SATURDAY’S RACING

Waikato Cup meeting

The Waikato Cup is the feature race on Saturday and it looks like MONGOLIAN MARSHAL in this after finishing a strong 2nd in the Counties Cup last time out. His formline is 1212 and he is well-weighted with 53.5kg but his odds will be short. IGRAINE will be the hardest to beat. She won the Counties Cup last time out.

LOVE AFFAIR ticks all of the right boxes and looks the winner of the WFA for fillies and mares. She finished second to LIZZIE L’AMOUR in the race last year and should be too good with another year on her. Love Affair won well at Ellerslie 1st December. Lizzie La’mour will again be her race rival. It is interesting to note that she won the Waikato Cup 2 years ago. NICOLETTA is the other major chance but seems to be just below the really top class mares.

The open Handicap sprint is an interesting race with no obvious chance but UGO FOSCOLO is unbeaten on the course in three starts and has to be one of the main chances. DONNA ANNE BILLY is in the form of her life though with 3 wins and a fifth from her last four starts and has only 54kg. SAVE THE DATE is one for longer odds as she finished 5th at WFA at Pukekohe last time out.

An angle I was looking at was taking last race winners trained by top trainers at feature meetings; I have found two horses trained by the Baker/Forsman team who won their last start and they are racing at Te Rapa on Saturday; LOVE AFFAIR (race 6) and HINCHIN POWER (race 9)

At Awapuni, all eyes will be on the Eulogy Stakes, a Group 3 race for 3-year-old fillies with another Baker/Forsman runner QUEEN OF DIAMONDS entered but she beat a maiden field last time out. The going could be a factor so it pays to wait until later on in the week.

The Manawatu Cup trial is the lead up to the Cup the following week with DUPLICITY looking the one to beat as he won at the meeting last year and from 4 starts on the course has won twice and finished placed twice. The Gary Vile pair of ROCK ON and JACKSSTAR are also worth watching.

Crispin selected at Wingatui

CRISPIN is the only horse I am interested in on Friday at Wingatui. She was one of those I had on my list from the Cromwell meeting 2nd December. She has won at the course & distance and I think she is worth a bet on Friday and again the folowing start. Friday’s meeting has cheap stakes so you cannot be sure which horses are out to win.

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KOOL CONNECTION BEST VALUE RUNNER TODAY

Owen Patrick looks great chance at Hastings

OWEN PATRICK (race 6) looks a great chance to make a winning return to racing at Hastings today; he has won one race from 7 starts but what is significant is that he has done most of his racing against much better opposition that he faces today and today’s opposition is well-within his scope. Fitness or lack of it will not be an issue as he won a trial recently (4th December) at Avondale.GWENDOLINE ROSE may be a danger but she is a 3-year-old filly so will find it tough against the older horses.

KOOL CONNECTION has to be a chance in race 2 as she has been racing against good competition; she last raced at Ellerslie 1st December and has a nice weight.

Selections;

KOOL CONNECTION (race 2)

NAVAL FLEET (race 3)

OWEN PATRICK (race 6)

NAVAL FLEET (race 7)

JAGUAY (race 8)

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HORSES TO NOTE FROM RICCARTON

Horses to watch

These are horses that raced at Riccarton last Friday that are worth keeping in mind;

THE SWISS MAESTRO

Pitman trained runner who won at Riccarton and Riccarton maiden winners do have a habit of repeating.

DECISION KEPT

b & R Wilson trained 3-year-old filly who finished 2nd on debut on Friday. Wet ground won’t worry her.

FLY TO THE SKY

Won well at Riccarton on Friday; that being his 2nd win from 5 starts. 40% strike rate so far is a good horse’s record.

JOHNNY JONES

Comes right at this time every year and liable to win at Wingatui or Waikouiti.

HE KIN FLY

4th to Enzo’s Lad and Johnny Jones at Riccarton last Friday but better suited to more modest company.

FLYTIME

3rd to Enzo’s Lad and Johnny Jones when 21 points lower than Jonnny Jones and 32 points lower than Enzo’s Lad. Better suited in someething easier

BLANCO BAY

Kenny Rae trained runner. Finished 4th in the 1600m maiden. Better suited in slow/heavy going

STRATTON

Noel Coulbeck trained runner who needs it wet

PINUP COUP

4th on Friday. Won during New Year period last year and likely to do likewise again

SHANZINO

Wasn’t too far away in the 1800m race on Friday. Quite capable of winning two or three in a row and next start could be the day.

GLOSS

Disappointing on Friday but still improving. Needs the sting out of the track. Wingatui or Timaru could be the meetings. Chris Johnson seems to ride her when she wins.

