Barnes: Trojan Banner feels like he can string the wins together quite quickly
Queensland trainer Al Barnes will wind the screw a turn with Trojan Banner tomorrow, stepping him out in a trial at Albion Park.
Barnes has nursed the Lincoln Farms-owned three-year-old through a virus which he contracted soon after arriving from New Zealand early last month.
And he says the horse, while slow to get over the illness, has been doing well in his recent training and is close to racing trim.
“I’ll give him a quiet trial over a mile on Friday to see where he’s at and give him a look round Albion Park,’’ says Barnes.
“He needs one hit-out before we get serious with him and if he’s ready to go he can run in a three-year-old race on Tuesday week.’’
The 1660 metre event, which carries a stake of $7860, would hopefully be the first of many wins for the horse, he says.
“He should be able to string four or five wins together quite quickly. There are a couple of handy three-year-olds here but nothing better than him.
“I think he’ll be one of the main players come derby time.’’
Trojan Banner’s long term aim is the A$75,540 Queensland Derby at Albion Park on July 20.
“Hopefully we can run him through the grades, get his confidence up, and then give him a couple of weeks off before getting him ready for the derby.’’
That news will be greeted warmly by the New Zealand partnership which still races Trojan Banner, who won three of his 18 races here but never quite lived up to expectations.
The second of Barnes’ recent Lincoln Farms imports, Lincoln’s Girl, is a couple of weeks behind Trojan Banner, having arrived with only eight weeks jogging behind her and also set back by a virus.
“She looks super and is getting through her fast work now.’’
Barnes continues to be delighted with Lincoln Road, whom he bought in a package deal with Blue Glory last year.
The Sir Lincoln gelding has won seven of his 12 starts for Barnes and was a certainty beaten when third last time on March 2, carted out the back before steaming home wide out to be beaten less than two metres.
“To finish that close was amazing,’’ says Barnes.
Barnes fancies the chances of Blue Glory, who races in Australia as Miss Blue Glory, in the opening race at Albion Park tomorrow at 4.17pm.
“She’s over all her problems now and is doing really well.
“She had issues with her joints, her knees, stifles and problems with her feet.
“We couldn’t get her pacing for a while but once we got her feet right, she was away.
“When I put the hoof testers on her I got a big reaction so I changed her shoes to take the jar out of her feet and now she can run halves in 55.
“She’s a tiny little filly and you wouldn’t think she could run times like that but I think she’ll be a class above them tomorrow.’’
Miss Blue Glory, who has only four rivals tomorrow, breezed to win three starts back and has been placed twice since.
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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.”