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
Al on today’s demolition: What will Trojan do when he’s fully fit and stops waiting for them?
Ants: Make Way ‘won with a leg in the air’ - and there’s plenty more in store
The incredible hulk Governor’s Bay steps out at Auckland on Friday with Ray only guessing
More tests for Zealand Star after sudden lameness baffles Green
Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them
Thursday night at Penrith
Race 4: Vasari
9.33pm NZ time
“He’s been going good races from bad draws and, if he can lead from one, he’ll be awfully hard to beat.’’
Race 6: Make Way
10.33pm NZ time
“He seems back to his best again. He’s really bright in himself and is bouncing around. He had an easy time for a while with his cough, and it’s possible he’ll need the run, but he’s not far away and from the front he’d be hard to beat.’’
Friday at Albion Park
Race 3: Trojan Banner
4.57pm NZ time
“The draw is horrible and makes it very tough for him. The horse in front of him is a slug off the gate and if we follow him we could end up three or four deep. At least over 2138 metres you have a little time up your sleeve. You can grab hold, pop off, give them a little breather in the second quarter, then take it as it comes. He has improved greatly since his last run but he’s still not at his peak and I’m reluctant to pressure him too much second-up by looping the field.’’
Friday night at Auckland
Race 4: Just Wing It
“If he can land a good trip (from five) there’s no reason why he can’t pay another dividend. He’s gone three honest races so far. The winner of his race last week (Benson Boys) ran 2:40 and they don’t go much faster than that so to run on for third was a good effort.”
Race 5: Governor’s Bay
“I like the horse, he’s got the raw ability to win a race or two up here. He blew like hell after his workout on Saturday which tells me he tried hard and he’s a bit porky. He’s put on a lot of weight in a couple of weeks. It’s his first time right handed on Friday and I’ll be running him with pull down blinds after he knocked off at the trials.’’
Race 9: Hilary Barry
“Mark Purdon’s monsters aren’t there which gives everyone else a chance but she’ll find it tough from the draw. Unless she’s very lucky it’s not a good scenario. If Andrew goes forward and uses her petrol it will be hard and if he goes back she’ll get nothing.’’