By Don Farmer
It’s a tricky time of the year for gallopers who are emerging from winter racing, as tracks dry out with the advent of better weather and trainers have to shop around for tracks to suit the changing circumstances.
This could well be the case at New Plymouth tomorrow and track conditions could be a crucial factor in the success or otherwise of some of the Wairarapa contingent due to line up at Pukekura Park.
Taranaki can be mostly relied upon to produce a wet weather surface during winter and spring but with clearing overhead conditions this week that becomes a doubtful scenario.
At last call the track was rated a slow8 and the weather was expected to remain cloudy.
Tauherenikau owner/trainer Bill Armstrong is one who would prefer the track to be much heavier as he has his handy mudlark mare Sussed entered in race 7.
Sussed has won three in her career, two being at her last two starts, and all have been in the mud.
Tomorrow she takes on by far her most ambitious task and will be at good odds in the rating 85 event which carries a $50,000 stake.
She showed her win at Awapuni in late July was no fluke by following up with a win at Woodville over the greater distance of 1600m and will attempt that journey again tomorrow.
Rain before race day would be right up her alley and given the right conditions she could surprise by popping up in this company at good odds.
Sussed will be ridden by Robert Hannam who last placed on the mare when she finished third at Trentham in mid- June.
Drier conditions are unlikely to trouble her race rival Blame de Angels who is the other Wairarapa-trained contestant in the feature.
Blame de Angels, prepared by Gerald Innes at Opaki, won on a heavy11 at Otaki last time out but has also won on soft and dead tracks.
The Otaki win was in the hands of heavyweight rider Hayden Tinsley who is replaced by Alysa Collett who will ride the gelding on 54kg tomorrow.
Innes has accepted with Class Above in the opening race of the day, a maiden 1400.
The four-year-old son of Zed has had only three outings and has shown some ability, while still learning the ropes.
He stuck on for fourth on the back of a third at the same venue earlier in July.
Those two runs were his first back from three months in the paddock after his debut run at Trentham.
A big plus for tomorrow is having top jockey Lisa Allpress aboard.
She can usually be relied on to give any mount every chance and at the same time gives punters added confidence.
Innes has Bennies Approval returning to racing in race 4 after an 8 month lay- off.
He is likely to need the run and the 1200m journey would appear to be too short for him to figure in the money here.
His one win was at Tauherenikau on a good3 in October last year, over 1400m.
Trainer Kylie Little will be taking both Sir Kingwood and Trisha Lea to New Plymouth and both look poised to be chances.
Sir Kingwood likes it wet but would be untroubled by a soft track.
He is a gritty campaigner who put in a good effort for second behind Gypsy Fair at Otaki.
That was achieved despite having to be steadied soon after the start and being bumped at a crucial time in the run home.
Apprentice Nivesh Teeluck will claim 2kg and the 4-draw will be an added bonus for Sir Kingwood.
Trisha Lea looks a decent prospect in race 5.
She steps up in distance and depending on how she handles track conditions is well placed to get some of the cash.
This is a maiden 1800m and Trisha Lea, despite having had only three chances to learn the game, has drawn well and has Alysa Collett aboard.
Track conditions need watching
By Don Farmer