Andrew Drake, who becomes joint trainer at Lincoln Farms next week, is a good organiser, says Ray Green.

Double foreshadows new training partnership with Andrew joining absent Ray at the helm

When Andrew Drake joined Lincoln Farms in 2016 he was filling in a spot as the stable’s junior driver.

On Monday he will join Ray Green in a training partnership at one of the country’s strongest stables.

Drake was there at Cambridge on Thursday night, overseeing the team, which came away with two winners, Bet On The Tiger and Louie The Punter, but his role of the last month will now be officially recognised.

Harness Racing New Zealand’s rules don’t allow trainers to be away from their stables for lengthy periods and Green is stranded in Australia, unable to get an MIQ spot to return.

Green sees HRNZ’s decision to enforce the rule as petty given the circumstances, but is happy for Drake to become a training partner.

“It’s a bit of a kick in the guts really as I’m stuck here through no fault of my own. But I have no problem with Andrew running things in my absence. He’s a very good organiser and is very thorough.

“We’ll keep talking about the horses every day, as we do now, so nothing will change really.”

Drake has driven 23 winners and has just graduated to being an open driver. He won the title of leading junior driver at Alexandra Park for the 2020-21 season with a record of five wins, two seconds and five thirds for a UDR rating of .1414.

He clinched the title behind speedy trotter Superfast Ninja, whom he also trains, and with four wins has been the best perfomed of his nine training successes, the others Susie Reignmaker (two wins), Bettor Trenz and Bubble Gum (two wins).

Green had no confirmed return flight when he left New Zealand in December to campaign the now injured Copy That in Victoria, and has no idea when he will be able to come home. He is one of thousands of Kiwis overseas stranded by Covid travel restrictions.

Louie The Punter goes all the way to beat Rocknroll Roulette at Cambridge. PHOTO: Chanelle Lawson.Louie The Punter goes all the way to beat Rocknroll Roulette at Cambridge. PHOTO: Chanelle Lawson.Maurice McKendry brings the well backed Louie The Punter back to scale. PHOTO: Chanelle Lawson.Maurice McKendry brings the well backed Louie The Punter back to scale. PHOTO: Chanelle Lawson.Green missed out on a spot in MIQ at the latest release of rooms for March and April and was frustrated to learn that this week’s allocation had been cancelled because of the imminent arrival of Omicron in the community.

He has applied for an exemption on medical grounds but knows his chances are slim.

While Green is itching to get home, he says Louie The Punter’s future lies in Australia.

“There’s no future for him in New Zealand. He has to step up in class now and it will be much harder.

“You’re almost scared to win one here because of the way the handicapping system works. I’ve been saying for 10 years that we’re on a slippery slope and the reality is it could now be too late to ressurect it.

“Whatever he can win in New Zealand he’ll quadruple in Australia where he can slot into a comfort zone he can handle.

“Brisbane would be the ideal place for him as he likes to lead and they have shorter races. He could also handle Redcliffe if he had to go there.

“He’s a handy horse but the only place he can pay his way and make a bit of money is in Aussie.”

Louie The Punters’ record for Lincoln Farms’ John and Lynne Street and Glenn and Ann Cotterill now reads three wins and four placings from 19 starts for $27,749 in stakes.

Our runners this week

Saturday night at Albion Park


Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

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.”

Race Images - Harness