Irish Excuse shapes well for win

Consistent sprinting veteran Irish Excuse looks well placed to win his first race in over a year in the  South Otago Cup at Wingatui today. Photo: Jonny Turner
Consistent sprinting veteran Irish Excuse looks well placed to win his first race in over a year in the South Otago Cup at Wingatui today. Photo: Jonny Turner
Gore galloper Irish Excuse looks set to break a year-long winless streak at Wingatui today.

Rider Tina Comignaghi's 2kg claim has the Ellis Winsloe-trained veteran well-placed to end his winning drought in race 3, today's open handicap over 1400m.

Irish Excuse produced a strong performance to run third at Riccarton over the 1000m, a distance short of his best.

He steps back up to 1400m, one of his favourite distances, and is racing one of his favourite tracks.

Ellis Winsloe is hoping everything aligns for Irish Excuse today, but is wary of three factors.

The Wingatui track dried from his horse's preferred heavy rating to a slow rating yesterday.

''That is what I am a bit worried about, the track has dried out - when it's heavy he comes in to his own,'' he said.

The horse racing on a quick four-day turnaround from his third placing at Riccarton on Saturday is another concern for Winsloe.

''I haven't backed up him so quickly before, so I just don't know how that is going to affect him.

''The truck didn't come back from Christchurch until Monday, but he has eaten up since he got back and I am pleased with him.''

And Irish Excuse will carry 58kg today with Comignaghi's 2kg claim; that sees him giving away a massive 7kg advantage to his main rival, What's Up Alf.

The Riverton galloper will carry just 51kg courtesy of Corey Campbell's 3kg claim.

TAB bookmakers opened both horses as $3.70 favourites for today's race when fixed odds markets opened yesterday.

What's Up Alf comes into today's event in completely the opposite circumstances to Irish Excuse.

Trainer Kelvin Tyler has not started the horse in over a month.

''He's just having a bit of a run really to see where he is at,'' he told NZ Racing Desk.

''He had ten days off after his last run and he's freshened up quite nicely.

''He normally goes reasonably well fresh and he comes in well at the weights, so I'm pretty happy with him. I'm pretty sure he will go a good race.''

Former Wingatui horsemanJamie Richards looks set to dominate his return to his former home track.

Richards lines up four horses at today's meeting, and TAB bookmakers opened all as odds-on favourites when markets opened yesterday.

The quartet includes Swing Note in race 1 ($1.35), Summer Monsoon in race 4 ($1.60), Our Flying Ace in race 5 ($1.85) and Bak Da Master in race 8 ($1.60).

Summer Monsoon, Our Flying Ace and Bak Da Master will be ridden by Richards' in-form rider, Shafiq Rusof, who is riding at Wingatui for the first time.

Swing Note will be ridden by 4kg-claiming apprentice Nik Baker.

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