Tony Herlihy salutes on Simply Sam after he beat Zarias at Auckland last July. PHOTO: Megan Liefting/Race Images.

Class drop, small field, Zac on, everything points to Simply Sam scoring at Cambridge

Simply Sam’s ordinary looking formline disguises how well he’s going and against weaker opposition at Cambridge on Friday night he’s a terrific winning chance.

A rating 65 pacer on a R51 front, Simply Sam starts from a 25 metre handicap over the sprint trip of 2200 metres, never an easy task, but check out just how well he’s been racing.

In five runs this prep Simply Sam has:

* Finished just 1.6 lengths fourth at Auckland last week after being parked for the last 1300 metres in a much stronger field behind Chimichurri, Magic Four and Montana DJ.

* Run sixth at Auckland on April 28, rated a certainty beaten by Green when he tried to mount a run from last on the home turn, meeting roadblocks wherever he went, but still running the best equal closing sectionals in the race. He finished hard on the back of runner-up Mr Kaplan in a slick 2:40.2, driver Blair Orange not even activating the deafeners.

* Finished ninth at Auckland on April 21 from the outside of the second row, forced to make his run three then four wide and unable to make ground on the leaders in the straight, winner Bach clocking a slick 2:39.2.

* Run third in his last appearance at Cambridge on April 14 when he started from a 20 metre handicap in the Country Cup (2700m). He was forced four wide when mounting his run and came even wider on the home turn, charging down the stretch to be beaten only a head and a neck.

* Run 10th first-up, against the cup horses at Cambridge on April 6 when he led the Waikato Flying Mile field, absorbing huge pressure before weakening behind Self Assured, Copy That, Akuta and Old Town Road in a 1:52 sizzle.

The winner of six races, Simply Sam stands out against his rivals on Friday night, Green declaring him hard fit.

“I think he’s a good winning chance. I didn’t want him put in the race too soon last week because he hadn’t raced for a while but I think Blair (Orange) thought they were going too slow and he ended up parked for the last 1300 metres.

”He’s well down in class here and, even though he’s on 25 metres, it’s only a small field.”

Top tactician Zachary Butcher takes the reins on Simply Sam for only the second time.

Butcher will also be in the hot seat on Green’s own horse My Copy who looks the next best chance of Lincoln Farms’ five starters.

The four-year-old half-brother of stable star Copy That has endured a string of poor draws in his last five starts, with 11, 10, 12, 10 and six.

Green is confident Butcher can get My Copy out fast from the pole on Friday night and stay handy in the running.

“He’s going good races with no luck and looks a chance.”

Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

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

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.”

Race Images - Harness