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A bumper ten race card has been assembled for Ellerslie on Sunday for NZ Derby Day. The weather is fine, the track is soft (7) and the rail is in the true position for the entire circuit.

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Race 1. (10:15) Henley Park Hcp 1500m

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Back Me

3 Ray’s In Command (Bet Now: $5.00) is a Southerner taking on some pretty talented horse flesh here but he’s hard fit, in form and down in the weights, so I’m leaning his way. He was good in defeat last start in the White Robe at WFA at Wingatui. Just got bogged down at the weights scale when looming to win, finishing a close up third. Very well in here and should prove hard to hold out.

Danger

2 Prise De Fer (Bet Now: $1.95) has the runs on the board to give this a shake. Freshened up by Jamie Richards after a mixed effort in the Rich Hill Mile where he was checked on a couple of occasions, but overall, thought he was entitled to finish off better. Liked a recent tick over trial and has the A1 form around Melody Belle/Avantage.

Long Shot

4 Beauty Star (Bet Now: $11.00) is a handy galloper for the Tony Pike that resumes. He hasn’t raced since during Cup Week at Riccarton when tiring after leading over 2500m. Not normally a first up performer, but has trialled well leading in and Billy Pinn is one of the form riders in NZ at the moment.

Race 2. (10:50) Stella Artois (bm65) 1400m

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Back Me

The safe option looks to be 1 Mouton (Bet Now: $4.20). Yet to run a bad race in his eight start career, his latest run coming over 1200m here just over two weeks ago when on speed and kicking clear before feeling the pinch late, finishing third. That was his first run in five weeks so fitter and up to 1400m he appeals.

Danger

11 Tina Again (Bet Now: $7.50) is progressive and heading in the right direction for Clinton Isdale. Both career outings have come at Te Rapa. Really caught the eye late on debut over 1100m before stepping up to 1200m where she charged home again and got checked late, which ensured she got the verdict in the stewards room. 1400m looks fine and think she can measure up.

Long Shot

A drop of rain would be idea for 9 Saignon (Bet Now: $19.00). Team Rogerson trained mare that doesn’t have the best of winning records but is consistent and usually around the mark, with a preference for affected ground. Was good late over 1500m here last time out so back to 1400m no issue and is well in after the claim.

Race 3. (11:25) Go Racing Nathan's Mem. Hcp 2200m

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Back Me

Having a speck at a big price with 8 Iskander (Bet Now: $19.00) for John Ruddell. Led in a field of five at Te Rapa last time and tried hard, but couldn’t finish it off and ran last, but not beaten too far. He should lead this field up and with only 51kg on his back, I think he’ll give plenty of cheek at odds.

Danger

4 He No Opillio (Bet Now: $4.80) is in a real purple patch at the moment. Bets at odds were nearly landed two back at Awapuni in the Pohangina Cup, leading and just getting run down. Then went to the Wairoa Cup at Hastings where he led throughout and bolted in. He should lead this field up and give a stack of cheek.

Long Shot

10 Lochwinnoch (Bet Now: $10.00) is a sleeper here at odds. Month between runs since racing over 2100m at Te Rapa where he got back in the run and while he was never really a winning threat, but liked the way he finished his race off behind Maasir. Gets significant weight relief and drawn well, if he can use the gate to advantage, he’ll only run well.

Race 4. (12:00) Graeme Thomson Antique (bm74) 1600m

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Back Me

1 Markus Aurelius (Bet Now: $3.60) on top. Jamie Richards trained gelding that is putting together a tidy record and has been placed to advantage in recent times, winning three of his past, including his last two, both at this grade. Was a mile back to 1400m last start at Te Rapa when put into a lovely spot just behind the speed and showing good change up speed to win well. Can’t see why he can’t keep winning.

Danger

3 Les Crayeres (Bet Now: $2.10) is another that is showing good ability in a short amount of time, winning three of her six career outings. Impressive win over the mile at Te Rapa last time out when getting a lovely sit behind the speed before getting the inside split and dashing hard late to win. She can measure up to these.

Long Shot

5 Bad ‘N’ Bouj (Bet Now: $11.00) can be dangerous if he uses gate one to advantage. Drew well last time out at Te Rapa but just couldn’t get involved and was never a factor. He’s better than that and is a horse who likes wet ground, so the worsening track should help his claims provided the inside holds up okay.

Race 5. (12:35) Fasttrack Mufhasa Stakes 1300m

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Back Me

1 Need I Say More (Bet Now: $2.70) does look the one to beat here for Jamie Richards. Resumed in the Almanzor several weeks ago at this track where they rode him with a sit, against his normal pattern, perhaps to offset the 60.5kg impost, and the end result was a brilliant win. This weights scale looks to suit him ideally, Opie back on, fitter, draws well…hard to beat.

Danger

6 Babylon Berlin (Bet Now: $3.30) looks the key threat. She placed in the Almanzor before racing here again when leading throughout and she gave them a proper spanking in a sharp display. If she can find the front and get control like last start, she’ll take some running down. Just not sure if Opie will allow that given he’s drawn inside with Need I Say More.

Long Shot

3 El Tirador (Bet Now: $7.00) deserves a crack at this kind of race. Nigel Tiley has him going super this time in, winning 2/2. Resumed with a maiden win at Ruakaka before going to Pukekohe where Collett rode a peach race just off the speed and once she got clear air on the gelding, it was race over and he bolted up. Does no work from the gate and is a knockout chance.

