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New Zealand Racing Tips - Best bets for Tauranga and Riccarton Park on Saturday March 23

Steve Bennett in Free Tips 22 Mar 2019
  • Best bets for Saturday's NZ racing
  • Previous results included.

Looking for free New Zealand horse racing tips? Our experts guide you through the best chances for Saturday racing meetings.

The key racing action in New Zealand comes from Tauranga and Riccarton Park on Saturday March 23, and there are a few standouts on the programmes.

New Zealand Racing Tips - March 23


In top form this preparation, the Team Baker mare ARTISTE just keeps on producing and warrants plenty of respect here. The Mastercraftsman five-year-old seems to have peaked on form, winning three of her last six starts and finishing top four at her past seven. Since winning a BM65 on this track six starts back, she has progressed through the grades nicely. Two starts back, she was having just her second start at the BM82 level, and sitting just behind the pace, she went on to win that event. Then last start, she drew wide (10 of 11) and got too far back and couldn’t run them down when finishing a gallant fourth in open company. She drops back in grade here and after the claim will carry 2kgs under the limit which puts her right in the ball park. She looks a great each-way chance.

Odds correct as at 8PM (AEDT) on 22/03/2019

You can’t do any more than win, and that’s what this Team Baker gelding has been doing of late. TRUE ENOUGH has won four of his past five starts and deserves a shot in Group Two company. He won two on the trot in open company before narrowly beaten by Passing Shot over 1400m at Hastings in his latest effort. He has had three starts at Tauranga for two wins and a second, and is a four-time victor over the mile trip. He ticks most of the boxes here and is well weighted to warrant being a solid each-way chance in this.


There is something special to said about ‘any’ horse who can claim to have run in 22 races and won 50% of them. That outstanding stat belongs to GIFT OF POWER who is appropriately named. Winning three of her past five starts, the four-year-old mare certainly has claims to taking out this event with six of her 11 victories coming over the 1200m trip. Rosie Myers was having her third stint in the saddle last start when the pair proved too good in the Pohangina Cup over her pet distance (1200m) and while carrying 59kgs, the mare covered the trip in 1:08.9 which is a mighty effort. She has had a six-week let-up since then and normally that would scare me off, however, her fresh record is outstanding and she seems to save her best when racing on fresh legs. She is two and one from three first-up runs and will take a very smart one here to beat her to the line.

Odds coorect as at 8:00PM (AEDT) on 22/03/2019

Third-up and ready to fire, the profoundly named ZENTESSA is more than capable of giving race favourite Contessa Vanessa a real run for her money. Last campaign, she was destroying her opposition in the lower grades, recording effortless victories before stepping up in grade. She was an unlucky second (beaten half a neck) in the North Canterbury Cup (2000m) then suffered an identical defeat next start when second behind Swing Note in the Listed Spring Classic (2000m) at this track. Her last two starts have seen her finished in fifth spot where on both occasions she failed to handle the hard tracks. A soft track is forecast for the weekend and we should see her back to her brilliant best. Certainly great value, currently at each-way odds.

Odds correct as at 8:00PM (AEDT) on 22/03/2019

Previous Tips: 

March 16


The best three-year-olds line up here with race favourite Dawn Patrol very firm and short in the market. However, resuming from almost three months in the paddock and drawing the car park in gate 15, I’m willing to risk the Dawn Approach gelding in an open affair like this. Although drawn even wider (16), I thought the Jamie Richards-trained WEAPONRY represented great value at double-figure odds. The Declaration Of War gelding won his first two races before finishing a close-up third behind Air Max in the Gore Guineas over 1335m. Last start, he got his revenge on Air Max, beating him home in the Listed Southland Guineas at Ascot Park over 1600m, (Air Max finishing three lengths back in third place). He hasn’t drawn well here and will need some luck from out there, but if he can cross and be somewhere near the fence, he can finish well and is worth an each-way ticket in this.
Result (scratched)

