- by Joshua Smith
Gr.1 Woodlands Stud 4YO Diamond (1609m)
The 4YO Diamond looks to be a two horse affair and TAB Bookmakers agree, installing multiple Group One winner Amazing Dream a $1.85 favourite ahead of Group One performer Need You Now at $2.30. It’s then a jump to joint third favourites Pearl Harbour and Plutonium Lady at $12. Amazing Dream will deservedly wear the yellow leaders jersey on Sunday after a stellar season, which culminated in victory against 4YO Emerald favourite Copy That at Alexandra Park last start, and connections have elected to stick with victorious junior driver Olivia Thornley.
Gr.1 Montana Food & Events 2YO Ruby (1609m)
It will be a case of whoever brings their manners on Sunday should win the 2YO Ruby. Fluctuating favourites Highgrove and Mystic Max have met on four occasions, with the pair drawn on two wins a piece. Both trotters cost themselves when breaking in their respective losses and their connections will be hoping for a solid performance from each of their juvenile trotters. Highgrove is a $2.40 favourite with TAB bookmakers, ahead of Mystic Max at $2.60, while the unbeaten Double Delight is on the third line of betting at $6.
Gr.1 Dunstan Horsefeeds 3YO Diamond (1609m)
The Hayden Cullen-trained Bettor Twist heads into Sunday as the form horse in the 3YO Diamond, but she will have to call on all her qualities to overcome her outside draw on the front row. She has won five of her last six starts, three at Group One level, and finished runner-up in the other. Her main danger will be La Rosa who ran her to within a length when she won the G.1 New Zealand Pacing Oaks (2600m) at Addington Raceway last month. La Rosa’s chances are assisted by her handy draw of three, and TAB bookmakers have duly installed her as a $3.40 second favourite behind Bettor Twist at $1.55.
Gr.1 Hardwood Breeding Syndicate 2YO Diamond (1609m)
True Fantasy has put her hand up as the filly to beat in the 2YO Diamond after a series of wins, including the Gr.1 Caduceus Club Classic (2200m) and Gr.1 NZ Sires’ Stakes Championship (1700m). While she was beaten into second by Cover Girl last start in the Listed NZB Standardbred Harness Million 2 Final (1700m), her victor is absent from Sunday’s race. She will wear the yellow Harness Jewels silks this weekend and carry the favorite’s tag at a price of $1.35. Fellow Hayden Cullen-trained A Bettor You shares second favouritism with Suntan at $7.
Gr.1 Mitre 10 3YO Ruby (1609m)
The Craig and Aimee Edmonds-trained Five Wise Men takes a picket fence form line in to Sunday, but he won’t get it all his own way. The son of Muscle Hill came to within a nose of getting beaten by exciting filly Time Up The Hill in the Gr.1 Northern Trotting Derby (2700m) last month. Time Up The Hill has gone on to win the Gr.3 Northern Trotting Oaks (2200m)
and then set a new age group New Zealand record when winning at Alexandra Park last start. She has importantly drawn inside her adversary and looks to be the value bet of the day as a $9 fifth favourite, while Five Wise Men has been installed a $1.75 favourite by TAB bookmakers.
Gr.1 McMillan Equine Feeds 2YO Emerald (1609m)
Exciting juvenile Akuta has won three of his four career starts, all at stakes level, and should be hard to beat after drawing barrier five on Sunday. TAB bookmakers have accordingly installed him a $1.25 favourite, ahead of stablemate Cosmic Major at $5, while southerner You’re So Fine is on the third line of betting at $12.
Gr.1 IRT 3YO Emerald (1609m)
Driving tactics will play a huge part in the 3YO Emerald with race favourite Krug drawing on the back of B D Joe, who has drawn the coveted ace marble. Krug, who has dominated the three-year-old pacing features this season, has been installed as a $1.80 favourite, ahead of B D Joe at $4.50.
Gr.1 Garrard’s Horse & Hound 4YO Ruby (1609m)
Like the previous trotting races on the card, the 4YO Ruby looks to be a two horse race – with a North versus South twist. The South will be represented by Muscle Mountain, who has won three of his last four starts, including the Gr.1 NZ Trotting Championship (2600m), while former Jewels winner Bolt For Brilliance will represent the North. Muscle Mountain has been installed a $1.60 favourite with Bolt For Brilliance a $3.40 second favourite.
Gr.1 Civtec 4YO Emerald (1609m)
The last race on the card is sure to have plenty of excitement, with $3.40 favourite Copy That drawing the outside of the second row. It will be the Ray Green-trained entire’s final run in New Zealand this season before a Queensland campaign. South Coast Arden, the winner of his last two races, has been installed a $3.50 favourite, with local hope Kango labelled a $4.50 winning chance.