Deal me out, says Ray, as multiple factors weigh against colt in Friday’s derby lead-up
Lincoln Farms’ trainer Ray Green loves American Dealer because he never goes a bad race but he says he wouldn’t recommend punting him at Alexandra Park on Friday night.
Not only has the little three-year-old drawn the outside of the gate in the seventh race but he meets some tough older rivals and has been “a bit sickly” in recent weeks.
Under normal circumstances American Dealer would have been in Christchurch preparing for the traditional derby lead-up race, the Vero Flying Stakes, at Addington on Friday night.
But frustratingly the bug which has affected his Pukekohe stable for the last two months has yet to completely disappear.
“I’d have had to go down (to Christchurch) over a week ago and I didn’t want to push him into a big, long haul when he’s probably not 100%.
“Everything here has had the bug. It’s not so bad - they haven’t been coughing so it’s not in their lungs - it’s more like a head cold, with snotty noses.
“We’ve been treating them and it is getting better but I thought it would have been gone by now, it’s been months.”
Green says the bug feeds off the dry and dusty environment - “Once the temperature drops it will go.”
Green hasn’t booked American Dealer for the float trip for Christchurch yet but, all going well on Friday night, he says he’ll travel down next week, well before the $200,000 Diamond Creek Farm New Zealand Derby on April 9.
“I want to give him plenty of time to recover. They have a bit of a break at Bulls but it’s a marathon trip and it takes its toll. He hasn’t done it on the way down before as we flew last time.”
American Dealer hasn’t raced since running a brave third behind Krug and Luke John in the Woodlands Stud Northern Derby on March 5.
“He had to do all the donkey work in the Northern Derby, heading the chase after Krug and he only capitulated the last bit.”
Green got a good gauge on where the horse is at last Friday at the Pukekohe workouts when he led all the way in a left-handed heat over 2050 metres.
The little colt only had to be tapped up a couple of times by driver Zachary Butcher to hold off Mimi E Coco and Superbass, running slick closing sectionals of 56.5 and 26.9, clocking a mile rate of 1:59.6 for the trip.
While that gave Green some confidence that American Dealer’s health has returned to normal he’s not labelling the horse a winner on Friday night.
“He’ll go his usual honest race (the horse has paid a dividend in 14 of his 18 starts) but our main mission is to give him a decent prep race for the derby.
“From the draw he won’t get a good trip and they’re a nice bunch of horses so it won’t be easy for him.
“Arna Donnelly’s pair (Kango and Taipo) are pretty good so I’m not expecting him to towel them up. These four-year-olds are that much tougher and it’s always hard for a young horse making the transition.”
Green is much more bullish about the chances of two-year-old Arden’s Horizon who has his second start in the eighth race.
Green says you can put the line through Arden’s Horizon’s debut on March 12 when he ran sixth for David Butcher but had to drag a punctured tyre for the last 1500 metres of the race after his wheel was struck by a rival.
“That really poleaxes them and you could have forgiven David if he’d pulled him up. That wasn’t ideal for his debut.
“But he’s worked and trialled well since.”
Last Friday at the Pukekohe workouts, Arden’s Horizon showed good gate speed to lead and held stablemates Hail Lucius and Nirvana Franco over a mobile 1609 metres in a mile rate of 1:59.6, home in 58.4 and 27.9.
“From two, I’m picking he’ll be the one to beat on Friday. He’s developing into a nice little horse. He’s a Bettor’s Delight and they take a little time to find their feet but he keeps on improving and I’m expecting him to go a good race.”
“Hail Lucious is going to get back from the draw. He’s a nice little fella who just lost the plot first time at the Park and you can excuse that.
“He just got a little bit lost round the last corner and, by the time they straightened, the others were in full flight. Maurice (McKendry) said if he’d handled the last bend, he would have been right with them.”
The Sportswriter gelding was doing his best work late at the workouts last Friday, popping out of the one-one turning for home to get within a neck of Arden’s Horizon at the post.
Good each way chance
The Lincoln Farms attack on Friday opens in the second race with Smokinhotcheddar, whom Green rates a good each way chance.
“If she repeats that last run she’s a serious chance. She’s very honest and the draw (five) won’t worry her - she’s not wonderful out of the gate - but she always seems to go a good race.”
Smokinhotcheddar was trapped in the death seat for the last 1200 metres of her race last time and was caught only late by Cashlodo Flybye who enjoyed a sweet trip on her back.
Two starts back she ran a game third behind much more talented rivals in Plutonium Lady and Need You Now in the Listed Northern Mares’ Classic.
Tartan Robyn, however, will need plenty of luck from the outside of the arm in the fourth race.
With a form line of 6454 since arriving in the north, the six-year-old has been devoid of luck, but was doing his best work late behind Last Tango In Heaven at his last start.
“He’s honest enough but I can’t see him being able to sit parked, he needs a trip.”
More news in Harness
Better draw will help Frisco but Ray’s quartet for Friday all in early stages of new prep
Argyle salutes at last and Mark confident he’ll keep the till ticking over in the next grade
Unlucky Argyle deserves to be rewarded at Albion Park tonight - just no bad luck please
Ray looking forward to Lincoln Lou and fully oxygenated Frisco Bay at Cambridge on Friday
Our runners this week
Saturday night at Albion Park
Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them
Friday night at Auckland
Race 2: Frisco Bay
“He obviously needed the run last week. He pulled his way round the field and sat outside the leader but he couldn’t cop a run like that first-up and got tired. The ability is there, whether he’s fit enough or not we’ll find out. But I expect him to go well, the three draw is much better than last week.”
Race 2: Lenny Lincoln
“He’ll probably need a race but he’s capable of running a slot. He’s unlucky not to have won a race, all three of his seconds were good. He’s got a bit better with each of his trials this time in and he got home well last Saturday, after coming widest on the turn.”
Race 3: Obadiah Dragon
“The way the race was run at Cambridge last week, his effort wasn’t bad at all. Moni (Monika Ranger) said he felt strong and, if he’d been a few slots closer, he would have been right in it. He’ll be improved for the run.”
Race 3: Leo Lincoln
“He’s very consistent - he’s only missed a couple of cheques. But he’s another just coming back and should improve with the run.”