A lot of inexperience is amongst these fillies including several maidens. Among the better chances, the Wayne Hillis-trained IMELDA MARY looks to have a better than even chance of taking this out. The three-year-old wasn’t quick to begin and it took her 11 starts before breaking her maiden status at Matamata over 1600m. She jumped drastically in grade next start and won even more convincingly at Ellerslie in the Group Two Royal Stakes (2000m). Two starts back, she beat home Sentimental Miss and Queen Of Diamonds in the Group Two Sir Tristram (2000m) at Te Rapa before finishing third behind Queen Of Diamonds last start in the Group Two Lowland Stakes at Hastings. She has drawn ideally here in gate four while Queen Of Diamonds jumps from the car park in gate 20 and will need plenty of luck from out there. Cameron Lammas has ridden the filly in eight of her 16 races and with two victories to his name remains aboard here. She looks the value runner in the race.
Result (unplaced)


Dropping way back in class here, LE CASTILE looks well-placed and will be hard to beat. Three starts back, the four-year-old won a BM72 at Ellerslie over 1300m. She then jumped to open class company and crushed her rivals that day, putting more than two lengths on the field in the 1400m event. Then last start, she was far from disgraced when finishing fourth behind Volpe Veloce in the Group Two Westbury at Ellerslie over the 1400m trip. The grey mare has enjoyed a seven-week freshen-up and returns to open class company here. She is drawn well in gate four but will have to accept her fourth jockey in five starts as Rees Jones climbs aboard for the first time. Three of her four wins have been over the 1400m trip and she looks to give this a real shake.
Result (1st - $7)

A two-time winner at the track, CALLIGRAPHY is coming off a seven-week freshen-up and looks right in the mix here. The six-year-old hasn’t won a race for exactly 12 months but gets her chance here as she drops sharply in grade. Last start, she was just behind the money when finishing fifth in the Group Two Westbury Classic (1400m) at Ellerslie. She drops back to BM82 grade here and after the claim, will carry just 56.5kgs. Drawn in gate two, she will do little work early and should be box-seating from there. Already a winner at the mile, she looks well placed to break the drought and record her seventh career win.
Result (4th)

March 9


The Market suggests this could be a three-horse war but only two of them have run over the 2000m journey. Equal race favourite Melody Belle is in career best form winning her last two on the trot. However, the Commands mare has never raced beyond 1600m so she will be tested here I’m sure. Team Moroney has On The Rocks engaged here and has won both his starts at 2000m and beyond and is certainly in the mix. However, I am sticking with DANZDANZDANCE here who finished unplaced in the Group One Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) but rest assured that run should be completely forgotten. Trapped three-deep for most of the race, the mare wasn’t given a minute’s peace in the entire run. Unable to find a spot nearer the fence, Michael Rodd decided to push forward and sit outside the leader. Then he was under more pressure when the pace quickened earlier than expected. She took the turn via the car park, covered more ground than the early explorers and was still only beaten three lengths on the line. Craig Grylls is legged aboard here for his first ride on the four-year-old grey and already a track and trip winner, she is worth another chance here.
Result (2nd)

Beaten a nose in this race last year, FIVE TO MIDNIGHT will be on a mission here to avenge that narrow loss. Trained by the successful Lisa Latta, the Doomsday gelding has enjoyed a first-class preparation for this event. Since returning from Australia (after a Sydney Cup tilt), he was spelled for five months and since returning, Latta has spaced his races nicely with three to four-week gaps which has paid dividends. The six-year-old has won three races this preparation including the Listed Fielding Cup (2100m) and two starts back he won the Karaka Cup (2200m) on this track. Last start he battled on gamely to finish third behind Glory Days and Blue Breeze and while beaten four lengths that day, it was a 2400m challenge. The two-mile trip has always been the acid test for horses who have never raced beyond 2400m and both Glory Days and Blue Breeze fits that criteria. A proven two-miler, Five To Midnight is well placed here (despite the wide draw which never concerns me in staying events). He has enjoyed another three-week break and should be freshened-up nicely for this.
Result (2nd) 


