Almo Street gets a pass from the stewards but not from Lisa - his action today wasn’t right
Enigmatic galloper Almo Street passed his barrier test at Foxton today but he won’t be racing at Trentham on Saturday.
Stewards ordered the horse to trial after he stood in the gates at Otaki eight days ago, losing a conservative 10 lengths before flying home late for sixth, only 5.7 lengths from winner Not Santa.
The run was so enormous, his last 600 metres easily the quickest in 35.32, it had commentator Tony Lee declaring: “Is that Almo Street in front of most of them? Jeepers, what a run.”
The error was just another in a long line of barrier blues by Almo Street which has seen him twice banned from racing and at one time away from racing for 10 months.
Regular rider Charlotte O’Beirne, who has nursed Almo Street through his issues, was back aboard today, replacing his Otaki rider Jonathan Riddell, and he behaved himself well, loading without any problem and missing the jump only fractionally.
Settling last in the five horse field in a 1200 metre catchweight, Almo Street improved right in behind the leaders turning for home and looked to be full of running, blocked all the way down the straight.
He finished about three lengths behind Dark Princess, Italian Lover and Lord Bouzeron, the winner clocking 1:13.38.
But trainer Lisa Latta was far from happy with the horse.
“His action was terrible today. He was average in his preliminary and short in the running so he’s obviously feeling the ground. Something’s not quite right and with horses like that it can affect whether they jump or not.”
Latta says it would be silly to back up Almo Street on Saturday and risk getting him banned again when he would be vulnerable, standing in the gates in front of a big crowd.
“I’ll get the vet in to go over him, to make sure we’re not missing anything, put some concussion plates on him and get him back in the pool.
“It was a really good run at Otaki but they’d had rain and it was a genuine dead track, which is what he needs.”
Latta says she will look for a suitable race for Almo Street in a couple of weeks.
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Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them
Saturday at Trentham
Race 3: Lincoln Raider
“He has come through his last run at Awapuni well and meets a handy line up with Sinarahma, who beat us last time, the danger. While the inside is not an ideal draw for him we have one of the best aboard in Opie Bosson and I’m sure he’ll find a path through them. This race looks well within his capabilities and he will enjoy being back on the roomy track where he has won three of his four races.”
Race 6: Platinum Road
“He won his first race here in December and ran a top third at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day. He has pleased me with how he has come through the trip away and I’m very happy with him. He gets in on the minimum weight of 54kg and meets a field of older horses that has some form in it. But this race fits in well with his derby programme and I’m expecting another top run from him.”
Race 9: Kamanda Lincoln
“I’ve changed his gear and gone back to the ring bit. I’ll be instructing Darryl (Bradley) to try to get handier to them as he’s been giving the opposition too big a start. Over 3200 metres there’s no reason why he can’t be closer. He ran ninth in the cup last year after starting from barrier 17 so I think the better draw is the key to his chances. He gets in on the minimum of 53kg.”
Race 9: Johnny Lincoln
“He’s been running very honest races and keeps grinding away so I feel the distance will suit him. He has continued to please me in training and, while I would have preferred a better draw, we will look to roll forward with him and hopefully Robbie (Hannam) can get a nice spot. These races are won by horses who can run out the 3200 metres strongly and I am really looking forward to seeing how he performs.”
Race 10: Lincoln Star
“I have brought him back in distance after his last run over a middle distance on Boxing Day. He has drawn well and should be able to get a nice, economical trip in midfield. The big track will suit him and has run some very good races over 1600 metres so, if he can reproduce his best form, he is capable of being right in the finish. His recent work has been good.”
Monday at Otaki
Race 3: Lincoln Town
“He was disappointing in his jumpout when ridden in behind. His trackwork since has been only fair but he is an average track worker anyway who only does as much as he has to. All his form has been on rain-affected tracks so we will see on Monday whether he can go on top of the ground.”
Race 5: Benny Lincoln
“He ran a cracking race last time at Otaki and will appreciate the step-up to 1600 metres. He will also be against his own age group here. His work has been good and this looks a very winnable race for him.”
Race 6: Lincoln Lane
“He’s first-up after a long break but has improved a lot since his jumpout and has a good draw to use. I will be happy to just see him doing his best work at the finish.”
Race 7: Master Lincoln
“He ran a very good fourth when resuming and has trained on very well since. He has an awkward gate to overcome but it’s only a moderate field. Any give in the track will help his chances as his best form appears to be on dead surfaces.”