Menu

Argyle gets a rare inside draw at Albion Park on Saturday night. PHOTO: Dan Costello.

At last, Argyle gets the pole on Saturday night and Mark reckons it’s his big chance to salute

Last one week, first the next. That’s the scenario which could play out for Argyle at Albion Park in Brisbane on Saturday night.

Trainer Mark Dux knew Argyle had no chance of winning last Saturday night when he took on rising star For Real Life from the second row and, while the horse ended up running last, he says it was a good run.

“It sounds silly saying that when he ran last but it’s not like he was walking, he ran through the line really strongly.”

This week, Argyle gets his first pole position in the 15 months he’s been racing in Brisbane and, with no stars against him, and being the second highest rated runner in the field, Dux thinks he’s a winner.

“He’s been racing consistently well, with bad draws and bad luck, but this week from one, I think he can hold up and then we’re definitely the one to beat.”

Dux backs his claim by pointing to Argyle’s sectional times last week which weren’t too inferior to winner For Real Life, who clocked 27.62, 30.81, 27.45 and 27.04.

Argyle ran through the quarter markers in 28.88, 30.68, 27.68 and 27.09, his closing 800 of 54.78 just 0.29 slower than the winner.

“Only eight horses all night were quicker than him over that last 800 - three who were in the free-for-all and five in his race. Their 800s ranged from 54.3 to 54.7 so he was only 0.4 slower and he was really good on the line.”

Dux was delighted to see Argyle finally draw the inside this week - in his 25 previous starts in Queensland he’s only twice started from two and only once from three.

13 second row draws

With 13 second row draws it has been very hard for him to capitalise on his toughness.

“He’s very strong so stepping up to 2138 metres doesn’t matter. He needs only average luck and, as long as nothing goes wrong, he’ll be super hard to beat.

“The only problem would be if we were crossed at the start and shoved back but there’s nothing in the field you’d say is really quick - they’ve got good gate speed without being brilliant.

“I couldn’t see So Sirius crossing us from six and, can he sit outside us and beat us? I can’t see it. I thought he was a bit ordinary last week, not as good as he has been.”

Dux says you have to rate Grant Dixon’s in-form Class To The Max a chance from three but he believes the biggest danger will be the horse likely to be on Argyle’s back, the Peter McMullen-driven Shell Shock.

“If it comes to a dash up the straight Shell Shock would be tough to beat.

“But I’m really happy with Argyle. He’s done well, he looks good and he’s working well.”

Dux doesn’t believe even an act of God like a water-logged track would stop Argyle.

“The rain hasn’t stopped over here - we’ve had 80mls and storms overnight - but I don’t think that would worry him.”

Argyle races at 11.35pm NZ time at Albion Park on Saturday night.Argyle races at 11.35pm NZ time at Albion Park on Saturday night.

Our runners this week

Saturday night at Albion Park

Captain Nemo.

Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Thursday night at Cambridge

Race 1: Major Achievement
5.19pm

“It’s his first race for a while and he hasn’t been setting the world on fire at the workouts. But he’s been racing better animals and this isn’t a stellar bunch. He’s a chance if things go his way. I’ve given Mathew Salaivao the drive.”

Race 1: Commander Lincoln
5.19pm

“He’s an average horse but the last time he raced here in amateur company he all but won. He’ll need luck from the second row but, while I couldn’t label him, he’s a runner’s chance.”

Race 5: Onyx Shard
6.59pm

“She got a bit sick for a while with a virus and I had to back off her. She seems over that now but I’m picking she’ll need a race. This will be like a glorified trial for her.”

Race 8: My Copy
8.14pm

“He came to the end of it so I gave him a little freshen-up and he seems in good shape again. It will be interesting to see how he goes fresh - he may need a race but he’ll appreciate the step-down in class. I’m running him here so he doesn’t come up against any bear cats first-up.”

Race 9: Lincoln Cove
8.47pm

“Hopefully he’s getting better but you’ve just got to take him on trust. He has ability but the desire has been sadly lacking. Zac will have to sit quietly on him as he broke when given only one tap with the stick last time. The small field will suit him as he won’t be too far off them. If he doesn’t make any mistakes, he’ll give them a fright.”

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Friday night at Auckland

Race 3: Leo Lincoln
6.43pm

“Maurice said he would have finished a lot closer last time than sixth (fourth or even third) had he not locked wheels at the 100. That took all his momentum away. He’s been holding his form well and he gets out well enough to use the inside draw. He’s a chance to get some of the money.”

Race 5: Sugar Ray Lincoln
7.39pm

“He did have marks on his boot after his last run and trying a spreader on him has helped. But he’s a real baby. He has real ability but he’s still developing mentally and physically and we’re still finding our way with him.”

Race 5: Lincoln Lou
7.39pm

“He’s racing well but he’ll find it tough from the outside draw.”

Race 6: Debbie Lincoln
8.07pm

“I can’t see her improving enough to give the Purdon/Phelan trio a fright. She can go (fast) enough but still has a lot to learn. The main thing for her is getting round safely. She’s put two in a row now so hopefully she’ll start improving.”

Race 10: Lincoln La Moose
9.59pm

“He had an excuse last time - he got wiped out on the first corner and that was the end of his race. I like him, he’s a nice horse, just not quite as experienced as Frisco Bay.”

Race 10: Frisco Bay
9.59pm

“I lean towards Frisky as the better chance of our two. You can’t fault what he did the other night at Cambridge, and he seems to be on the improve. He’s more reliable than Lincoln La Moose.”

Whales Harness