BURT MUNRO (7) finds the near perfect race. He’s such an old warrior, great run at Rotorua running on as per-usual when others were stopping. This race should be his based on all that experience and the love on the grass tracks. And he has a tidy record on this track. SHONA MARY (6) has her first start for Scott Dickson. Has been a very hard horse to follow over time but Scott does find some improvement in them in weaker races. Interesting runner. Maidens EVERMORE (1) and LUCKYANOVA (2) have less convictions, just no experience. They seems handy off workout form. Totes good guide to their chances. BET’S COMMANDO (5) goes fast, also gallops quickly, too, the problem.
SUGGESTED BET: SHONA MARY Eachway
MR BILLIARDS (2) has been consistent enough and strikes the right race to grab that maiden win. In what can be described as a weak field he gets every chance to break through here. AMERICAN ME (5) went to Cambridge to qualify in a two-horse heat, he did his job nicely in running 2:49 for the 2200m. A nice soft option for him on debut though just a two-year-old. Worthy of respect Michael House has JACKHAMMER JOE (1) join him. No form on the circuits to date but is fit off those assignments. May offer much more this time around. SHEIK YABOOTY (6) wasn’t far away last time and grass debut could be a good one.
SUGGESTED BET: MR BILLIARDS Win
AIN’T NOTHING BETTOR (3) was quite brave at Wairarapa on the grass last time, three-wide without cover and swamped late. Should get every conceivable chance in this race and she does look the winner. XMAS BAY (2) looks a very likely danger. Into the House stable off plenty of Xmas racing, returned Jan 25 at Addington in amateur race. Fit and ready to strike this weekend. JONTY KEV (6) also joins House, enough shown by him to rate a chance this quality of field. Adding MAC PAUA (1) who can improve for Doug Gale.
SUGGESTED BET: AIN’T NOTHING BETTOR Win
The strongest field of the day. Each of the eight runners has a winning chance. Going with ALLY MAE (8) given she has found her best form again and that last-start third at Rotorua on the back-up from winning at Te Awamutu suggests she’s thriving on the grass tracks. Hard to beat with plenty of good solid opposition ahead of her. THE BANDIT QUEEN (7) has been great for Scott Dickson. Big win at Wairarapa Jan 2 and saved for this meeting. Obvious claims, she’s very genuine. Both placed very well based on past deeds, last-start winners WICKLOW STAR (2) and SWEET MAGGIE RYAN (4) have to be considered strong chances also. Add 5.
SUGGESTED BET: ALLY MAE Eachway
VON RICHTOFEN (5) ran on well at Addington last Friday night and drops in quality for this. Won his maiden on the grass track at Gore so a few things in his favour here. Must go close. WESTAR SAM (4) is one to have a dollar on. Joins Scott Dickson after some solid enough form in the South Island and as a four-race winner rated R41 he does look very well placed to win. BETTOR TRENZ (2) did fail in weak race at Mot on Sunday. Brave second the start before and will not get many better opportunities than this. Include RANGI RANGDU (6) he’s been there done that many times before.
SUGGESTED BET: WESTAR SAM Eachway
Yet another southern import into the Scott Dickson stable that will likely fire. THE NIGHT HAWK (6) won back-to-back races at Wyndham and Ascot Park in November, since held in higher grades. Back to an R50 rating and though this is his first race on the grass he’ll be well suited as a son of Mach Three. GO GETTA (4) tried hard in Addington amateur last Friday, beaten but very tidy in second spot. Won on the grass at Reefton Dec 30 and should fire on this circuit. FORTUNE SMILES (3) put them away with a good effort on the grass last start, likely to be a free-roller and likely leader here. Could take plenty of running down so a must in all bets. Add PHILLYDOTCOM (7).
SUGGESTED BET: THE NIGHT HAWK Win
Great to see the Wellington Cup live on, albeit a small field. ALTA LEONIE (6) is a smart mare, failed Rotorua last Sunday though not her fault, pushed well back and starved for a run around the turn. Can quickly bounce back and win this. IMOLA (7) started in a NZ Cup back in the day. No others have reached those heights in this race. He gets his chance after an injury interrupted career since then. Luxury for him off just 10m and he does look strong win hope if he performs. The remaining five have some hope, I’d single out MISTER HARRIS (4) on his grass track abilities, as too BILL HALEY (5) who will find this easier than Jack’s Legend and co at Cambridge!
SUGGESTED BET: ALTA LEONIE Win
GAVIN SMITH sends Imola north for Wellington Cup
MAJESTIC ONE (7) has been in flying form. Run down at Rotorua last Sunday, but the way she dispatched a couple of fields over the New Year period would see her winning this. The 40m handicap is not as tough as it looks in the small field. And 50m may not stop NOVEMBER GUY (8). He’s 8st,3w,5pl on grass tracks and 2st,1w,1pl this track, huge statistics. Major chance. LAURA BUSH (4) won twice at the December meeting at Manawatu, since rested. One start on grass for a no-result but expect that change to come this weekend. A great chance with handicap advantage. VALLEY STAR (3) might provide some value off the 10m line, a couple of times unlucky over Xmas-New Year.
SUGGESTED BET: NOVEMBER GUY Eachway
PURE DESIRE (3) won very easily on the grass at Wairarapa since down the track. Return to home region and likely to bounce back to top form. OUR WICKLOW (7) has won six races, two on the grass, and yet rated just R45. Not out of this despite the poor course record of eight starts for no wins or placings. His stablemate EXPRESS PLAY (2) has been badly driven at times, particularly at Wairarapa after getting in a speed duel. Worth a look in the market. Consider them all, but off four wins nine placings on grass JACK BATES (4) gets a look in.
SUGGESTED BET: PURE DESIRE Win