Pacifico Dream nabs a game Argyle right on the line at Albion Park last Saturday. Always Smokin is making good ground for third.

Aaargh, pipped on the post, but from the pole Argyle can make a big splash this week

Everything sets up beautifully for Argyle at Albion Park on Saturday night and not even Queensland’s big wet is expected to stop him from getting a major slice of the prize money.

Trainer Mark Dux says it’s hardly stopped raining since Argyle went down by a lip last week, collared right on the line, the conditions forcing him to have an easy week’s training.

“A lot of people didn’t work their horses on Tuesday morning but I’m not worried about Argyle as he’s been racing week in and week out.”

Argyle still exercised, Dux able to trot horses on his walker, enough to keep them ticking over.

“The amount of rain we’ve had this year is ridiculous but everyone is in the same boat.”

Argyle showed how hard fit he was last Saturday night when he faced the breeze throughout, as Dux predicted he most probably would, and was in front until the last stride, when the favourite Pacifico Dream nabbed him half a head.

“I thought he had it - he was caught virtually right on the line. It was just unfortunate the favourite got the perfect trip behind us.”

Argyle, only the fifth favourite who was paying $4 for a place on early fixed odds, combined with third-placed Always Smokin for a $50 trifecta, again confidently tipped by Dux as the likely result.

There’s no Pacifico Dream this week, only Always Smokin, and with Argyle landing only his second pole position in 16 months in Queensland, Dux is understandably bullish about his chances.

“Hell go into the race as one of the favourites for sure and he’ll get a nice trip whether we lead or trail and he should finish top three again.

“We’ll come off the gate well and hopefully be good enough to hold Alta Magacian beside us. But even if he crosses us, that’s not a bad scenario, as he’s a decent horse who should get us to the corner.

“I reckon Argyle would be better in the lead - that way you’re out of trouble and you run your own race at your own speed. If you’re trailing and the leader gets tired, it can be a bad spot.

“But I wouldn’t think Alta Magacian would tire - he won when he led a couple of weeks ago and is one of the major chances on Saturday.”

Trailing Alta Magacian would also make it harder for Stormtide to win, as he’d be trapped three deep behind Argyle.

Dux isn’t sure Always Smokin can cross his two main rivals at the start but his consistent formline suggests he’ll again be hard to beat. He closed resolutely last week behind Argyle after having to make his run four wide on the home turn.

Argyle races at 10.09pm NZ time at Albion Park on Saturday night.Argyle races at 10.09pm NZ time at Albion Park on Saturday night.

Our runners this week

Saturday night at Albion Park

Captain Nemo.

Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Thursday night at Cambridge

Race 1: Major Achievement

“It’s his first race for a while and he hasn’t been setting the world on fire at the workouts. But he’s been racing better animals and this isn’t a stellar bunch. He’s a chance if things go his way. I’ve given Mathew Salaivao the drive.”

Race 1: Commander Lincoln

“He’s an average horse but the last time he raced here in amateur company he all but won. He’ll need luck from the second row but, while I couldn’t label him, he’s a runner’s chance.”

Race 5: Onyx Shard

“She got a bit sick for a while with a virus and I had to back off her. She seems over that now but I’m picking she’ll need a race. This will be like a glorified trial for her.”

Race 8: My Copy

“He came to the end of it so I gave him a little freshen-up and he seems in good shape again. It will be interesting to see how he goes fresh - he may need a race but he’ll appreciate the step-down in class. I’m running him here so he doesn’t come up against any bear cats first-up.”

Race 9: Lincoln Cove

“Hopefully he’s getting better but you’ve just got to take him on trust. He has ability but the desire has been sadly lacking. Zac will have to sit quietly on him as he broke when given only one tap with the stick last time. The small field will suit him as he won’t be too far off them. If he doesn’t make any mistakes, he’ll give them a fright.”

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Friday night at Auckland

Race 3: Leo Lincoln

“Maurice said he would have finished a lot closer last time than sixth (fourth or even third) had he not locked wheels at the 100. That took all his momentum away. He’s been holding his form well and he gets out well enough to use the inside draw. He’s a chance to get some of the money.”

Race 5: Sugar Ray Lincoln

“He did have marks on his boot after his last run and trying a spreader on him has helped. But he’s a real baby. He has real ability but he’s still developing mentally and physically and we’re still finding our way with him.”

Race 5: Lincoln Lou

“He’s racing well but he’ll find it tough from the outside draw.”

Race 6: Debbie Lincoln

“I can’t see her improving enough to give the Purdon/Phelan trio a fright. She can go (fast) enough but still has a lot to learn. The main thing for her is getting round safely. She’s put two in a row now so hopefully she’ll start improving.”

Race 10: Lincoln La Moose

“He had an excuse last time - he got wiped out on the first corner and that was the end of his race. I like him, he’s a nice horse, just not quite as experienced as Frisco Bay.”

Race 10: Frisco Bay

“I lean towards Frisky as the better chance of our two. You can’t fault what he did the other night at Cambridge, and he seems to be on the improve. He’s more reliable than Lincoln La Moose.”

Dan Costello Race Photography