Bring it on! Lincoln King flies into New Year’s Day Final and he’ll simply eat up the 2400
New Year’s Day can hardly come soon enough for Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh after Lincoln King cemented a start in the $100,000 Dunstan Stayers’ Championship with a last-to-first win at Ellerslie today.
Despite it being his first look around the undulating Ellerslie track, Lincoln King was his usual unflappable self, coming from last on the home turn with an irresistible finish to nail Kya Khoob Lagti Ho by half a head in the Dunstan Qualifer.
The win earned him nine qualifying points, guaranteeing him a start in the final which, run at 2400 metres, will suit him even better than today’s 2100 metres.
“The extra distance will be perfect for him,” said Marsh who was worried watching the race when it looked like Lincoln King was caught flat footed when the leaders sprinted.
But despite a wall of horses challenging up the home straight, Lincoln King outfinished them all, unleashing a closing 600 metres in 34.54 for rider Sam Collett.
“I was a bit worried where I was in the running 700 metres out but he just kept finding enough and the further the better for him now,” Collett said.
“He’s beautifully bred to stay, by Shocking out of a good staying mare and he’s only young in terms of where he’s heading.”
Marsh said while the five-year-old had taken his time - until this year all his early education was done at part-owner Bill Gleeson’s Wellfield Lodge by Peter Didham - Lincoln King had now furnished into a lovely progressive stayer.
“And not much seems to worry him. He was nice and relaxed again today.”
Marsh, who is aiming four horses at the Dunstan Final, will be happy if Lincoln King salutes the judge on January 1 as he has a share in the horse himself, along with Gleeson, Lincoln Farms’ owners John and Lynne Street and their business manager Ian Middleton.
They have every reason to think Lincoln King can continue to develop as a stayer as he is out of the Shinko King mare Shi Kin Fly who showed staying talent in her career which netted seven wins and $174,000.
Shi Kin Fly won the Summer Cup (2400m) at Trentham and ran second in the St Leger (2500m), with her best win the Listed Manawatu Breeders’ Stakes (2000m).
Lincoln King’s $18,000 purse today took his bankroll to $33,750 from only nine starts.
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Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them
Saturday at Trentham
Race 3: Lincoln Raider
“He has come through his last run at Awapuni well and meets a handy line up with Sinarahma, who beat us last time, the danger. While the inside is not an ideal draw for him we have one of the best aboard in Opie Bosson and I’m sure he’ll find a path through them. This race looks well within his capabilities and he will enjoy being back on the roomy track where he has won three of his four races.”
Race 6: Platinum Road
“He won his first race here in December and ran a top third at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day. He has pleased me with how he has come through the trip away and I’m very happy with him. He gets in on the minimum weight of 54kg and meets a field of older horses that has some form in it. But this race fits in well with his derby programme and I’m expecting another top run from him.”
Race 9: Kamanda Lincoln
“I’ve changed his gear and gone back to the ring bit. I’ll be instructing Darryl (Bradley) to try to get handier to them as he’s been giving the opposition too big a start. Over 3200 metres there’s no reason why he can’t be closer. He ran ninth in the cup last year after starting from barrier 17 so I think the better draw is the key to his chances. He gets in on the minimum of 53kg.”
Race 9: Johnny Lincoln
“He’s been running very honest races and keeps grinding away so I feel the distance will suit him. He has continued to please me in training and, while I would have preferred a better draw, we will look to roll forward with him and hopefully Robbie (Hannam) can get a nice spot. These races are won by horses who can run out the 3200 metres strongly and I am really looking forward to seeing how he performs.”
Race 10: Lincoln Star
“I have brought him back in distance after his last run over a middle distance on Boxing Day. He has drawn well and should be able to get a nice, economical trip in midfield. The big track will suit him and has run some very good races over 1600 metres so, if he can reproduce his best form, he is capable of being right in the finish. His recent work has been good.”
Monday at Otaki
Race 3: Lincoln Town
“He was disappointing in his jumpout when ridden in behind. His trackwork since has been only fair but he is an average track worker anyway who only does as much as he has to. All his form has been on rain-affected tracks so we will see on Monday whether he can go on top of the ground.”
Race 5: Benny Lincoln
“He ran a cracking race last time at Otaki and will appreciate the step-up to 1600 metres. He will also be against his own age group here. His work has been good and this looks a very winnable race for him.”
Race 6: Lincoln Lane
“He’s first-up after a long break but has improved a lot since his jumpout and has a good draw to use. I will be happy to just see him doing his best work at the finish.”
Race 7: Master Lincoln
“He ran a very good fourth when resuming and has trained on very well since. He has an awkward gate to overcome but it’s only a moderate field. Any give in the track will help his chances as his best form appears to be on dead surfaces.”