Beautifully bred Lincoln River just needs a decent trip to open his account at Cambridge
Lincoln River needs only a better trip than his last start to break through for his first win at Cambridge on Thursday night.
The beautifully bred colt, who by champion sire Bettor’s Delight out of New Zealand Oaks winner Ideal Belle came with a $120,000 price tag, could run only eighth on his last visit to the Waikato two weeks ago.
But from the inside of the second row, driver Maurice McKendry quickly found himself buried four deep and, while he managed to extricate Lincoln River down the back straight, he ended up four wide for the last 500 metres, swinging so wide round the home turn his task was impossible.
Despite that, and laying in at the 150 metre mark, Lincoln River’s closing sectionals of 57.55 and 28.55, on a slushy track, compared very favourably with those who enjoyed runs close to the marker pegs.
The colt showed in his previous start at Auckland that he was close to a win when pouncing out of the one-one to run second to The Bizzness in a much stronger field than he meets this week.
Lincoln River showed he was right on his game when winning at the Pukekohe workouts last Friday, driver Andrew Drake easing out to park 800 metres from home before landing the one-one and finishing over the top of his rivals in the run home.
Lincoln Farms’ stable junor Monika Ranger takes the reins on Thursday night and, with the scratching of Commander Lincoln, comes in to five on the gate.
“He should be ready to win a race now,” said trainer Ray Green. “Monika drives well and he’s not hard to drive. He’s the best chance we’ve got.”
Green says just getting to the races is a major achievement in itself for Whiz On Bye who goes from the pole for McKendry in the third race.
The American Ideal three-year-old has had a succession of setbacks this season including a cracked hoof, which took time to grow out, a foot abscess caused by a stone bruise, and a virus.
Whiz On Bye will be having only his second race since January, and first for two months, but he has been improving in work and ran an even fourth at the workouts last week behind race rival and likely favourite D J Rock.
“He’s got enough speed to take advantage of the pole,” says Green. “And with a good trip I could see him in the money.”
Green believes Major Grace will need a hot pace to feature in the fifth race where she leaves from the niggly five draw.
“She never got into the race last time - she was always on the fence and when they sprinted she just held her place.
“She’s got to be on the pace to get some money or, if they go really hard, she could go past the tiring ones.”
Riverboy Ben’s chances in race nine hinge on the pole runner Piiki Whara, whom he follows out from the inside of the second row.
The Jason and Megan Teaz-trained gelding has shown high gate speed in the past to lead and that opens the door for Riverboy Ben to trail, or be three back, if Piiki Whara hands up.
“He’s not going bad races,” says Green. “He’s limited but he’s been coming home as good as anything.”
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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.”