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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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.”