At long last, Sir Tiger gets a good draw on Thursday - and just watch Zac use it
Lincoln Farms’ top two Young Guns might be missing but Sir Tiger’s long overdue luck with the barrier draw could still see it capture the north’s first Sires’ Stakes heat at Cambridge on Thursday night.
Neither of trainer Ray Green’s crack two-year-olds Line Up or Perfect Stride will be seen in action for a while after recent setbacks.
Line Up was having growing pains and is enjoying two months in the paddock while Perfect Stride was given a month off to completely get over a virus and has been back in work for only a week and a half.
But in Mr Reliable Sir Tiger, Green has a worthy backup, especially now he has drawn the pole for the 1700 metre dash.
The Sir Lincoln colt’s record of three placings from seven starts would have read a lot better had he not been plagued by impossibly wide draws and forced to do too much work.
In seven starts Sir Tiger has drawn 7, 6, 7, 2, 8, 9 and 8. And he made the most of his only good draw when best of the rest behind his super impressive stablemate Line Up.
Typical of his bad luck, he started from the outside of the gate in the Young Guns Final, was hampered early, forced to race wide before finding the death seat 1100 metres out, then all but wiped out by an errant running Virgil in the run home.
Inside second row draws are usually the kiss of death but for Sir Tiger it was almost a godsend two starts back. Following out stablemate Hilary Barry then racing three deep, he mounted the fastest last quarter of 27.7 up the passing lane to run third to pacemaker Bad To The Bone and Eagle Watch.
Against older maiden opposition last week, it was back to normal transmission as Sir Tiger was again stuck on the outside of the gate.
And this time it all went bad turning into the home straight after 400 metres when driver Zachary Butcher tried to restrain him from three wide into the running line.
Pacing too keenly and resenting the brakes being applied, Sir Tiger went roughly and broke for about nine strides before settling, not something he’d done before.
“We had blinkers on him for the first time and he just over-raced,’’ says Green. “They’re coming off this week.
“Zac might have been better to let him stride along last week instead of being cute. He’s not really a sit and sprint horse.’’
More a rolling type, lacking a yard of high speed, Green sees the pole draw as a huge benefit to Sir Tiger on Thursday.
Butcher was behind Bad To The Bone at Auckland two starts back but sticks with Sir Tiger this time and will unquestionably be out to hold the lead from gate release.
And the way the horse finished last week for fifth, after being forced four wide round the home bend and running only 4.4 lengths from winner Eyespywithmylittleye, augurs well for Thursday night when he is back to his own age group.
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Friday night at Auckland
Race 4: Copy That
“He’s certainly got some speed. The race was all over by the time he got going last week and James never pulled the plugs. Clearly he’s the best horse in the field on ability. But there are no guarantees he’ll behave.’’
Race 4: Tommy Lincoln
“He’s trialling well but I won’t be expecting too much from gate six. He was a big, gangly, weak thing but he’s strengthened up a lot this time in.”
Race 4: Billy Lincoln
“It’s his first race, and first time away from Pukekohe and he’s drawn the inside of the second row so logic tells you he has a few things against him. Until six weeks ago he was extremely average but he’s progressively got better and better.”
Race 8: Governor’s Bay
“He had a tough trip last time so it wasn’t surprising he weakened. He’s training well and this field looks a lot easier.”
Friday at Albion Park
Race 1: Lincoln’s Girl
2.42pm NZ time
“It’s not a bad field but she’s as good as anything else in there and looks a top two chance with a little luck from the second row. She went super last time - I didn’t know how brave she’d be when I saw her caught in the chair but Hayden was very happy with how she went.”
Race 9: Vasari
7.22pm NZ time
“He should get out a lot better this week with Hayden back driving and we’ll be trying to cross the pole marker. The horse is really well and he’ll win one soon. It’s a good line-up but he should run top three.’’
Saturday night at Menangle
Race 7: Lets Strike The Gold
10.22pm NZ time
“This is a difficlut race for him to win and I’ll be driving him quietly from that barrier. It’s been nearly nine months since he raced and he’s going to need a couple of runs to get his race fitness.”