Al’s warning on Bondi Shake at Albion Park tonight - he’s a victim of poor programming
Bondi Shake might have looked good winning his Queensland debut but he will find it very hard to repeat the feat at Albion Park tonight.
Even though he has drawn nicely in three, Lincoln Farms’ newest arrival faces a field of older and much more seasoned pacers in the seventh race at 6.22pm NZ time.
And trainer Al Barnes is not happy that he has to even run the horse in such an unsuitable race, also stepping up from 1660 metres to 2138 metres.
“It’s a hard field and a major step-up in grade for him. But there’s nothing else programmed for a one win two-year-old and I’ll be lucky to find even one race that suits him before the end of the year.
“The only other two-year-old races are $25,000 features were they’ll go 1:53 and he’s not ready to do that.”
Barnes had been hoping to put together a three or four race winning streak with Bondi Shake who, under a Covid-19 season extension, can compete in two-year-old races until the end of the year, even though he is officially three in New Zealand.
“Two months ago there were plenty of races but all the handicappers here seem to want to do now is put on maiden races to help people win their bonuses.” Qbred paid-up horses earn a A$10,000 bonus for winning their first race.
“I can’t be the only one with a one win two-year-old. I’ve spoken to them about it but it’s fallen on deaf ears.
“They’ll put races on at Redcliffe where you race for no (low) money but not at Albion Park, the premier track.”
Barnes says while Bondi Shake appeared to win his first race two weeks ago untested, after a tough run, three wide to the death seat, he is still very much a work in progress.
“He’s green and we have to cuddle him. Hayden had to nurse home out of the gate and through the run last time. We can’t turn the stick and cut him loose yet and these are seasoned horses who can run 1:54 or 1:55 comfortably.
“This will be a fitness run for him.”
Man Of Action, back from a brief freshener, has drawn the second row in the eighth race at 7.03pm NZ time but Barnes isn’t too worried about that.
“It’s a nice race for him. He might be buried three deep on the fence but that’s not a bad thing - he will be strong home.
“If he’d had a draw and could have sat behind the leader he’d have been a good thing but he’ll need a bit of luck from the second row.
“He’s still a top three chance but he can win it if he gets luck. It’s a very even bunch but he’s the up-and-comer in the race. He has a bit of upside to him.”
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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.”