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Perfect Stride, outer, is loafing as Star Hunter comes at him late in tonight’s semi-final at Bendigo. PHOTO: Stuart McCormick.

Barrier draw sees Lincoln Farms’ pair firm for Breeders’ Crown Final

Lincoln Farms’ Perfect Stride has rocketed into second favouritism for next week’s Breeders’ Crown Two-year-old colts’ final at Melton after drawing the pole.

And Pukekohe stablemate Zeuss Bromac is also high on the bookies’ ladder after landing gate four for trainer-driver Zachary Butcher.

Both horses turned in excellent runs at Bendigo tonight, Perfect Stride leading all the way for Anthony Butt in his semi and Zeuss Bromac clearing a pocket late to run third to Be Happy Mach and Mirragon in the other qualifier.

Perfect Stride’s supporters were on good terms with themselves when he pounced straight onto the lead but they had a few heart flutters late when Star Hunter closed to a head at the post.

Butt, however, told TrotsVision that Perfect Stride was a casual little guy.

“He’s a lovely horse to drive, but the boys did say he can wait for them a bit in front. That’s what he did, he felt good turning for home and then he thought it was all over.

“But he’s learning all the time and I’m sure next week will be a different story.

“He’s been well trained by Ray (Green) and well educated. He’s just like an old horse to drive. He came off the gate fast and just relaxed and dropped the bit.

“He goes as fast as you want him to go. For a two-year-old he’s got beautiful manners and I’m sure next week he won’t be out of it.”

Butcher believes Zeuss Bromac can run in the top three from his front row draw but says Be Happy Mach is still the one to beat despite his horror outside second row draw.

“Be Happy Mach is a super horse but that draw makes our job a bit easier. My guy’s shown he has a little bit of gate speed and this is his Grand Final so I have to put him in a position to win.

“I thought his run was a lot better tonight. He missed a bit of racing before he came over so he’s on the way up.”

Bookies drifted favourite Be Happy Mach to $2.40 after the barrier draw, despite his commanding semi win, which took his record to nine wins from 10 starts.

And fellow Emma Stewart-trained runner Mirragon is out to $8 after also drawing the second row.

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.”

Whales Harness