Expert horse race selections and exclusive sectionals and reviews from New Zealand

Expert horse race selections and exclusive sectionals and reviews from New Zealand

Pick 6 and how strong was Puccini's win? Print

Firstly, I am running a Pick 6 syndicate on the Wednesday Cup meeting at Auckland. Apologies for the short notice but you have until Tuesday night to join in. You need to have a login to join in and you can deposit a minimum of $10. We ran one last year on Cup day when it was $100,000 and we struck it and came very close to scoring the lot if one horse had poked it's nose in front.

What an amazing Derby it turned out to be. I had a an email from a subscriber questioning my sanity after I mentioned on Radio Trackside that Puccini was no good thing to lead from that barrier. But he missed the jump by half a length and just didn't have the speed to drive through and lead. Not that it really mattered though. I was trying to work out if he beat a below average field and was made to look good or was it a genuine top effort. The sectionals and times have sorted that out. He ran 2.28.39 which was around 6 lengths off the fastest times run in the race. But when you compare it to the R75 and Open handicap middle distance races on the day, which is nearly always a reliable guide, it tells us that it was an above average effort. The tempo was almost identical to the R75 race yet Puccini came home in 35.99 seconds and the R75 race came home on 36.79. Plus he had to work wide and get on the pace for about 500 metres before he hit the 600 metre mark. When compared to the Open handicap they went at a slower tempo but were only able to come home 4 lengths quicker from the 600 metre mark. The speed rating for the race was the fastest of the day over all distances as well. He relaxes and just keeps going when asked! So, look out Australia, he 's coming to get the fatter parts of your stakemoney.

It also makes Rising Romance's run look very good, as she was only able to get going 600 metres out and got that bump sideways after turning, but ran home very strongly. It looks like she is going to Sydney too, so hopefully they both come through the runs well and do us proud. For the Formpro Ratings, I rated his win 111.8. The last three winners rated: Habibi 110.2, Silent Achiever 110.8, and Jimmy Choux 111.0.

In case you aren't aware, there is a free login to the Formpro Ratings till Thursday night with username: formpro Password: remote

A good guide to find out which dog form factors are doing well at each track, is to go to the 'Metrics' under the heading of Greyhounds. For example, at Palmerston North Dogs today, the metric tells us that the 'Best Last 6' has a 30% win strike rate and has returned $351.10 from 348 races, which is a very strong fact. So how did they do today? From 12 races, 7 dogs won, so it does seem to be a strong factor to take into account. Compare that to the Box Speed Factor, which only has 21%, so when doing the form there, make sure you give more emphasis to the 'Best' form factor at that track.

The Formpro Bank bets made a loss of close to 6 units, which is no disaster. If I could have the last three days over again, I would have waited to see what the weather was going to do at Sydney. It rained heavily before the race, and he just didn't handle it. I wouldn't change the other two bets. Ultraviolet lost a winning chance when she was tightened out of the trail soon after the start. If she had secured that trail , she would have won. And Rising Romance put in a big run for second and maybe could have won under different circumstances, but that's racing. We saved on Puccini so all was not lost.

Is it your favourite race? Print

Many of us rank it as our favourite race of the year, the New Zealand Derby. Great horses like Balmerino, Tudor Light and Surfers Paradise all stand out to me from a while ago. More recently, C'est La Guerre bolting in after many subscribers climbed in during the week at double figure odds when the rain was forecast and arrived right on cue. Then Jimmy Choux showing rare courage to win in the tough wet ground.

Tomorrow, we have a pretty good field of three year olds trying to win this great race. So much planning and work has gone into each runner, and all the connections will be hoping their runner will see the 2400m out. But as we know, most of them won't. Most winners of this race get every chance of winning and I can't see that pattern changing tomorrow. I have a strong opinion of what can win the race which subscribers will know about here in the early preview.

In the first race at Hastings tomorrow, there is a classic case of no jumpout form being published and therefore turnover will be down as why would any serious punter have a go when there are no replays or jumpouts with reliable times published. Sure, you can find the times and place getters, but if they are timed with a stopwatch the times can be out by as much as a second and a half.

You can win $25 for free on Virtual Punter tomorrow if you can turn $1000 Virtual Punter dollars into the biggest amount at Ellerslie tomorrow. It is free to enter.

Formpro Bank questions answered Print

There have been a few questions about the Formpro Bank bets and some of the answers need to be mentioned here. The last column called 'POT' stands for Profit On Turnover. This is calculated by dividing the net profit by the total turnover. In the Formpro Bank bets so far there has been 35.6 units bet and a net profit of 16.13 units achieved. So 16.13/35.6 equals 45.3 % Profit On Turnover. Over the period of a year, any punter who can achieve a 10% POT will be happy. The trial period for the Formpro Bank bets is until the end of April and at an average of 25 units bet per week over the eleven weeks that equals around 275 units. So if we can achieve around a 27.5 unit net profit on that turnover, then we will probably go ahead with them.

There is a problem when I want to recommend bets in Hong Kong. I was going to recommend Aerovelocity in the eighth race last Sunday when the only danger, Smart Volatilty, was scratched. There are no Fixed odds betting on them so I have to estimate what they will end up paying to work out the number of units to recommend. I thought he would pay $1.80 and rated him a $1.60 chance, so that would have been a 3.4 unit bet based on that $1.80 price. But he was showing $2.10 just before the jump. Based on that price he would have been a 3.90 unit bet. After he won well, he ended up paying $2.20. So after all that, the best thing to do is for me to post the selection there, and to be fair, the number of units to bet based on what I think he will end up paying. Over time, it will even out.

