TRACKCHAT | Great Northern Day | 17 Oct 2020

Need an insider tip? Keen to know how the track is shaping up?

Here's your preview to our upcoming raceday, complete with Craig Baker's thoughts on the day's feature races.


Track update

The track reading this morning was a Slow 7 after 8mms of rain in the past 24 hours.

With a dry day today, the track will be a Dead 6 this afternoon with a chance that it may get to a Dead 5 at some stage tomorrow.


Feature race preview

RACE 4 | $125,000 ARC Great Northern Hurdle | Prestige Jumping Race | OPN HDL | 4190m | 1.45pm

Another strong edition of the ARC Great Northern Hurdle with the powerful Kevin Myers stable likely to be at the forefront.

Aigne, a four-time winner over hurdles, is on top for me. He won narrowly last start at Ellerslie just holding off Delegate, so he is no moral but with the mercurial Shaun Fannin taking the ride, he looks hardest to beat which is reflected in his price.

Ave Maria didn’t have a lot of luck last Saturday in an Open Hurdle at Egmont but did hit the line well after jumping the last fence. While she would prefer soft or heavy ground, she will appreciate the distance.

As referenced above, Delegate made a real race of it with Aigne two weeks ago and must be next best based on that effort.


RACE 6 | $125,000 ARC Great Northern Steeplechase | Prestige Jumping Race | OPN STP | 6400m | 2.58pm

Question: How do they beat Magic Wonder?

Answer: They don’t.

The Jo Rathbone-trained mare was a dominant winner in the CLC Pakuranga Hunt Cup two weeks ago and, with no weight penalty for winning that race, she looks the obvious winner. While she is unproven at 6400 metres, you would be clutching at straws thinking that the distance was going to be a problem given how easily she won over 4900 metres.

Southern Cool - a maiden steeplechase winner here at Ellerslie in September - was a game second behind Magic Wonder two weeks ago and looks the biggest danger with the John Wheeler-trained, Grinner, next best.

An interesting fact is that all horses competing in this year’s edition are trained in the Central Districts. I suspect it is the first time it has occurred in the race’s 136-year history.


More good things to know:

  • First race: 12.00pm

  • Last race: 5.19pm

  • View the fields

  • Click the box below to download the day's speed maps

Speed Maps - Great Northern Day 2020
Download PDF • 189KB

Other things of interest :

Walk the course

Join us tomorrow for complimentary morning tea and a walk around our steeplechase track, as hosted by Great Northern Hurdle-winning jockey and current trainer, Shelley Houston.

Meet in Tote on Ascot at 9am and, for catering purposes, please RSVP here.

Auckland Racing Club members' event

Club members and their guests will be the first to see the 2020 Vodafone New Zealand Derby winner's painting when it is unveiled in the Takanini Room after Race 3 - the Steeplechase - which runs at 1.10pm.

Members will also be the first to learn who are our Ellerslie Awards 2019/20 winners with announcements being made in the Takanini Room after Races 3 and 5 (runs at 2.23pm).

MC Guy Heveldt will be running a punters club in the room (active for races 3 through 9) with the $10 entries closing at 12.45pm.


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