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Saturday preview below

Update 6.17 p.m. Isaurian has been heavily backed in from $4.20 to $2.40 Ff. Hopefully you got on at the better odds earlier. The track is playing perfectly for him where he should trail up a good tempo and drive home the best. $100 win tote

That’s the way to win them! Won easily in the end. $2.10 so the $4.20 yesterday was an early Xmas present. A handy profit made on opening prices for Quality bets for a quiet week for them.

Update 3.06 p.m. : 2.Xpression looks set to go the race of her life. Melt was a bit excited and went down early- the hard track is the concern for me, so Xpression, where Sam should be able to find that fast lane about 4 and 5 off, means she is a very good chance to win. $100 win tote. On the turn I thought it was a matter of how far she would win by but the winner was just too good and she battled home. Back for Isaurian at 6.18 p.m.

Update at noon: Back just before Xpressions race. I’d wait too as the inside could be a no go zone.

Recommended $20 quaddie for 7% at Riccarton:

Leg 1: 1. Forged
3. Tavigarde
11. Wordofmouth
12. Pinup Coup
Leg 2: 3. Bee Tee Junior
10. Mental Telepathy
12. Felaar
16. Monarch Chimes
Leg 3: 7. Zah Wanted
11. Sitarist
14. Red River Rock
16. Casual Winks
Leg 4: 2. Opihi Ranger
3. Zakynthos
9. Imeldas Girl
14. Miss Scandinavia


Saturday ( next update by noon Saturday )

There are two Quality bets for Saturday so far detailed below which will be updated 2 minutes before their race. Plus we have a very good description of the now firm Riccarton track from an experienced track walker below.

Bet of the Day Riccarton Race 7 2.Xpression $2.30 FF Updated 3.08 p.m.

Value bet of the day Rosehill Race 7 7. Isaurian $4.20 FF Updated 6.18 p.m.

Sneaky of the day Riccarton Race 8 11.Wordofmouth $7.50 Ff



Race 7

Confidence: 3/5 and Quality bet

7.Isaurian  is a good horse who was caught wide on a good pace last start and needed the run as well. He is a much better horse sitting in behind and driving hard. He has run the times and is very fit now. Maps to get the ideal run in the trail here and looks very hard to beat. RP $2.70, $4.20 Ff


6.Dissolute got a better run than Isaurian and beat him home last start. Good tempo will suit and will be charging late.

11.Nictock good run when late clear last start. Gets in on a good weight.

3.Sir Plush  goes well fresh and trialed well, but will get back and need luck.


Below are the thoughts of an experienced track walker at Riccarton who walked it this morning ( Saturday morning) .
“From the chute it’s fine, hard but even until about the 300m mark after which it’s firm but uneven up to 3 widths off the fence, from winning post to the crossing at the 2000m mark it’s a baked ploughed paddock, after the crossing it’s very firm still but even and ok, from the 1100m mark they’ve shifted the rail out 3m and it’s lovely, but still very firm, at the 700m mark it reverts to the true position but it’s only average and has slow lanes close in but two to three faster lanes 4 & 5 off the fence to the winning post
In summary, it’s mostly rough and worn, and very hard.
A lot of horses will be very sore tonight and horses who need dig in the ground are in for a very tough day followed by a painful night.”

Race 1

10.Hot Fuss has been rating strongly and closed hard last start against a nice horse. Gets 4kgs off.

6.Thom Brown  did well last start off a tough run. Has the best FR after weight adjustments.

Race 2

11.Chic has the best last start FR and drawn to make the most of it.

12.Kilowatt two good runs and gets in on a winning weight third up.

3.Sanasar on an improved track has to be a chance from a good draw.

6.Irish Flame  just won last week and good track may not help his chances.

Race 3

8.Yamato Nadeshiko  went too fast in front on Wednesday and tired. Better rated here could steal it.

5.Oligarch game second last start and 2500m will suit.

4.Wazuzu  will do nothing and be grinding away. Rates 2L clear in the FR after weight adjustments.

Race 4

12.Caprikosa rated a career best FR fresh up and will have improved off that. Gets in on a winning weight

2.Gallant Boy won well fresh up and gets 2kgs off.

1.Scapolo  gets 3kgs off which brings him into contention.

Race 5

3.Miss Federer won well here last start and at set weights has to be hard to beat.

1.Challa is the likely quinella again.

Race 6

12.Sacred Desire has run some strong races here down the chute in good times. Ready to fire fresh up after a nice trial.

5.He’s Our Secret  will appreciate the better surface. Has a powerful finish when he’s at peak.

3.Ottavio if he can lead on the rail may take some catching.

Race 7

Confidence: 3/5

2.Xpression has looked very good all this campaign. Won strongly fresh up, then pushed top filly Avantage at Hastings then won easily at Sshburton. The plus is she relaxes so well and uses that powerful finish late so the 1600m is going to suit her in this evenly run race. Plus her action is ideal for what is going to be a very firm track. She looked ready to win when trialing recently as well. RP $1.80, $2.30 FF


1.Melt is the obvious danger. She should be in front of Xpression on the turn but I just feel Xpression, with a fair crack at her, will be too strong for her. Her only failure last campaign was on a Good 3 track when the rider said she felt the firm nature of the track.

3.Media Sensation won under a ride at Ellerslie over 1400m in the slowest of the 4 x 1400m races and tends to get worked up before the race, so is a query at 1600m. She is very likely to  find Xpression too strong late over an evenly run 1600m.

5.Secret Allure strong second in a fast speed rating last start second up. Peaking nicely for this.

