Turn it up! Cup week a treat

Blair Orange driving Cruz Bromac poses with the owners after winning Race 10 Christchurch Casino...
Blair Orange driving Cruz Bromac poses with the owners after winning Race 10 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup during the New Zealand Trotting Cup Day at Addington Raceway. Photo: Getty Images
New Zealand Cup week simply never fails to impress.

It provides great racing for fans across New Zealand, a great atmosphere and an event where horse racing can transcend its usual audience.

It's hard for many to be anything but excited about this brilliant week.

But despite that, there still many with great concerns for the industry and its leadership.

This year the New Zealand Cup Carnival has been the perfect veil for an industry that needs help.

RITA, the new transformation of the racing board, unveiled betting figures that should shock and concern industry participants.

Betting on horse racing was down more than $28.2million in its last financial year, while betting on sports rose more than $24million.

I will leave you all to ponder those figures, which will certainly be discussed at length in future columns.

But before then, we have some great racing to focus on:

The Dominion at Addington at today at 4.38pm

Mark Purdon rarely speaks about a horse like he does about Oscar Bonavena.

This young trotter is ready to step up and be a star. I have him winning this race and confirming that he is the best trotter in New Zealand.

I think the Dunedin-bred horse, McLovin, can run second to him. He looks such a gritty stayer, I think he will relish 3200m.

Marcoola is clearly a very good horse, who must be included, but I have him behind the top two.

New Zealand Free For All at Addington today at 5.48pm

This is a brilliantly even race, stacked with genuine winning chances.

Spankem drops back to his favoured caper of sprint racing here, and as the reigning Miracle Mile winner he deserves to start favourite.

He does look like he will have to do plenty of work early in the race from barrier 7 with some very fast beginners inside him.

One of those is Chase Auckland, who continues to fly underneath many people's radars.

His New Zealand Cup run was brilliant, coming wider than any other horse in the winning photo.

Cup winners always must be respected in this race, so Cruz Bromac has to get a mention as well.

One Thousand Guineas at Riccarton tomorrow at 3.10pm

It's a terribly tough task to try to split Kali and Travelling Light, as both are clearly high-class fillies.

On ability they are likely the equal of each other. So, I am going to split them on their tractability and racing style.

I think Kali, despite drawing wider than her rival, has more of an adaptable style that should see her settle well and run out the distance strongly.

The smart play in this race may be to avoid deciding between the favourites and picking Bavella to place.

New Zealand Cup at Riccarton tomorrow at 4.20pm

I believe the weights in this race are the key to solving its form puzzle.

Dee And Gee appears to get in with a luxury handicap for a horse that loves 3200m and has placed in big races before.

The only concern is Dee And Gee flopped in this race last year.

Her run was excellent behind Duplicity, who was runner up in this race last year, in the Metropolitan Trophy.

Less than half a length separated the first four last weekend, so Soleseifei and Nymph Monte must be considered, too.

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