The Otago Daily Times racing writer previews the massive line-up of harness racing at Omakau today.
This amateur drivers race provides a tricky way to start the day.
Most horses bring patchy form from all over the South Island.
Sweet Loress comes into the race on the backof a decent third in amuch stronger race at Addington and is my first selection.
Highview Illusion for strike-rate trainer Graeme Anderson, starting beside Sweet Loress on the second row, should be the hardest horse for her to beat.
Both Pat Campbell and Eja Patron are regular performers in the amateur ranks and are mustsfor those taking trifectas.
Selections: 12 Sweet Loress, 13 Highview Illusion, 11Pat Campbell, 14 Eja Patron.
The second event on the Omakau programme does not get any easier with the maiden trotters going around.
Horse Of Course has his first start in this race for the powerful Phil Williamson stable and despitethe horse not having any recent trial and workout runs, I think the stable will have him ready to win.
Majestic Lavros went a cracking race for second inmuddy and slushy conditions at Winton just two days ago.
Arepeat of that performance would have him winning this event, so heis a clear second pick.
Selections: 10 Majestic Lavros, 2 Horse OfCourse, 6 Tres Magnifique, 11 Crusher Collins.
The training and driving combination of Steven McRae and Craig Thornley will look to continue their red-hot run of form in this race with NadeenFranco.
Thehorse brings solid Canterbury trial and workout form, which make her a big winning chance.
Another Cantabrian in Hicori has also looked smart in trials and workouts and will be the toughest for Nadeen Franco to beat.
Yetanother Canterbury raider, Days Of Redemption, is a consistent performer whose race experience could see him begin quickly and take up a handy position.
Walk Like AMan is in the opposite position and showedhe has more to learn in his solid effort for third inhis recentdebut.
Selections: 10 Nadeen Franco, 4 Hicori, 3 Days Of Redemption, 8Walk Like A Man.
This junior drivers event gives Omakau punters yet another tricky little contest to work through.
I thought if Hot Off The Press could repeat his last-start effort for second at Forbury Park, then he would be winning this.
His main rival looks to be Paddington Central, who has competed in much stronger fields than this.
Outside of these two the race is very even, so don’t be afraid to throw in a roughie fromleft field into your selections.
Selections: 4 Hot Off The Press, 7 Paddington Central, 1 Varenna, 9 Foo Fighter.
Tuapeka Trick drops into what looks a very winnable race after taking on some smart horses in his recent starts, so he is mytop pick.
I found it extremely hard to split Kiwis Are Flying andDirect Control for my second pick.
But, I am favouring Direct Control, despite Kiwis Are Flying having a slight draw advantage.
Broadway Banner went aslashing race for secondtwo starts ago and should get a lovely run frombarrier 1.
Selections : 2 Tuapeka Trick, 6 Direct Control, 5 Kiwis Are Flying, 1 Broadway Banner.
I am tippingwhat could be a slight upset in this race by putting Playboy’s Brother on top.
The horse loves to lead and Omakau is a leader’s track. The horse has star reinsmanDexter Dunn in the sulky, which gives his chances another boost.
Too Cool was an impressive winner at Gore last week and lookedto have improvementin her, so she is a must in your selections.
Selections: 1 Playboy’s Brother, 14 TooCool, 11 She’s Allthe Craze, 15 The Dominator.
There are no certainties in racing and I am not about to try to debunk that theory. Though, Ana Malak is as close to a certainty as one could find.
The horse comes into today’s race on the back of a huge performance to run third at the New Zealand Cup Carnival. That form has him headand shoulders above his rivals here.
SweetMary, Gunpowder and One Direction should fight out theminor placings.
Selections: 5Ana Malak, 11 Sweet Mary, 3 Gunpowder, 1 One Direction.
Today’s feature event is an enthralling contest despite there onlybeing six runners.
I am leaning towards the highly talented Tiger Thompson to win the race.
He has the draw and delivered one of his main rivals, Raukapuka Ruler, a crushing defeat in his last start.
Raukapuka Ruler bounced back with a tough win in the Ashburton Cup and that race provided a good formline for last year’s Central Otago Cup.
Mongolian Hero and Eamon Maguire were both good at Ashburton and are leading chances today.
Selections:2 Tiger Thompson, 6 Raukapuka Ruler, 3 Eamon Maguire, 5 Mongolian Hero.
If the talented but erratic Harriet Of Mot brings her best manners, she would be winning this race.
If she decides today is not her day, then expect the Phil Williamson barn to pounce.
Alderbeck pushedthe favourite hard in her last start and is a big chance from barrier one. The Williamson-trained Monty Python is definitely the safest bet in the race and it is hard to see him missing a top-three placing.
Selections: 9 HarrietOf Mot, 7 Monty Python, 1 Alderbeck, 6 Belles Son.
A very even race greets punters who are looking to make their fortune in the last race at Omakau today.
Given the ultra-even nature of the race, Ihave chosen to pick somewhat of a roughie.
Maidonthebeach had no luck in her last start but strikes a field where she should be competitive.
Frankie Jones is ahugedanger to Maidonthebeach and looks to be a more progressive horse than many of his rivals.
I have Living Legend and Sportscaster fighting out the minor placings.
Selections: 4Maidonthebeach, 10 FrankieJones, 5 Living Legend, 12 Sportscaster.