Race 8

11.Wordofmouth  has run two strong races. Ran on strongly last start after covering extra ground. Capable of excellent sectionals and with a cosy run can do it with Lisa Allpress knowing him better now. Nice looking horse.

1.Forged gets 4kgs off and rates on top after weight adjustments and drops in class.


Race 9 New Zealand Cup Gr 3 3200m

Confidence: 2/5

10.Mental Telepathy ticks most boxes for this. He gets in on the minimum. He ran the fastest closing last 600m last Saturday for this on a wet track that he hasn’t got his best form on. Having the breeding to win a 3200m is always a big tick. By Melbourne Cup winner Shocking ( 2009)  and out of a Galileo mare means he is going to see out a strongly run 3200m better than most. The Baker/Forsman team have targeted this for him and have got in peaking at the right time on the light weight. He maps to settle about midfield and Matt Cameron, who knows him very well, will get him relaxed as early as possible to allow him to unleash his powerful last 600 metres and beat these. RP $4, $5 FF


12.Felaar ran a strong second here last week on a track that was probably too wet for him as he is a big long striding horse. So the better track will suit.

3.Bee Tee Junior battled on ok here last week for fifth with 60kgs. He’s been trained for this and with a good run likely, can be in this.

16.Monarch Chimes is one horse that will relish the 3200m more than most. He has won hurdle races over more ground and last start closed off very strongly at Ellerslie over 2400m in very good closing sectionals. He maps to get a good run around midfield and is to carry the lightest weight he has every carried, 53kgs. He’s won over 2400m in Australia on the flat. He loves racing and always gives his best. The firm track won’t suit him as much as an off track though.

Race 10

14.Red River Rock  strong third last start and nicely placed to win fourth up with Matt Cameron up.

16.Casual Winks  was a big winner in a very good soeed rating and closing sectional at Ruakaka. Wide next up here and wet track no help last start. Good track suits now and 2000m also.

7.Zah Wanted peaking fourth up and back in grade.

11.Sitarist unlucky last start. With a bit of luck this time should be in it.

Race 11

2.Opihi Ranger in career best form and unlucky last start.

10.Khorabella  strong win here back in April this grade on a dead 4 track.

14.Miss Scandinavia  drawn to get all favours and in good form.

9.Imeldas Girl just beaten last start and fitter now.


Race 1

1.Spirits Aubeer  has natural speed and should land 2nd outer early and may presson and lead or settle in the 1×1. Either way, he should get a good run on a moderate tempo. He has natural speed and gets his head down, so the 1400m will suit.

5.Sacred Accord  won well leading all the way here on debut. Didn’t like the whip though flicking his tail when struck with it, so that may count against him over the last 100m.

Race 2

6.Arrogant two starts back was posted 3 wide in the open and kept going strongly for second to dawn patrol who ran 2nd in the 2000 Guineas two starts later. Didn’t finish it off in the fast run Hawkes Bay Guineas. Back to maiden class from the inside draw, where he maps to lead or trail with Opie up, means he looks hard to beat.

Dangers in order:

8.Out Of The Park  ran a strong closing third to two good horses in Langkawi and Lincoln falls two starts back and the form has been strong out of it.

2.Noble Star good second fresh up but in a weak field. Big horse and a bit one paced. Drawn to be the main danger though.

7.Laurima  ran on well late here fresh up. Likely to get back again and rely on a decent tempo.

Race 3

8.Maholo won this race last year second up and she has won fresh up before. No trial but she will be ready.

6.Bevan Street  with a slow start at Ellerslie cost him any chance but went well for 4th. Should get a good tempo to come at them late.

5.Sleek Secret had no luck fresh up when going ok.

Race 4

4.Marcellina won decisively fresh up and was flat over 1600m second up. 2100m suits much better and can win with Opie up. Beat Sunburst easily at Ellerslie last campaign over 2100m.

6.Sunburst strong second here last start. 2100m suits now.

9.Sarabande will be improved by the run last start and ready to go close.

Race 5

4.Justamaiz won really well fresh up then closed off strongly late behind The Mitigator last start who got a soft lead. He’s a strong good looking galloper who is fitter now and suited to a better surface. If he can land 3 back inner or even better in the trail, he’s the one to beat.

6.Cha Siu Bao  ran on strongly fresh up and has won second up. Drawn well.

Race 6

5.Calligraphy  closed off stylishly fresh up to Yearn who ran a solid 2nd last week. She won second up here in January over 1400m and gets in on a winning weight.

6.Donna and Billy  back to 1400m suits where she should get an uncontested lead and with 4kgs off, could steal it.

3.Embellish is an improver for this but giving good weight to the above two in what will likely be a sprint home.

Race 7

The speed map shows Nicoletta likely to try and lead with Ocean Emperor looking to trail her and a moderate to even tempo likely suiting on pace runners.

1.Ocean Emperor  won this race last year getting a good run in the 1×1 and comes into this off a strong win and is also likely to get an ideal run in the trail. If the inside is ok, he looks the one to beat.

5.Nicoletta  with a soft lead likely, will be hard to run down.

7.Darscape Princess  was beaten by Ocean Emperor last start but looks an obvious improver.

8.Love Affair disappointed a bit last start. Maps to get back off a moderate tempo and may get outsprinted.

Race 8

13.Elate  has been rating well in 3yo races. Drawn to get a good run. Blinkers on.

4.Codecracker with a good run from his draw, should be right in this.

10.Masque  two good runs and 1600m will suit from a good draw. Blinkers on.

6.Konstantina is a quick improver form the Baker/Forsman stable.

About Neil Davis

Neil is New Zealand's leading form analyst with particular expertise in the area of horse racing sectional times. He has had a life time interest in racing. The Formpro website first started back in 2008 - 10 years ago!