Obadiah Dragon (Nathan Delany) outfinishes Bettor Grunter on Tuesday. PHOTO: Jack McKenzie.

Dragon breathes fire again at Manawatu and there look to be more wins in store

Obadiah Dragon’s owners know he’s no champion but the way he scored at Manawatu on Tuesday suggested he has more wins in store.

And though he steps up in class and distance there on Thursday night Ian Middleton and his mates Ian Harris and Paul Humphries are looking forward to seeing how he fares.

Middleton, Lincoln Farms’ business manager, was taken by the toughness Obadiah Dragon showed to overcome a tough trip, back and wide then forced to improve even wider round the home turn.

So to outfinish 90-start veteran Bettor Grunter by a neck and record the fastest of five races run over 2000 metres on the night wasn’t the worst effort.

His 2:29.4 clocking in the rating 35 to 44 field was 0.8 of a second faster than Avenger ran in the rating 44 to 49 event and easily quicker than the tightest class race of the night when now 16-race winner Superstar Legend did best in a 2:34.1 four-horse walk-fest.

Nathan Delany brings Obadiah Dragon back. PHOTO: Jack McKenzie.Nathan Delany brings Obadiah Dragon back. PHOTO: Jack McKenzie.“He had a terrible trip and was still good enough to still get the job done,” Middleton said. “On that, I don’t see why he couldn’t win a few more races.

“Ray (Green) always said he was a nice little horse who would win races given time and, while he ain’t no champion, he’s a much better horse this time in.

“He settles well so I don’t think an extra 500 metres will worry him on Thursday.”

Middleton said while his partners were thrilled with the win, following on from his 15-length annihilation on the course last November, the three-year-old Fear The Dragon colt’s future probably lay in Australia.

“He’s on the market, like all our horses, and if he’s not sold we’ll more than likely send him to Brisbane. I think he’s got enough speed to stick with them.”

Driver Nathan Delany gets barrier five on Thursday night, one further out, and meets a useful field of rating 46 to 52 horses.

Our runners this week

Saturday night at Albion Park

Captain Nemo.

Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Thursday night at Cambridge

Race 1: Major Achievement

“It’s his first race for a while and he hasn’t been setting the world on fire at the workouts. But he’s been racing better animals and this isn’t a stellar bunch. He’s a chance if things go his way. I’ve given Mathew Salaivao the drive.”

Race 1: Commander Lincoln

“He’s an average horse but the last time he raced here in amateur company he all but won. He’ll need luck from the second row but, while I couldn’t label him, he’s a runner’s chance.”

Race 5: Onyx Shard

“She got a bit sick for a while with a virus and I had to back off her. She seems over that now but I’m picking she’ll need a race. This will be like a glorified trial for her.”

Race 8: My Copy

“He came to the end of it so I gave him a little freshen-up and he seems in good shape again. It will be interesting to see how he goes fresh - he may need a race but he’ll appreciate the step-down in class. I’m running him here so he doesn’t come up against any bear cats first-up.”

Race 9: Lincoln Cove

“Hopefully he’s getting better but you’ve just got to take him on trust. He has ability but the desire has been sadly lacking. Zac will have to sit quietly on him as he broke when given only one tap with the stick last time. The small field will suit him as he won’t be too far off them. If he doesn’t make any mistakes, he’ll give them a fright.”

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Friday night at Auckland

Race 3: Leo Lincoln

“Maurice said he would have finished a lot closer last time than sixth (fourth or even third) had he not locked wheels at the 100. That took all his momentum away. He’s been holding his form well and he gets out well enough to use the inside draw. He’s a chance to get some of the money.”

Race 5: Sugar Ray Lincoln

“He did have marks on his boot after his last run and trying a spreader on him has helped. But he’s a real baby. He has real ability but he’s still developing mentally and physically and we’re still finding our way with him.”

Race 5: Lincoln Lou

“He’s racing well but he’ll find it tough from the outside draw.”

Race 6: Debbie Lincoln

“I can’t see her improving enough to give the Purdon/Phelan trio a fright. She can go (fast) enough but still has a lot to learn. The main thing for her is getting round safely. She’s put two in a row now so hopefully she’ll start improving.”

Race 10: Lincoln La Moose

“He had an excuse last time - he got wiped out on the first corner and that was the end of his race. I like him, he’s a nice horse, just not quite as experienced as Frisco Bay.”

Race 10: Frisco Bay

“I lean towards Frisky as the better chance of our two. You can’t fault what he did the other night at Cambridge, and he seems to be on the improve. He’s more reliable than Lincoln La Moose.”

Dan Costello Race Photography