Ben: Lincoln Sky’s working very well but I’m wary that second-up runs can be a trap
Trainer Ben Ahrens is predicting another good run from comeback galloper Lincoln Sky at Warwick on Thursday, although he is a little wary about the second-up syndrome.
The Savabeel four-year-old was to have lined up on Tuesday but a switch round of meetings after rain has seen the meeting put back two days.
While the country track of Warwick, 170km from Brisbane, is a reasonably small oval at 1600 metres, Ahrens says he doesn’t expect Lincoln Sky to have any trouble handling it.
“It’s not a bad track, it’s not the smallest here and there’s a good starting point at the 1500 metres. They go 150 metres, then there’s a slight kink in the track, and then a nice run down the back straight and a good even turn.
“Even though it’s not a big track I’ve rarely had jockeys tell me my horses didn’t get round it. I don’t think it will bother him at all.”
Rather, Ahrens is a little wary about it being Lincoln Sky’s second run back from a 10-month spell.
“If he’d been coming back from four weeks in the paddock I’d be very confident after his good first-up run.
“But I’ve been caught out a few times. The second-up run after a long spell can be a bit of a trap even though they can look like they’re doing everything well.
“But I couldn’t be happier with the horse. His work last Saturday morning was really good.”
Lincoln Sky showed the benefit of plenty of rehab work by first Lincoln Farms’ harness trainer Al Barnes then Ahrens when he produced a bold run for sixth over 1350 metres at Doomben on June 3.
It was his first race since last August at Warwick Farm when bone chips in a knee stopped him short, just when trainer John Sargent was getting hopeful about his future.
Jumping fast from an outside barrier at Doomben, Lincoln Sky raced outside the leader and was still disputing the front 200 metres out when he ran out of condition.
“He just blew out the last bit but I was very happy with the run,” says Ahrens. “It would have been nice to draw a decent gate this time (he’ll likely run from 11 of 14) but looking at the speed map hopefully it will work out well for us. Most of the speed is drawn the inside so they should jump and lead without too much pressure.
“That should allow us to get across and sit one-one. I expect the inside of the track to get chopped up as the day goes on so we might be able to sit one or two off the fence in better going.
“When they turn for home we should then be able to get towards the outside.
“It’s an easier field this time but he’s not going to just go out and win easily. There’s still a lot of improvement in him and I’ll be happy to see him finish within three lengths of the winner.
“But he has more scope for improvement than most of the others.”
The highest rated runner in the field, Lincoln Sky will carry 60kg with jockey Jarrod Woodhouse, who rode the horse in his two lead-up trials, winning the second at Beaudesert over 1050 metres.
Ahrens expects the most opposition to come from last start runner-up Addocarr, trained by Tony Gollan, but says as the winner of only one of his 18 starts, the horse doesn’t have as much upside as Lincoln Sky.
Ahrens says on the ability the horse is showing he will be disappointed if Lincoln Sky hasn’t won a couple of races by the end of July.
And while he expects Lincoln Sky to eventually excel at longer trips, he believes races within the 1600 metres to 2000 metres range will suit him in the meantime.
“He still seems to have a turn of foot. But it’s hard to plan too far ahead at the moment anyway as the calendar is very fluid. I can only see races until mid-July.”
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Saturday at Awapuni
Race 5: Lincoln’s Kruz
“He has trained on well since his trial. The track is going to be very testing (heavy 11) on Saturday and he is untried in these conditions but there’s not a lot of exposed form in the field and, if he handles the track, I’d expect him to be right in the thick of it.”
Race 8: Platinum Rapper
“We’ve decided to go with the 3kg claim of Temyia Taiaroa in what is a strong field. She will come down to 52kg which will really help her on the heavy track. She has had a jumpout and a trial to prepare for this so, with the right run, should be right in the mix.”
Race 9: Lincoln Dreamer
“He has Kozzi Asano up so will claim 1kg which will be a help. He handles wet tracks and has won on a heavy track before. This may be a bit short of his best distance but I expect him to get back in the running and be doing his best work late. He has been working well and I’m looking forward to seeing him back at the races on a wet track.”
Race 10: Benny Lincoln
“The field isn’t very strong but he has had only one jumpout so I am expecting he will improve a lot from the run. He handled the track well at the jumpouts so I think he will handle wet ground, but he may be one run away. Kozzi Asano will claim 1kg.”