TRACKCHAT | Easter Handicap Day | Saturday 22 April 2023

21 Apr 2023
Auckland Thoroughbred Racing

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


Here’s your preview of our upcoming raceday complete with Craig Baker’s preview of the day’s feature races, speed maps, a track report AND best bets from some special guests.



Track update


We are on weather watch with rain due tonight and tomorrow. The track is currently a Good 4 but will obviously deteriorate if that rain eventuates. I recommend you work off a Soft 6/7.

Here’s what our track manager, Emery White and racing operations manager Mark Nowell had to say about the track this morning:


Feature Race Preview:


Manco Easter Handicap

A typical open edition of the time-honoured Manco Easter Handicap – the 149th running.

We have talked about it before, but Habana has been a revelation this summer and early autumn winning four of his past five including the Stella Artois 1500 at Pukekohe Park on Boxing Day and, more recently, an Open 1400 at the same track at its last start. Yet to tick the 1600 metre box, but has not been tried, and there’s nothing in the formline to suggest the son of Zoustar won’t run it out. I have him on top from The Perfect Pink and Marroni. TAB have a top 5 option where they have The Perfect Pink at $2.8 to run top five. That’s value!

Trelawney Stud Championship Stakes

Arby, son of sensational sire Proisir, was too good for his rivals in a similar race at Awapuni at his most recent and I expect him to repeat what he did there. The wide draw holds no concern given the likely rain affected track. He will get back, be pulled to the outside and be too strong in the straight. The dangers include the talented but quirky Desert Lightning and Armino.

More things to know about the day:




  • Facilities open: 11.00am

  • Hospitality opens: 11.30am

  • First race (of 8): 12.11pm

  • Last race: 4.48pm

More racing info


Need some tips?


ATR CEO Paul Wilcox rates:

Pukekohe Park Racing Operations Manager Mark Nowell rates:

Manco Managing Director Bryan Black rates:

“Gets in with a light weight, has good fresh-up form and no problem with a wet track. Good each way odds.”

“Showing good form, but unknown in the wet.”

“May be hard to beat the favorite and don’t know if the step up to 1600 will be okay on a wet track, but good odds and worth an each way bet.”

“Simply cant go past her. Win only”

“Have followed this wonderful Proisir gelding that is an absolute standout in all respects. Should win but will take insurance each way.”

Bets: “Hard to go past #4 Habana on form, and also #3 Tavattack and #1 Marroni must be strong contenders. I will also take a wild card place bet on #6 Thunder who has a lightning fast turn of foot over the last 200m.”

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