FEATURE RACE PREVIEW: HERBIE DYKE STAKES

Find betting tips, analysis and strategy on some of New Zealand’s biggest Group 1 races from NZ Expert Form Analyst Jason Tan. Racing tips and preview for the Herbie Dyke Stakes are online now!

HERBIE DYKE STAKES

Track: Te Rapa, New Zealand Distance: 2000m | Condition: 2YO Set Weights | Rail Position: Out 4m | Track Condition: Likely to be Dead 4 to 5, some rain is forecast.

Dubbed “Legends Day”, this meeting held at Te Rapa racecourse in Hamilton, is one of the major thoroughbred events on the New Zealand calendar.

It features two Group 1 Weight-For-Age races, and the undercard is normally full of quality three-year-old horses on their way to Oaks and Derbies. Past New Zealand champions to win on this day include Melody Belle and Sunline.

The rail hasn’t been in a consistent position on this day for the last 5-years, being set from the “true position” to 1m, 3m & 5m. This year the rail is in the 4m position.

With natural rain during the week and some expected on the day, it will be a genuine Dead surface. Generally, Te Rapa favours horses jumping from inside barriers and/or with the ability to take up forward positions in the running. If it’s hot and fine and the rain doesn’t come on the day, then a drying Te Rapa can see the rail become very favourable.


SPEED MAP

There is GOOD early speed in the Herbie Dyke Stakes, and I expect that will last until positions are found by the backstraight. TIPTRONIC should work forward towards the lead with VERNANME able to trail. HARLECH, ROYAL PERFORMER and LLANACORD can settle just behind the leaders or one-off the rail.

THE CHOSEN ONE is drawn a touch awkwardly and would be best served being asked to go forward to find a position, for fear of being cast wide. SOUND is the horse that could inject speed into the race down the back to ensure he isn’t outsprinted. COVENTINA BAY looks destined to be taken back to near last from barrier 11.


KEY RUNNERS

#1 THE CHOSEN ONE (7) (Rated Price $2.50)

He was dynamic winning the G1 Thorndon Mile fresh-up and the dominance of the win means a repeat of that level over 2000m would have him very hard to beat. There’s no doubt that this distance is more suitable than 1600m, but in his previous three preparations he’s run very well fresh before having his form dip second-up. Ran 2nd in this least year fresh-up with two sprint trials.

#2 SOUND (10) (RP $14.00)

He continues to progress well towards the Auckland Cup (3200m) in March and the conditions of this race suit him, even though the distance is on the sharper side. The draw should allow him to roll forward and be prominent. A repeat of his Sandown Classic effort could see him run close but he isn’t likely to be peaking for this.

#3 TIPTRONIC (6) (RP $6.50)

He looks a natural leader and was very effective being ridden like that to win the Group 1 Zabeel Classic over 2000m at Ellerslie in December. This is his fourth start in this race, having won it and placed 2nd previously. He looks to be in as good a form as ever. Forget his last start when he was carved-up on the lead. Leading rider Opie Bosson is booked and he should be able to control things on Tiptronic to suit better.

#4 VERNANME (1) (RP $11.00)

The advantage for this horse is that he maps to track the speed without working as hard as he did when running 2nd to Tiptronic in the Zabeel Classic. He has trialed fine at Te Rapa since and he just needs to relax during the running. He must find a little on his best level but could if there’s any ‘up and in’ pattern. Won’t mind rain either.

#5 ROYAL PERFORMER (3) (RP $18.00)

He got the run of the race last year and won strongly. Hasn’t shown the same level of form this year, but hinted last time over an unsuitable distance that he was in better condition. The draw will allow him to naturally settle closer in the running, which could see him cause a minor upset if a couple of others underperform.

#6 HARLECH (2) (RP $24.00)

He had his chance last time against The Chosen One and has been a touch hard to catch. At his best, he’s a contender and the barrier draw will allow him to settle closer and relax without working hard in the running.

#7 ON THE ROCKS (9) (RP $301.00)

He won this race in 2019 on a rain-affected track. His chances might be enhanced if the track ended up being on the worse side of Dead, or Slow. Otherwise he’s just lengths off his best form and is impossible to entertain.

#8 THE MAYOR (8) (RP $81.00)

He returns from Chris Waller in Australia and has moved okay in a trial. He’d need to find a few lengths on his best to win and ultimately, it’s hard to know where he’s at regarding full fitness.

#9 GERMANICUS – SCRATCHED

#10 JOE’S LEGACY (5) (RP $61.00)

He’s a horse that has been relatively lightly raced over this sort of distance, but has built up a decent record. WFA is rich company, and he has a lot to find, but forget his starts over shorter trips, this is his more his go. If there’s rain (Slow track or worse) he will cope better than most and I’d speck him at a big price.

#11 COVENTINA BAY (11) (RP $7.00)

She ran well in the Thorndon Mile and against The Chosen One gets a 2kg weight swing in her favour. Her sectionals were okay late, but no better than him. Her draw means she will have to settle back and if swoopers are suited then she can run into it. That said, this isn’t generally a race that suits that run style, so she has a bit to overcome. I’m not completely sold on her over 2000m against some strong, proven WFA staying types.

#12 LLANACORD (4) (RP $61.00)

She was poor last time, but is better-suited over this distance. Has a bit to find off her best.


SUMMARY

The 2022 Herbie Dyke Stakes should be fought out by two in-form horses that bring strong form at this level. The one to beat is THE CHOSEN ONE. He has spent much of his career campaigning in Australia with good success finishing just behind the winners of recent Caulfield and Melbourne Cups. Fresh-up in New Zealand he convincingly won a G1 mile which said he’s right up to the level to go one better than his 2nd-placing in last year’s Herbie Dyke.

TIPTRONIC can beat him if he gets a controlled lead. He comes into the race in as good a form as ever, even though beaten last time, he had significant excuses. Whilst the weight might’ve compounded things it was more a ridiculous speed duel, he got caught in that was costly.

VERNANME is a horse that should get all favours in the running. This race has been won by horses that map like he does, and his form is good enough to take advantage of that. COVENTINA BAY is a mare with the ability to produce a very fast last-600m over 1400m—1600m. Last time she had every favour and couldn’t run down The Chosen One.

On Saturday she is unlikely to get anywhere near the same sort of economical trip. At her early price ($3.80-$4.00), I’d be happy to lay her. I’d be happy backing The Chosen One @$2.50+, Tiptronic @ $6.50+ and Vernanme @ $11.00+, and aim for a +50% book if any of them won.


TOP 4 SELECTIONS

#1 – THE CHOSEN ONE
#3 – TIPTRONIC
#4 – VERNANME
#11 – COVENTINA BAY


Betting Strategy 

4 Units Outlay:

BACK (WIN) — The Chosen One for 2.5 units at $2.50+

BACK (WIN) — Tiptronic for 1 unit at $6.50+

BACK (WIN) — Vernanme for 0.5 units at $11+

LAY (WIN) — Coventina Bay



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