she is no Melbourne Cup hope, neither are any of the opposition. She should get a good run for Michael McNab from her rails draw.
There could be some value in Race 3. It is extremely open and in these types of races you are better off with a $10 starter than a $4 favourite. On that basis we are putting forward Bruegel (No8) and Danger Dee (No10), at $8.30 and $13 respectively yesterday. Danger Dee might be the each-way go at those odds. He didn't fire at Ellerslie over the carnival last start, but he'd been wide throughout. His previous two were excellent minor placings in fields that would rate a touch better than this line-up. Bruegel has had no luck since winning at Wanganui on December 2.
The talent in Race 4 appears to be down the bottom of the field. Matauri (No12) was huge winning on debut at Avondale, finishing powerfully from three back on the rails in the closing 200m. That was at 1200m and the Ocean Park filly gives every indication of developing as a stayer and should really appreciate getting up to 1400m. She could end up with a very smart rating. Lucidity (No11) gathered them up beautifully to win at Wanganui and is another with real potential. This is a step up from Wanganui, but she won't be out of it.
Bit Lippy (No1, R5) is the warm favourite in the juvenile and that's no surprise. Betting in these 2-year-olds with little exposed form can be tricky, but it will be a major surprise if there is one good enough to produce the type of form Bit Lippy has come up with in three starts. He has really stormed to the winning post to record two seconds and a third, all in stakes company. At around $2 he looks well worth the risk. Wisdom Patch (No2) will be in the action.
Tony Pike can strike again in Race 6 with Caricature (No5). The well bred Power-Octapussy filly could not have created a bigger impression when winning at her second run at Matamata, sitting three wide throughout and surging ahead. As a 3-year-old she had no right to keep going, but showed real stamina to score nicely. This is an Oaks prelude and although Caricature has just two starts behind her, the stable would not have her here at 1800m unless they felt she could cope. Blanco Belle (No1), In The Clear (No2) and Lily The Pink (No3) have the credentials to be the dangers.
It's difficult to get past the weight differentials between the topweights in race 7, the Taranaki Cup.
Authentic Paddy (No1), Wait A Sec (No2) and Scapolo (No3) and the 53kg Seraphim (No13) and Brighton (No14) will carry. That's 7kg and 6.5kg. It will be interesting, but Seraphim makes a lot of appeal on her weight. She will be going for four wins straight and is stepping up in terms of class, but when you are bred from a Caulfield/Melbourne Cup winner (Ethereal) you have a bit going for you. Scapolo (No3) will love the fact there will be at least a small amount of give in the surface.
The last is anyone's guess, but John Wheeler rarely misses winning at least one race at his home meetings so we will go each-way on Irish Flame (No5). There was a bit to like about his Trentham win last start and this race does not look too much stronger. Chic (No10) cannot run a bad race. Irish Mist (No4) is probably a must for multiple tickets.
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