All Trojan Banner needs is his sunnies and a brolly and he’ll burn ‘em off
The Brisbane heat, not the opposition, is about the only thing standing in the way of Trojan Banner scoring a first-up win in Australia on Friday.
Marburg trainer Al Barnes switched the Lincoln Farms-owned pacer to Friday’s meeting at Albion Park because as the winner of three races he is not eligible for next Tuesday’s race.
And while Barnes is tipping the horse should have no trouble beating his seven rivals from a perfect three draw, his sole reservation is the fact the horse will run during the heat of the day and it has been stifling hot in the state this week.
“It’s been a horrible week, with temperatures in the low 40s, and it can affect them when they race the first time in the heat.
“But it’s supposed to be only in the low 30s on Friday so he should handle it.’’
Trojan Banner is down to contest the third race at 1.17pm local time (4.17pm NZ time).
Barnes says Trojan Banner took a while to get used to the heat when he first arrived early last month but because he is worked before 8am and has a nice airy stable he escapes most of its ferocity.
“I haven’t overly worked him this week because of the heat - I gave him one fast run yesterday - but he’s forward enough.
“This is a nice little race for him. It’s not a bad field but they’re not his quality and he only has to do what he did in the trial to win.
“The three draw is perfect. We’ll let him balance up then roll to the front and it should be race over.’’
Barnes says while last week’s winning trial brought Trojan Banner on, he still has a fair bit of improvement in him.
He says the three-year-old is pacing well, a change of bit has stopped him from going too fiercely, and he should be a great winning chance for his driver son Hayden who is looking forward to the race.
Barnes’ boys are both doing well, his other son Brendan having posted his 300th winner last week.
Brendan is on race rival Sams The Best on Friday but his dad says he knows which one he wanted to drive!
More news in Harness
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Ray looking forward to Lincoln Lou and fully oxygenated Frisco Bay at Cambridge on Friday
Why Lincoln Farms had to buy lot 68 - his older brother Lincoln Lou is ready to rock
At last, Argyle gets the pole on Saturday night and Mark reckons it’s his big chance to salute
Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them
Friday night at Cambridge
Race 3: Lincoln Lou
“He’s a beautiful little horse and I’m looking forward to seeing him run. It’s hard to know how good he is, or how far he’ll go, but I guess we’ll find out on Friday. He’s the one to beat from the draw. If he doesn’t win, he won’t be far away.”
Race 5: Commander Lincoln
“I won’t be holding my breath. He tries hard enough but he lacks a bit of high speed.”
Race 8: Onyx Shard
“It’s two and a half months since she last raced, and she didn’t grow as much as I thought she would, but I’m expecting her to go a good race. Her last two trials have been good and she’s pulled up well.”
Race 8: Obadiah Dragon
“He’ll need a good trip from five but he’s not out of it. He went a good race last time at Cambridge and would be as equal a chance as Onxy Shard.”
Race 8: Beaudiene Rocknroll
“It’s heart-in-the-mouth stuff with him until they let them go but he should step away this time. Zac (Butcher) said the gate went particularly slowly before that race and that’s why he got impatient. I thought he did well to recover for third. If he made the front, where he goes best, he’d be hard to beat.”
Race 9: Frisco Bay
“He’s a tidy horse and I’m expecting a big run. We’ve sorted the problem he had with his breathing last season and he’s right in the zone now after a second and a win at the workouts.”
Mark Dux’s comments
Saturday night at Albion Park
Race 5: Argyle
11.02pm NZ time
“It wouldn’t have mattered where he drew this week, he’s in the money, barring bad luck. He’s going terrific and he gets in so well at the ratings.”