Turn it up! Sit back and enjoy the rides

Winx and connections (L-R) Patricia Tighe, Peter Tighe, strapper Umut Odemislioglu , Debbie...
Winx and connections (L-R) Patricia Tighe, Peter Tighe, strapper Umut Odemislioglu , Debbie Kepitis and Paul Kepitis pose with the her four Cox Plate trophies at Altona Beach. Photo: Getty Images
Thoroughbred enthusiasts can sit back and enjoy around 24 hours of brilliant racing across Australasia this weekend. Racing writer Jonny Turner takes a look at some of the highlights, from a southern perspective, for galloping fans on Cox Plate weekend.

The Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley tonight at 11.30

The Bostonian looks the best placed of any New Zealand horse to capture a prized group 1 event at the Melbourne Spring Carnival in this hectic dash.

He was sound when third in his last start in the Schillaci Stakes after clashing with Nature Strip in the Moir Stakes.

The short-priced favourite Bivouac is undoubtedly the horse The Bostonian has to beat.

He comes into the race after beating The Everest winner Yes Yes Yes in the Golden Rose.

The 1600m 3yr-old stakes event at Riccarton tomorrow at 3.33pm


Tony Pike produced Kali for a big win last weekend, and it looks like his South Island campaign will get even better at Riccarton tomorrow.

Sherwood Forest put up an enormous effort when hitting the line strongly despite being three-wide throughout in Catalyst's Hawkes Bay Guineas.

He will again clash with Aotea Lad, who beat him home in that race after getting a better run.

It will be interesting to see how Woodcoat Lass measures up with these two boys. The filly has been excellent in two South Island runs.

Coupland's Mile Trial at Riccarton tomorrow at 4.08pm


Tony Pike lines up Sacred Day, back from a pretty successful Australian campaign and looking ready to rumble after a good trial earlier this month.

1400m is short of his best, but his class should take him a long way in this.

Sheezallmine was good in her first run and another with plenty of class on her side. She is also weighted very competitively at 54kg.

Kiwi Ida will enjoy the track if Riccarton stays in the soft condition it has been in this week.

She has the services of Kozzi Asano, who claims 3kg and is riding like a man possessed right now.

The Thompson Handicap at Trentham at 4.19pm


Secret Allure, who is equal favourite for the Coupland's Mile with Concert Hall, will prepare for her New Zealand Cup carnival raid here.

She squares off with the progressive Polly Gray.

Concert Hall starts at Te Rapa on Monday.

The Sililoquy Stakes at Ellerslie tomorrow at 4.34pm

This race is set to be a key guide to next month's One Thousand Guineas.

Aretha and Bavela will go at it again after fighting out an exciting finish to the Gold Trail Stakes.

Add in Travelling Light, who has impressed in winning her first two starts, and we have a heck of a race.

It's hard to split them, but if I had to pick one I would stick with Aretha.

The Cox Plate at Moonee Valley tomorrow at 6.55pm


Te Akau Shark faces a big task when starting from the outside gate when he flies the New Zealand flag in Australasia's weight for age championship.

With a reasonable run he is a genuine each way chance, so all pressure is on Opie Bosson to find him a sweet run.

Te Akau Shark is in good company out in his wide gate, with Japanese horse Lys Gracieux drawn three gates inside him.

The mare brings brilliant international form along with the staying prowess the Japanese breed is known for, and was on show in last weekend's Caulfield Cup.

Avilius and the 3yr-old Castelvecchio carry the Australian hopes in the race and they both look genuine chances.

Verry Elleegant adds another layer of New Zealand interest to the race.

The New Zealand-bred-and-trained mare will be ridden in the 2040m event by expat James McDonald.

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