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Smith, Henare hot favourites

By Gary Caffell

Odds setters for the TAB are under no illusions as to who will likely win the major shearing and woolhanding titles on the final night of action at the Golden Shears in Masterton on Saturday.

Even though upsets are anything but unusual in both disciplines they have installed last year’s champions Rowland Smith (shearing) and Joel Henare (woolhandling) as red-hot favourites to repeat those successes in 2017.

Smith, whose lead-up form has been outstanding, was yesterday at odds of $1.33 to win what would be his fourth Golden Shears open title.

Next to him at $6 was John Kirkpatrick, the current world champion who is also no stranger to the top podium spot at the Golden Shears, having won the open competition in 2002, 2008, 2011 and 2012.

Third favourite is 2015 Golden Shears open victor Gavin Mutch, who seems to save his best form for the Masterton arena, having won a world championship title there as well, while Pongoroa’s David Buick shares fourth place on the market at $13 with Nathan Stratford.

Then come another couple of Wairarapa hopes, 2006 open champ Dion King (Alfredton) at $21 and Paerata Abraham (Masterton) at $41.

The TAB is also running a book on making the top three in the open shearing final and there, Smith is virtually unbackable at $1.04, followed by Kirkpatrick $1.65 and Mutch $1.95.

Henare is at $1.40 to win the open woolhandling title for that would be the fifth time.

Sheree Alabaster holds second favouritism at $5, followed by Pagan Karauria, $8, Mary Anne-Baty, $13 and Keryn Herbert and Roni Goss, $15.

Amongst those on the next line of betting at $31 are Eketahuna’s Emaraina Braddick and Masterton’s Cushla Abraham.

The TAB is so confident of Henare’s dominance that it is also offering odds on Henare versus the rest of the field with Henare at $1.40 and the rest at $2.70.

In the Transtasman tests Australia at $1.75 are the narrow favourites over New Zealand at $1.95 in the shearing but the woolhandling has New Zealand at $1.35 and Australia at $2.90.

Odds are also being offered on the PGG Wrightson National Circuit shearing final with Troy Coster the favourite at $2.75, followed by Nathan Stratford and John Kirkpatrick, $3.75, David Buick and Rowland Smith, $8, and Dion Murrell at $13.

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