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Waikato Cup (Group 3) 2400m

Past winners

YEAR    WINNER                      LAST RACE                               FORM              WEIGHT

2017    FIVE TO MIDNIGHT     2nd Counties Cup                    8042                56kg

2016    LIZZIE L’AMOUR          6th Ellerslie                             1615                53kg

2015    VAVASOUR                  1st Counties Cup                     4441                59kg

2014    SURPASS                      4th Kensington (Aust)             4084                55.5kg

2013    MORE THAN SACRED  1st Counties                            8021                53kg

2012    ANNIE HIGGINS           4th Counties Cup                    7314                53kg

This can be a trappy type of race to find a winner with Lizzie L A’mour the only winner I had backed of this lot. I backed Vavasour in the counties Cup but thought 59kg would be beyond her in this race but she proved me wrong.

Group 2 Fillies & Mares WFA 1600m

YEAR    WINNER                      LAST RACE                               FORM              AGE

2017    LIZZIE L’AMOUR          unplaced Geelong Cup            7600                5

2016    COLD PLAY                  1st Ellerslie                             50×11              4

2015    STOLEN DANCE           1st Ellerslie                             1×211              4

2014    SPORTS ILLUSTRATED 1st Ellerslie                             47×21              4

2013    DIADEME                    6th WFA Pukekohe                  45×46              5

2012    SHEZ SENSATIONAL     1st Ellerslie (WFA)                   70.11               5

Stolen Dance is the only winner I had backed of this lot; the winner usually comes from within the first 4 favourites in this race which was the case with all these winners

Group 3 Open Sprint at Te Rapa

YEAR      WINNER                               LAST RACE                                           FORM                   WIN-RATE

2017       ROYAL SUCCESS 2nd Ohcp Tauranga                         6×212                    45.45%

2016       THEE AULD FLOOZIE        5th Couplands Mile (Ricc)             6115                       29.16%

2015       NATUZZIE                            9th Listed sprint Otaki                    254×9                    28.12%

2014       TOMORROWLAND          1st Otaki                                              1511                       66%

2013       PIZZAZZ                7th LIsted sprint Pukekohe          00×7                       18.51%

2012       SIR LOVESALOT                 1st Pukekohe                                    31×51                    40%

Note; the win-rate is the percentage of wins to starts. Sir Lovesalot had 4 wins from 10 starts giving him a 40% win-rate. Tomorrowland had 4 wins from 6 starts giving him a win-rate of 66%

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APPLE’S SHAKIRA WORTH BACKING IN ENGLAND

Pilote D’ Essai well-placed in the Pakenham Cup

The Pakenham Cup is the feature race at Pakenham today and PILOTE D’ ESSAI looks a great chance! He ran a blinder in the Ballarat Cup 2 weeks ago and remains on a nice weight of 54kg. I think most of the horses in the race will have difficulty conceding weight to him. At Ballarat he had most of his rivals struggling and only Kawai managed to head him off. Kiwai is up 2kg to 59kg this time so has to give Pilote D’ Essai 5kg. Another thing to note is that Pilote D’ Essai has started once at Pakenham for one win. DAL HARRALD, second at SAndown lasrt time out behind Tosen Stardom will probably be favourite but has to carry 60kg.

The Middle Distance Angle

Last week I backed last start winner Suspence who was unbeaten past a mile so I have searched through the fields to see how many horses I can find with that kind of profile and here is what I have come up with.

Trenthan race 3, RED CLOUD

Ellerslie, race 3, SUNBURST

Ellerslie, race 8, STARRYBEEL

Don’t ignore Vermont

VERMONT starts in race 8 at Ellerslie today and should not be underestimated if the tracl comes back to a dead 4 or 5. She is vulnerable on wet tracks but quite capable on a reasonable track. Pukekohe was just too wet for her 2 weeks ago and she was scratched at Ellerslie last Saturday when the forecast wasn’t too flash.Vermont will be at long odds.

Her form is 1810 and I remember someone having a system that involved backing horses that have won their second to last and their fourth to last races and did not win their last or third to last races.

APPLE’S SHAKIRA LOOKS GOOD BET AT SANDOWN (UK)

APPLE’S SHAIKRA looks well-worth backing in the 2:25PM at Sandown (UK). HE has had 6 starts over hurdles for 4 wins with the two races he never won against much tougher opposition than he meets today. Those two races were at Cheltenham and Aintree. At 7/2 Apple’s Shakira has to be a good bet.

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Captain Cook Stakes at Trentham tomorrow

Jon Snow has the class but….

Dark Princess ready to take the crown!