Sweet Idea was the selection that gave us a very good return on Saturday. She was available at $5 with NZ bookies for most of Saturday morning but came in steadily in the afternoon. I mapped her to get 2nd outer comfortably, which Tommy Berry did perfectly and they didn't go hard which gave her the energy to kick on them after the rise and never looked in danger with her determination to win. I want to protect the bank as best as possible which is why I went the 3.5 units a win and 6.5 units a place. I could have saved with Guelph and Real Surreal, but I wasn't really confident either of them would win if Sweat Idea didn't. But I was very confident she would at least run a place thereby returning our win stake.

The other Bank bet was Riding Shotgun which had the Money Back option if he placed which seemed a no brainer as he looked set to get every chance to run at least a place. He had his chance and ran third and we got our money back. The only bet on Sunday was Rotovegas Junior. I posted the bet earlier than I said I would as I had to go out unexpectedly, which I apologise for. He opened at $2.20 with bookies and dropped to $2.00 soon after posting but as I have said before, I have no control over the odds fluctuations. He jumped clearly in front and cleared out for an easy win. I wish they would all win like that! But of course we know they won't, which is important we get the staking right.

The other question was the time the bank bets are posted. When possible, I will stick to the times I say I will post the Bank bets. They will normally be posted by 8.45 a.m. on race day and at the time I say for the head to heads etc. But there will also be times I want to post an Australian bet and want to see how the track is playing before posting it. If there is one over there, I will post what time it will be posted at 8.45 a.m.

I will post the Waikato preview by 8.45 a.m. tomorrow.

Can Nashville go back to back? Print

This time last year we had just five runners to work out the winner from in the Hainui Farm Group 1 WFA Classic. Looking back at last year's review of the race Veyron led and ticked along in front averaging 11.73 seconds per 200 metres to the 600m mark which allowed Nashville to get up late in the good time of 1.34.07. But with Diademe out of the race now, trying to pick the leader is just as hard as trying to sort the winner out. The Diamond One from the inside is likely to use it and she does have early speed. Out wide, Fleur de Lune and Viadana also have enough early speed to get handy. Below is how I think they will settle in the running.




Fleur de Lune has to go forward as she risks getting caught wide o9ff a slowish tempo. Viadana will likely go forward then look to snag and allow something like Postmans Daughter to give her cover. That leaves The Diamond One nicely placed in the trail. Nashville may also try and kick out and secure that 3 back on the rail spot behind The Diamond One. Xanadu is likely to ease back and be at the rear. Unless something gets caught wide early on, I can see them ticking along closer to 12 second 200m sectionals which is going to make it hard for runners off the pace.

Looking at the Formpro Ratings of the race below, we can see that Viadana has the best ratings to win it. She rated 118 last start and her best ever was 119 so she can improve off that last run. She maps to get a good and also rates on top in the ratings after weight adjustments ( in the Adj column) run so looks value at $5 with bookies.



The horse that maps to get every chance is The Diamond One, but as we can see from her ratings, she needs to improve a few lengths to win this. But she has improved her rating at each of her last six starts which doesn't happen too often. She maps to get all favours and looks perfectly placed to further improve her ratings. She will need to rate 115 to win this and I feel she could do that as she right at her peak. Xanadu will get back and if they go too slow, she is in trouble. But she closed strongly late last start and rates second after weight adjustments with 117. If the inside goes off, which it can do, it will suit her as well. Nashville should be doing nothing back on the rail and the quicker they go, the more chance he will have. Change of rider may work.

Fleur de Lune rated 116 last start at Te Rapa and if she does go forward, should get every chance, and at $12 is over the odds.

So to my eye, it is not a race you can punt any one horse with too much confidence. It is a leg of the $50,000 turbo quaddie and any one of those five runners above could win. Decisive riding tactics may just make the difference, as it often does in these types of races.

Virtual Punter will be held at Matamata on Saturday with $25 up for grabs and it is free to enter.

Watch out for develping track biases can prove profitable Print

If you were trying to avoid the heat today and sat back watching the Wairoa races, you would have noticed the front runner's bias. Horses that led in the first four races all won. Trackside presenter Bevan Sweeney was rightly commenting on it and helping punters look for the on pace runners. Whether they were just the better horses on the tight track, or there was better conditions on the inside of the track is open to debate, but if you were looking at taking a quaddie, anything likely to settle in the first four was likely to have an advantage. The first leg looked a very open affair and right down the bottom was 14.Lilly Belle which had drawn the inside barrier. She showed early speed at her last start so was very likely to settle in the trail or even lead. She was paying $16 so even without taking her recent form into account, and you were watching the first few races , she had to in quaddies. She ended up trailing and once balanced up, shot by the leader and won well setting up a $6302 quaddie. If she had drawn wider, she wouldn't have won. So keeping an eye out for any bias developing during the day, can certainly be time very well spent. Will the same thing happen on Sunday? Only time will tell, but in my preview of the meeting I'll be telling subscribers which runners have the early speed to be on the pace and how the tempo may pan out.

Talking about tempo, the Haunui Farm Group 1 WFA Classic doesn't look to have a lot of it now that Diademe is very likely to come out with a foot problem. So tomorrow, I'll be posting a speed map of the race, showing which runners the race will favour and not favour.

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