A Barnes belter - Brian Christopher makes it three at Redcliffe and Bondi Shake just misses
Trainer Al Barnes went close to a driving double for Lincoln Farms at Redcliffe tonight after rating Brian Christopher perfectly in front to win and all but getting Bondi Shake up in the next race, coming from last.
Barnes used Brian Christopher’s gate speed to clear his rivals early and after getting away with opening quarters of 32.1 and 31.2, ramped it up with a 28.5 sprint.
“He seems to like racing like that, making it into a staying test,” Barnes said.
“He hasn’t got a lot of change-up speed so I wanted to take a bit of speed out of the others’ legs.”
And, thanks to new bit which Barnes fitted to the horse, Brian Christopher paced a lot better round the final bend, unlike his previous start last week when second.
“He steered a lot better tonight with the new bit on - he didn’t hit his knees at all.”
Barnes’ aggression before the final dash home gave the horse a key buffer and while Go Jo Jolt and Donny Jones tried hard he had only to run a 29.9 final 400 to hold a 3.8 metre margin at the post.
The 2040 metres was run in 2:35.9, a sedate mile rate of 2:03.
The win, his third at Redcliffe since arriving in Queensland, confirmed the advantage of racing in Australia, said Barnes.
“We’ve been able to place him where he’s competitive. Every horse can find a home over here, you just have to find the right track that suits them.
“His gate speed is a big asset and Redcliffe with its shorter straight makes it hard for them to catch him. The class is also a bit weaker.”
Best of all, being a three-year-old, Brian Christopher will cop only a three rating point penalty for tonight’s win, Barnes said.
“He’ll be in basically the same class again next time, he just might draw a bit worse.
“But his confidence is up now and I’ll try to place him where he draws the front.”
The Bettor’s Delight - Kamwood Elsie gelding has now raced five times in Queensland for three wins and two seconds, earning $10,879 for owners John and Lynne Street, Kevin and Glenis Street and Bev Glass.
Barnes thought he had no hope of winning with Bondi Shake one race later when he found himself last with 550 metres to run.
“I was going to punch out but there was a strong head wind at Redcliffe tonight and I didn’t want to park him.”
So Barnes went back to the rear and bided his time, cutting down to the markers when he saw a couple of drivers shift out before the home turn.
“I knew coming wide I wouldn’t earn anything so I drove to get him as close as I could.
“It’s a two-horse sprint lane at Redcliffe and I thought the shortest way home was up the fence. At no stage did I think I could win but he was still coming at the line and I actually thought I got there. One stride after the line he was in front.”
Bondi Shake, who was still three back on the markers turning for home, did exceptionally well to be beaten only a head by Clarenden Dazzler in a thrilling four-way finish.
The 1780 metres was cut out in a mile rate of 2:00.1.
Barnes, who had predicted a bold run from the fifth favourite because he was so well and had been habitually unlucky, said he hoped the horse could win a race at Albion Park soon.
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Our runners this week
Saturday night at Albion Park
Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them
Friday night at Auckland
Race 2: Frisco Bay
“He obviously needed the run last week. He pulled his way round the field and sat outside the leader but he couldn’t cop a run like that first-up and got tired. The ability is there, whether he’s fit enough or not we’ll find out. But I expect him to go well, the three draw is much better than last week.”
Race 2: Lenny Lincoln
“He’ll probably need a race but he’s capable of running a slot. He’s unlucky not to have won a race, all three of his seconds were good. He’s got a bit better with each of his trials this time in and he got home well last Saturday, after coming widest on the turn.”
Race 3: Obadiah Dragon
“The way the race was run at Cambridge last week, his effort wasn’t bad at all. Moni (Monika Ranger) said he felt strong and, if he’d been a few slots closer, he would have been right in it. He’ll be improved for the run.”
Race 3: Leo Lincoln
“He’s very consistent - he’s only missed a couple of cheques. But he’s another just coming back and should improve with the run.”