A wet track will be a major factor at Trentham tomorrow and as far as the Captain Cook Stakes goes, it has to be factored in to your selections but I am going for DARK PRINCESS because she is in brilliant form at the moment and is competent on wet tracks. She won the Thompson Handicap on the same course and distance 28th October and at around $10FF is at good odds but I expect those odds to shorten. JON SNOW is the class horse and certainly has to be the one to beat. He has raced against top Australian opposition and like Dark Princess handles wet ground well. It will pay to back these two in the Captain Cook Stakes.

SHE’S POPPY could be the bolter here as she is proficient in wet ground and is on a 7-day backup. Also horses can and do manage to win when coming back in distance at Trentham as it’s a testing track. She is at $31FF

My other selections are;

Race 2-BLONDINI

Going for a four-timer and well-placed to get it here.

Race 3-HIGH QUALITY

Like Blondini, won at Otaki last time out. Has a 4 kilo claimer aboard so is vulnerable. This is the Chalmers Stakes which has been shortened to 2500m this year.

Race 6-TIPPERARY MARY

On a 7-day backup and has a good record in the wet.

Race 7-BRUNO KELLY

Raced in the group 3 Wellington Stakes at Levin 30th November and the start before ran a cracking race. FEARLESS & HOCICO BLANCO are other chances.

Race 9-JESSIE GEE

This is the most open field of the day but JESSIE GEE is 3rd up this time, handles wet ground, and is up to her favourite distance.

Riccarton today

There may be one or two horses worth backing at Riccarton today but…..

it is hard to tell which horses will be just going around for a run and which ones are out to win with cheap stakes on offer and so much racing to look forward to at Christmas-New Year time.

I see GLOSS is in race 9; she has a reasonable record in cheap races, has a 4kg claimer aboard but has a poor record at Riccarton. I wonder what her record at Riccarton is when she is racing for less than 20k.

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PITMAN STABLE WORTH WATCHINBG IN THE COMING WEEKS

Pitman barn worth watching in coming weeks

The Pitman yard are worth following in the next few weeks; they have a number of runners lined up at Riccarton tomorrow but I think they will be affected by the softening of the ground.;

Here are the stable’s runners;

Race 1-THE SWISS MAESTRO

Not far away on seasonal reappearance and looks ready to run a big one here

Race 2-SMILE

Drawn the ace but has not raced for a long time so will have to be taken on trust or wait until Christmas time.

Race 3-WHY ME, MAGIC NOTE, and MIRO SLAVA

These horses have been racing against good companyy at Riccarton and likely improvers here

Race 4-ENZO’S LAD< MONTOYA STAR, and MR TYPHOON

Enzo’s Lad is the Telegraph winner from lasrt season and this would be the cheapest race he has started in for a long time however the same could be said for the other two as well. This trio needs a decent track though.

Race 5-LUNAR LADY

Struggling for form and will be at long odds.

Race 6-CEE SHARP

Hinted that winning form is approaching with a 4th last time out but drawn wide here

Race 7-SHANZINO

This has to be the stable’s best chance of the day. He was in good form in the Autumn which included a win on the course. Gets his opportunity here. SOUTHERN SAV is the stable’s other chance but he is now 9 and struggling to find form.

Race 8-PINUP COUP

Smart mare but really needs a decent track. MONZA CIRCUITO from the MIke McCann barn has to be the danger being a last race Riccarton maiden winner.

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CHALMERS STAKES PAST WINNERS

Chalmers Handicap at Trentham 2 miles 8 December

Past winners

YEAR    WINNER                                  FORM              WEIGHT           LAST RACE                                           Race record

2017    HIGH SPIRITS                           0x915              54kg                5th 2200 Otaki 8 days ago                  19-2-1-1

2016    JACKSSTAR                              70943              54kg                3rd 2200m Awapuni 23 days ago       25-4-4-3

2015    PENTHATHLON                       0111                57kg                1st 2500m Riccarton 21 days ago       15-4-0-1

2014    MR COOL BOY            7225                55kg                5th 2040 Wanganui 7 days ago          25-3-3-3

2013    PUMP UP THE VOLUME          4666                58kg                6th 2400m Pukekohe 14 days ago     18-3-4-2

The ground could play a part in the Chalmers Stakes at Trentham on Saturday so looking around at possible contenders, OPHELIA LEE looks a good prospect if starting. The 5-year-old mare is trained by David and Emma Howarth; she won easily on Feilding Cup day in slow going, in fact all of her wins and places have been on slow and heavy going. I think though that she could win on a dead track at 2 miles. It is noticeable that many 2 miles winners have heavy track form. Ophelia Lee finished 4th at Otaki 30th November on a dead 6 track. She was ridden by Jonathan Parkes that day. A noticeable trend of Chalmers Stakes winners are that they are all ridden by experienced riders. Chris Johnson and Opie Bossom were among successful riders in previous Chalmers Stakes.

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