THE New Zealand Cup and Show Week is in full swing and Wednesday’s Group Two Coupland’s Mile is the headline event of a huge 11 race card at Riccarton.
There are plenty of big names running around on Wednesday in the country’s south as the carnival hits the mid-way point.
We have free tips, form and odds for every race at Riccarton this Wednesday, including the group two feature.
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Race 1 – One Good Horse At Avonhead Maiden (1200m)
Aquazurra is third up and hunting its first win after just missing out at Motukarara at the start of the month behind the impressive looking Starmaker. The filly has a wide gate to contend with but the form coming out of the last start looks sound.
Free And Easy is another third up horse that has great form leading into the opening race on Coupland’s Mile Day. In the mare’s opening two career runs, the four-year-old has not finished beyond a length of the eventual winner, and was only just nosed out on November 2 at Gore. We are backing the in-form runner to break through at the third time of asking.
Race 1 tip: Free And Easy to win at Neds
Race 2 – Maiden (1600m)
There is not a lot of form around the runners in the second race on the Riccarton card, but Shangold looks to be the best of the lot running around on Wednesday. The gelding has placed twice from seven attempts, and the horse’s last-start fourth was encouraging given it only finished half a length off the winner.
Macario is another runner that has placed twice in its career across 11 runs. This is the horse’s second attempt over the 1600m journey, where it has previously placed in the past. Looks to be the next best in the field behind Shangold.
Race 2 tip: Shangold to win at Unibet
Race 3 – Handicap (2000m)
Patrick Erin is a brilliant horse that, more often than not, wins races. From its 17 start career, the gelding has recorded eight wins, and placed a further seven times. A win on Wednesday will see the six-year-old record its fifth win from six attempts.
Come Fly With Me is seeking a third straight win after recording two impressive wins exactly one month ago. The seven-year-old returns after a short break and will be seeking to continue the great form. The horse returns to a distance where it has won three times and placed a further two times across 11 starts.
Race 3 tip: Patrick Erin to win at Sportsbet
Race 4 – NZB Ready To Run Sale 3YO (1400m)
Top-weight Platinum Volos is hunting a third win from four starts. After breaking the maiden, the gelding only just missed out by Taupo by a neat length before going on to record a comfortable win at the end of October. The horse received a short let up and will be raring to go.
Starmarker looks to be a progressive filly after placing on debut before taking out a smart maiden at Motukarara at the beginning of the month. Both runs were impressive and we believe if everything goes to plan from gate three the horse can take this race out.
Race 4 tip: Platinum Volos to win at Ladbrokes
Race 5 – Benchmark 85 (1400m)
It took awhile for the penny to drop for Tabard, but once it did the horse has become a dynamo. In its last six races it has won five times and missed out by under a length. the four-year-old goes in as the clear horse to beat and has the ability to advance past the benchmark grading.
King Pin is hunting more success this preparation after a second placing and a win. The horse doesn’t normally win out of turn, but the form it has displayed since returning in mid-October suggests it can win again.
We are siding with Tabard, which is our best bet of the day on the Riccarton card.
Race 5 tip: Tabard to win at William Hill
Race 6 – Valachi Downs C’bury Breeders (1400m)
Glory Days has been progressing through the grades nicely and will be hunting its biggest win of its seven race career. The hat-trick seeking five-year-old has been winning stylishly since debuting at benchmark 65 and 75 grade by half a length. Glory Days has the ability to take this race out.
Zawhip is a horse that has not won since June of this year, but has only finished outside the top-two once in that five race stretch. The mare comes out of the same race Glory Days did back on November 11 and we believe the duo will again be fighting it out for the prize on Wednesday.
Race 6 tip: Glory Days to win at CrownBet
Race 7 – Benchmark 75 (2000m)
Shadow King is looking to maintain a sensational run of form which has seen it win or place in six-straight races. In that stretch the horse has finished first in three of those events, and was never too far away in the other three races. The last-start victory came at the Riccarton course which suggests another strong performance could be in the offing.
Based on its last-start win where Shezatoucha won by nearly seven lengths, it is impossible to leave the mare out of our calculations. The horse hasn’t raced since that incredible win on October 25, and connections will be hoping the minor letup will allow it to race in a similar fashion on Wednesday.
Race 7 tip: Shadow King to win at Sportsbet
Race 8 – Lindauer Stewards Stakes (1200m)
Scapolo is an experienced campaign that is in stellar form recently. The horse has finished second twice and won a race since returning in August, with plenty of rest in between. The horse returns to a distance where it has won seven times from 20 attempts.
Passing Shot is first-up on Wednesday where it has previously won and placed at in the past. The six-year-old gelding is another galloper that has dominated at the distance, winning seven times and placing a further five across 22 starts. The big advantage Passing Shot has on our other selection is the 6.5kg relief, which could prove telling in this one.
Race 8 tip: Passing Shot to win at Neds
Race 9 – Maiden (1600m)
A very tough race to analyse with 24 potential runners and not a lot of form to go off, but Leuluai looks the best candidate in the race. Finishing second in three of its last four outings, the four-year-old gelding’s luck has to change sooner or later. The last-start second at Riccarton could prove beneficial in a field where not too many others have confronted the course.
Red River Rock comes out of the same race at Riccarton and takes in similar form. Finishing third in its last two starts, the lightly raced four-year-old has plenty of experience at the track and will be looking to put together a smart performance third-up on Wednesday.
Race 9 tip: Red River Rock to place at Unibet
Race 10 – Coupland’s Mile (1600m)
We had to wait awhile to get to the feature event of the day but the group two event should be a cracking contest.
La Diosa is a runner that has competed across the Tasman and will be looking to peak on Wednesday after two tune up runs at Riccarton. The daughter of So You Think is a class performer and a proven winner.
Watch This Space won the Carbine Club trophy on Melbourne Cup Day in brilliant fashion, lugging a huge weight to take out the race. In the feature on Wednesday it will only carry 55kg, and from barrier seven it will get the perfect opportunity to again sit off the speed and pounce late.
Race 10 tip: Watch This Space to win ($8) at Crownbet
Race 11 – benchmark 65 (2500m)
Sebring Dragon is yet to break through at any level, but the recent form suggests a win could be just around the corner. Since returning in September the horse not missed a placing and has progressively gotten better with each run. Carrying next to no weight will be a huge plus and we think it can break through here.
Hell Bound took out the last race that Sebring Dragon placed in, and looks to be a progressive style of mare. The five-year-old took that race out by almost two lengths and looks to have finally figured out what the racing game is about after failing across 12 other attempts. We are backing the horse in to make it two in a row to round out the Riccarton card.
Race 11 tip: Hell Bound to place at Unibet