New Zealand Preview & Best Bets – Saturday February 18

New Zealand Preview & Best Bets – 20/04/2024


New Zealand Tips 18/02/2023

Our form expert provides New Zealand tips for today’s horse racing at Ascot Park and Pukekohe Racecourses and gives his best bets.





Race 8:  No.1  SOKANON  ($2.70 with bet365)

The Terry Kennedy-trained SOKANON is in white-hot form and looks a big chance of bringing up the hat-trick today. Last start, the well-bred Darci Brahma gelding made it back-to-back wins at the Wingatui track when he easily accounted for a BM75 field at his first attempt over the mile. He jumped from the car park that day (15 of 16) and was never closer than three horses off the fence then entire trip. To win by two lengths under those conditions was a huge effort. Shankar Muniandy was aboard that day, celebrating his third win from four rides with the five-year-old. That last-start performance was enough to suggest he is serious contender here, despite another wide gate.



Race 4:  No.1  HUMBUCKER  ($3.40 with bet365)

The Gore-based galloper HUMBUCKER boasts a solid track record here and in career-best form this time in, looks right in the mix today. Last start, Iffraaj gelding made it two wins form his past three starts when he arrived just in time to snatch victory in the Gore Cup over 2000m with regular rider Kylie Williams aboard. That was his fifth victory and 19th podium finish from 29 career starts. He is dropping back in distance here but gets the gun-run from gate one today with Williams remaining on board where she has been for all seven starts this preparation. A track and distance winner already, he will take beating here.



Race 6:  No.7  GOLDIE’S CHANCE  ($6 with bet365)

The Ross Beckett-trained GOLDIE’S CHANCE has found the podium four times in her five-start career to date and looks a big threat at taking out her second Guineas today. Last start, the Gore-based filly jumped from the car park and still managed to grab victory in the Listed Gore Guineas over 1335m. Terry Moseley took her forward from her wide gate where she sat outside the leader in a genuine pace. She took over soon after straightening and fought off all challenges to grab the trophy in the end. Making her Ascot Park debut today, she also steps-up to the mile for the first time and gets the gun-run from gate one here. Five starts in, she should be at her peak and looks the testing material from that draw.






Race 7:  No.9  AQUACADE  ($4.20 with TAB)

The Lance Noble-trained AQUACADE is in sensational form this campaign and only has to overcome a wide gate here to be a chance of bringing up the hat-trick today. Last start, the Dundeel mare made it back-to-back victories when she annihilated her rivals in the J.A Russell Ltd Hcp over 2100m at Tauranga. Putting more than six lengths on the field in that event, she certainly stamped her authority on open class company that day. She sat behind the pace and on the turn, took the shortcut along the fence and soon after, she was in another postcode. The further they went, the bigger the winning margin became. She did that on a Heavy 10 with Warren Kennedy in the saddle. Kennedy keeps the job for today’s contest where his biggest challenge is crossing from the wide gate and settling the mare as well as he can. Already placed at Group 2 level and a winner at the track, she looks set to give this a real shake today.



Race 5:  No.5  DEVILDOM  ($9 with bet365

The Lance O’Sullivan Team saddle-up DEVILDOM here who has the recent runs on the board to be considered a genuine winning chance here. Last start, the Almanzor gelding made it three-straight top-two finishes when he beat all but Loosespender home in the Group 2 Waikato Guineas (2000m). He travelled back in the field, settling six lengths behind Loosespender to the turn. On straightening, Loosespender took over, leaving Devildom to do the chasing and to his credit, took plenty of ground off the winner, beaten 1.5 lengths on the line. A chance for redemption is right here as Craig Grylls sticks with the three-year-old today. Ideally drawn in gate three, he will be at his peak for this (after fives starts in) and looks well worth an each-way ticket today.



Race 3:  No.8  ZAILA  ($7 with Ladbrokes)

The Kylie Grass-trained ZAILA comes in on the limit here and unbeaten on fresh legs, looks a genuine contender here. Last start, the Street Boss mare ended a very successful campaign when she took out a BM75 over the mile at Te Rapa. Her short time back last prep. Read four starts for two wins and two runner-up finishes. Sam Spratt was aboard the mare for her last two runs and has the reins again today. The four-year-old is two from two when first-up and has a similar score over the 1200m as well. The former Victorian galloper hasn’t put a foot wrong since crossing the Tasman and looks in the mix here at odds today.