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.
More news in Harness
Al on today’s demolition: What will Trojan do when he’s fully fit and stops waiting for them?
Ants: Make Way ‘won with a leg in the air’ - and there’s plenty more in store
The incredible hulk Governor’s Bay steps out at Auckland on Friday with Ray only guessing
More tests for Zealand Star after sudden lameness baffles Green
Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them
Thursday night at Penrith
Race 4: Vasari
9.33pm NZ time
“He’s been going good races from bad draws and, if he can lead from one, he’ll be awfully hard to beat.’’
Race 6: Make Way
10.33pm NZ time
“He seems back to his best again. He’s really bright in himself and is bouncing around. He had an easy time for a while with his cough, and it’s possible he’ll need the run, but he’s not far away and from the front he’d be hard to beat.’’
Friday at Albion Park
Race 3: Trojan Banner
4.57pm NZ time
“The draw is horrible and makes it very tough for him. The horse in front of him is a slug off the gate and if we follow him we could end up three or four deep. At least over 2138 metres you have a little time up your sleeve. You can grab hold, pop off, give them a little breather in the second quarter, then take it as it comes. He has improved greatly since his last run but he’s still not at his peak and I’m reluctant to pressure him too much second-up by looping the field.’’
Friday night at Auckland
Race 4: Just Wing It
“If he can land a good trip (from five) there’s no reason why he can’t pay another dividend. He’s gone three honest races so far. The winner of his race last week (Benson Boys) ran 2:40 and they don’t go much faster than that so to run on for third was a good effort.”
Race 5: Governor’s Bay
“I like the horse, he’s got the raw ability to win a race or two up here. He blew like hell after his workout on Saturday which tells me he tried hard and he’s a bit porky. He’s put on a lot of weight in a couple of weeks. It’s his first time right handed on Friday and I’ll be running him with pull down blinds after he knocked off at the trials.’’
Race 9: Hilary Barry
“Mark Purdon’s monsters aren’t there which gives everyone else a chance but she’ll find it tough from the draw. Unless she’s very lucky it’s not a good scenario. If Andrew goes forward and uses her petrol it will be hard and if he goes back she’ll get nothing.’’