Al gives Hustler the night off - but it’s nothing serious, just a sore foot

Trainer Al Barnes has scratched Northview Hustler from his race at Albion Park tonight after an infection burst out of his foot.

“It’s nothing serious, there’s just a bit of bruising, but I didn’t want to run him when he’s not right,” Barnes said.

“He’s a bit sore, not lame, but I want to look after the horse so we’ll clean it up and keep on top of it so we don’t have any further problems down the track.”

Northview Hustler was to have contested a seven-horse race tonight, all but one of his rivals the same as he easily beat last start.

But while the race looked his for the taking, Barnes says there’s no hurry and there will be plenty more opportunities for the horse whom he expects to fashion a top record this season.

While among the 37 nominations last week for the New Zealand Trotting Cup, he will not be making the trip and will drop out when first acceptances are taken.

Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Friday night at Auckland

Race 1: The Empress

“She’s very capable of winning but you couldn’t label her. But she’d have to be very unlucky not to get some of it.”

Race 3: Lindi Lincoln

“She went quite nicely at the workouts last Saturday but she’ll probably need a race to tighten her up. It’s not a great field but the draw (outside front row) isn’t ideal.”

Race 5: Line Up

“I’m confident Line Up can beat Henry Hu who puts in some terrible steps around the corners. He’d have to do plenty wrong to get beaten.”

Race 5: Bettor My Dreamz

“He’s back in the right grade and will be right there with a trip, but he’ll need a perfect trip to have any chance of beating Line Up.”

Race 7: Copy That

“He’s the best horse in the field without a doubt - it just depends on what passage he gets from that draw, but if he gets a good trip I can’t see anything beating him.”

Race 9: Double Or Nothing

“I think he’ll run just as well as usual. The draw’s not great but he doesn’t have to lead to go well - he can go back if David wants to.”

Al Barnes

Al’s comments

Saturday night at Albion Park

Race 5: Northview Hustler
10.08pm NZ time

“I’ll go back and save him for one sprint from the 300. It’s hard to predict where he’ll finish driving like that but the field is a bit weaker than last time with Watch Pulp Fiction not in and the step-up to 2138 metres will definitely favour us.”

Race Images - Harness