Race 6. (13:10) Vertical Logistics (bm74) 1200m

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Back Me

On top is 6 Mai Tai (Bet Now: $2.60) for Jamie Richards. Talented mare that is heading in the right direction. She has won her past two, the latest coming over 1500m here back on Boxing Day when finishing off her race with real purpose from the back. Been given a break between runs and looked well in a recent tick over trial. Happy to be in her corner.

Danger

7 Naval Fleet (Bet Now: $5.50) looks the key threat. Well bred mare that has been kept on ice, having not raced since December 12 at Awapuni when back off the speed and working home strongly late when second to Our Hail Mary. No public trials to tick her over, so market will be a guide, but she has got a decent engine under the hood.

Long Shot

2 Breezon (Bet Now: $14.00) is three weeks between runs for the McKee camp since racing over 1200m at Te Rapa when doing work to get on speed and he did try hard, but was clearly no match for a Stakes class horse I think in Festivity, so that form reads well for a race like this and generally runs well at Ellerslie.

Race 7. (13:45) Haunui Farm King's Plate 1200m

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Back Me

I have this as a race in two. Just leaning towards 8 Entriviere (Bet Now: $2.15) for Jamie Richards. Very exciting prospect that has won four of her five career outings. Latest win came six weeks ago when bolting up at this track/distance in the Concorde. Has early speed to navigate the tricky draw and a drop of rain only helps her chances.

Danger

7 Spring Heat (Bet Now: $4.80) has the Group l form so she has to rate highly. That form being the Railway and Telegraph, both races won by Avantage, and Spring Heat was far from disgrace each time, the Telegraph seeing her run second. That has to read well for a race like this. The key threat.

Long Shot

10 Pretty To Sea (Bet Now: $17.00) is a must for exotics. She has also had a freshen up from the Concorde. She warmed to the task late against the tempo and was a real eye catcher late to run third. Likely eases back to near last from the gate but if they overdo it in front, she’ll be strong at the end.

Race 8. (14:22) Mckee Family Sunline Vase 2100m

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Back Me

1 Amarelinha (Bet Now: $1.40) should win this, then the NZ Oaks, then come over to Australia and go close in the ATC Oaks. She’s a rising star of NZ racing who comes into this off the back of a dominant win over 2000m at Te Rapa, charging clear at the end, suggesting the 2100m here should be no dramas. She’s high class and has a bit on these.

Danger

If there was to be an upset, I think it could come via 4 Spine Tingle (Bet Now: $14.00). Chris Gibbs trained filly that is 2/2 this time in. Resumed with a very strong maiden at Ruakaka before going to the NZ Oaks Trial at New Plymouth and she spanked them in an impressive display. She looks an Oaks horse and can measure up for sure.

Long Shot

3 Slave To Love (Bet Now: $9.50) hasn’t done much wrong this time in for the Williams camp. She ran behind Amarelinha at Te Rapa and while she was never a winning threat, she did make up ground late in a nice piece of work to run third. Can sit closer in the run from the good draw and will be thereabouts.

Race 9. (15:04) Nz Derby 2400m

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Back Me

I’m clearly with 2 Montre Moi (Bet Now: $4.50), especially with the jockey upgrade of Lisa Allpress back steering. She knows how to ride this three year old and has a great record on him, with two wins and a placing from three rides. McNab just got too far back on him in the Waikato Guineas but he charged to the line looking like a real Derby prospect. He’ll eat up 2400m and be strong at the end.

Danger

13 Tokorangi (Bet Now: $5.00) needed to draw soft in order to run out the 2400m and she has so she gets respect here given she did win the Waikato Guineas. Calder gave her a peach steer just off the speed and she was strong late in getting the job done. Gets a cheap run from the gate and will look the winner at some stage.

Long Shot

12 Tribute King (Bet Now: $46.00) can add value to multiples. He comes through the Avondale Guineas won by Rocket Spade and I didn’t mind the finale of this guy. He just lost his spot on the turn when trucking up and by the time he got clear, it was race over. 2400m should be okay for him and can sneak a first four spot at big odds.

Race 10. (15:39) Barfoot & Thompson (bm65) 1600m

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Back Me

12 Joy Alone (Bet Now: $6.00) for me in the get out. Baker/Forsman camp trains this filly, who might find the NZ Oaks come around too soon for her, but she has got stacks of quality about her. It wasn’t a strong maiden she won at Hastings last time, but she won it like a filly going places and confident she can measure up to this lot.

Danger

4 Humbucker (Bet Now: $4.50) is racing well for the Williams team. Ran over the mile at Te Rapa three weeks ago where Vinnie Colgan gave him a sweet steer near the speed and was there to win. Just found one too good in Les Crayeres, who goes around earlier in the meeting, so you’ll know come jump time here how strong the form is. But think it will hold up.

Long Shot

11 Bea A Roca (Bet Now: $17.00) can run an improved race at odds. Big win from her two back at Matamata to break the maiden tag before going to 1500m here where she got back to near last in the run and just couldn’t get involved in a disappointing effort. If she can take advantage of gate one, she could be dangerous.

Best Bets & Quaddie Tips

BEST BET: Race Five Number 1 Need I Say More

NEXT BEST: Race Ten Number 11 Joy Alone

LONG SHOT: Race Three Number 8 Iskander

 

Quaddie Tips (Races Seven Through To Ten):

Leg One: 7, 8

Leg Two: 1

Leg Three: 1, 2, 3, 12, 13

Leg Four: 1, 4, 11, 12

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