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Double Or Nothing and Zev Meredith are holding their rivals at the finish today.

Atta boy Zev! Budding junior pilots Double Or Nothing to all-the-way win at workouts

Double Or Nothing gave rookie driver Zev Meredith an armchair all-the-way win at today’s Pukekohe workouts, setting both up for what could be a winning night at Cambridge on Friday.

For Double Or Nothing it served to confirm the consistent pacer has gone ahead since his tough last-start win at Auckland.

And for Meredith, it was the highlight of an enjoyable morning at Lincoln Farms when trainer Ray Green helped the boy out with three drives that he needed to earn his race night driving ticket.

Meredith, who works for fellow Pukekohe trainer Brent Mangos, piloted Double Or Nothing, Hampton Banner and Bettor My Dreamz on a busy morning for Lincoln Farm when nine horses went through their paces.

Zev Meredith … itching for his first racenight drive.Zev Meredith … itching for his first racenight drive.Green liked the way Meredith sat in the cart and praised him for the way he rated Double Or Nothing in the lead where he cut out the 2050 metre trip in 2:35.4, a tidy mile rate of 2:02.

While the opposition was bearing down on him at the finish, after closing sectionals of 56.9 and 28.1, Meredith sat still for a half length win, with just a nose and a head separating the chasers Park Avenue, Carlaw Park and Pekeson.

Meredith is hoping to get a clearance to drive on Friday night when there is a junior drivers’ trot and he might get the chance to drive Mangos’ talented pacer Bare Knuckle.

Double Or Nothing, who trialled left-handed today, is expected to continue his excellent form line at Cambridge where he was just pipped on his track debut on September 5.

Larry Lincoln will be joining fellow Sweet Lou three-year-old Double Or Nothing on the float to Cambridge for his race night debut after another good trial today, when he went to the line locked together with Tommy Tucker, who got the judge’s nod by a nose.

Turning for home and Hampton Banner (Zev Meredith) is parked with Larry Lincoln (Andre Poutama) in the trail.Turning for home and Hampton Banner (Zev Meredith) is parked with Larry Lincoln (Andre Poutama) in the trail.Larry Lincoln, who qualified with an all-the-way trial win at Pukekohe on September 28, has made steady progress this preparation, and sprinted nicely for driver Andre Poutama when he sprung out of the trail in the run home today.

The pair clocked 2:36.3 for the 2050 metres, a mile rate of 2:02.7, and closed very sharply in 56.8 and 26.4, the same last sectional as 12-race winner Step Up clocked when winning his heat later in the morning.

Green will delay by a week the reappearance of Hampton Banner who weakened slightly to fourth after sitting parked for the last 800 metres in the same heat.

Hampton Banner was pulling hard when Meredith extricated him from the trail and Green said he had some sorting out to do with the horse’s gear before a likely race at Auckland on Friday week.

Hampton Banner, a Bettor’s Delight three-year-old, finished second to Red Atom and fourth to Henry Hu in two runs during August.

Colts have quiet runs

Sires’ Stakes contenders Line Up and Copy That both had quiet runs today, Line Up finishing strongly for third in his heat behind Michael House’s Johnny Mac and Copy That fourth behind Step Up in the higher rated heat.

Tommy Lincoln (in blue) and Line Up trail the field early.Tommy Lincoln (in blue) and Line Up trail the field early.Driver Zachary Butcher kept Line Up at the back of the field early and was gifted a perfect one-one trail for the ride home when stablemate Tommy Lincoln moved into the running line at cafe corner. Line Up was doing his best late to finish only one and half lengths behind Johnny Mac and Olivia Rachel in 2:37.2, home in 57.6 and 26.7.

“I was rapt with the way he finished,” said Butcher.

“And he would have needed it - his heart rate was 87 afterwards which is quite high for him.”

Line Up is still on the way back after nearly missing the first Sires’ Stakes heat through a burst abscess in his foot and Green is confident punters will see him much closer to his best when he tackles the second heat at Auckland on Friday week.

Tommy Lincoln pleased Poutama with his effort for fourth, just a head behind Line Up.

“He blew out but that was a good run for him.”

The Empress (blue colours) is trucking inside Copy That on the final corner today.The Empress (blue colours) is trucking inside Copy That on the final corner today.Line Up’s Cambridge conqueror Copy That, looking a little light, was only out to stretch his legs in the heat for rating 67 and faster pacers and was never pressured by Butcher.

Fifth of sixth in the running, Butcher was first into the running line 800 metres out and, with the colt on one rein in the run home, held him to a 27.4 quarter, four and a half lengths from Step Up, overtaken late by last-start winner The Empress.

Poutama was rapt with the mare’s closing 400 of 26.8, his only slight concern that she was getting her head round in the straight.

“If you go back to Cambridge they won’t beat her and she’ll claim the bonus,” Poutama told Green.

While The Empress would take home a $1750 bonus for her second win on the course, Green is reticent about subjecting the mare to an eight point ratings penalty for only a stake of $4845 and favours a return to Auckland.

Step Up clocked 2:35.1, a mile rate of 2:01.6. He closed in 56.5 and 26.4, scoring easily by three lengths from Somethingaboutmary.

Bettor My Dreamz ran on okay for fifth for Meredith, Green happy that the horse is now over a bug that saw him slightly below par when he stopped after leading at the workouts last Saturday.

“I think he had a bit of a virus but when I pulled a blood off him it was perfect so he seems to have recovered well.”

Ace Commander having a good blow after his first run back today.Ace Commander having a good blow after his first run back today.Breathing easier

Five-win trotter Ace Commander took his first step on the way back from a breathing complaint when he beat sole rival Noble Mistress by a nose in the trotters’ heat over 2500 metres.

Ace Commander’s first two runs for Lincoln Farms in June were both disappointing after which Green discovered he had an entrapped epiglottis.

Minor surgery corrected the problem and he has been back in work now for a couple of months.

Ace Commander galloped after 100 metres today but when settled was quickly taken to the front by Butcher.

The six-year-old Monarchy gelding was only cruising at the finish - not surprising with the mile rate only 2:13.6 and sectionals in 62.8 and 30 - but Butcher advised Green he needed a rear spreader and pole to prevent him from hitting himself, which was very noticeable in the straights when he was getting his head round.

“If we can stop him from hitting he’d fly. He gives you the feel that he’s got real zip.”

Green was happy enough with the performance given it was the horse’s first run back and he’s still quite fat.

Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Friday night at Cambridge

Race 3: Lincoln Lou
6.39pm

“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
7.31pm

“I won’t be holding my breath. He tries hard enough but he lacks a bit of high speed.”

Race 8: Onyx Shard
8.55pm

“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
8.55pm

“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
8.55pm

“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
9.22pm

“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

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.”

Dan Costello Race Photography