Race 6: JEAN & LEWS 50TH (BM72) 1200M
Not raced for more than 18 months, GRAND MAYSON has returned to the track in fine fashion. Missing a top-three finish just once in his past eight starts, the four-year-old is racing as good as any other and looks well-placed here to continue along the same lines. Two starts back, he was an unlucky second (beaten a nose) in a BM72 over 1200m at Otaki. Then after a five-week freshen-up, he looked home at Hastings as he loomed up alongside Comeback and then the pair of them were swamped by Rock On Wood. Grand Mayson was nosed out of second prize, finishing third in the BM72 event. A 10-day turnaround here should suit and with plenty of early pace drawn inside, he should find a forward spot with cover. He looks hard to beat here.
Result (3rd)

Race 7: SHOE CLINIC (BM65) 2400M
A true model of consistency, KATIEM MARIE has filled a top-three finish in her past six straight appearances and she looks set to make it seven here. Already a winner at this level, she has been thereabouts since winning at Greymouth. Four starts back, she was most impressive when finishing second behind Pamir in a much harder BM82 at Hokitika. Last start she had Sarah McNab back aboard (who has 10 rides to her credit on the mare), and carrying topweight, she gave the front runners just a little too much and coming from last, grabbed second prize on the line. This is no harder and she drops in weight as well. If she can race just a little closer this time, she will be very hard to hold out in the run home.
Result (3rd)

March 2


A Group Three for the three-year-old fillies and it is somewhat of an open affair with almost half the field opening up under double figures. I am leaning towards the Steve Autridge-trained SUNNY ROSE who has struck form at the right time. A maiden win at Tauranga over the mile four starts back set her on her way. She followed that up with two minor placings at Matamata and Arawa Park before lining up in the Group Two Sir Tristram (2000m) at Te Rapa. She gave them too much start that day but finished strongly to grab fourth prize, finishing a length from the winner. This has set her in steed for this event. AJ Calder has been in the saddle since her maiden win and remains aboard here. A definite winning chance in this field.
Result (unplaced)

The big race of the day worth almost $1 million and Surely Sacred dominates the markets here as pre-post favourite. She clearly stands out as the horse to beat but I believe that can be done here by the Stephen Marsh-trained colt VERNANME. This O’Reilly colt has had a perfect preparation for this race and his last two starts showed he has been screaming for the 2400m trip. Two starts back he finished second behind the smart Madison County in the Group One Levin Classic (1600m) which appeared too short for him. Then after a five-week let-up, he clashed with Surely Sacred in the Group Two Avondale Guineas (2100m). Always well back, he spotted Surely Sacred four lengths into the straight, and finished third, less than two lengths away. The extra trip here will suit him much better. He looks a big chance of rolling the favourite.
Results (unplaced)


Winning two of his past three starts, THE SWISS MAESTRO looks well placed here to continue on his winning way. The Swiss Ace gelding won his maiden two starts back at Riccarton then finished an impressive second when stepping up to BM65 company here over the 1200m trip. He then lined up against similar company at Trentham where he finished best to take out the BM65 event comfortably. On a Dead 4 track, he covered the 1200m journey in 1:08 which was impressive for a one-race winner. His maiden-winning jockey, Kavish Chowdhoory is back aboard here and after his claim, the Swiss Ace gelding comes in on the limit of 55kgs. Up in class here but comes in nicely at the weights. He looks a big threat.
Result (unplaced)

Team Pitman’s lightly-raced filly TEE CEE COUP is in the right form to give this a real shake. Another of the Swiss Ace progeny, this three-year-old won her maiden three starts back and has gone on with it since. She finished second in a BM65 at Riccarton two starts back, then last start, came out on top in a close three-way go over 1200m at the same track. She steps up to the 1400m here but is in fine touch and gives the impression the extra trip will suit. She looks good value here.
Result (unplaced)


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New Zealand Racing Tips - Best bets for Tauranga and Riccarton Park on Saturday March 23

Steve Bennett previews Saturday's racing in New Zealand and guides you through the best chances for the key racing meetings.

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