Leap To Fame leads last week’s derby heat with Simply Sam sitting three back in the running line.

Draw gods smile on Simply Sam giving Ray hope he can give the Derby hotpots a fright

Lincoln Farms’ trainer Ray Green knows how hard it is to win a Victoria Derby but, after the draw gods smiled on him this week, he is hoping Simply Sam can give the favourites a fright on Saturday night.

Green has tilted at Victoria’s rich classic with two of Lincoln Farms’ best pacers, triple derby winner Badlands Bute running fifth in 2005, after sitting parked, and Sir Lincoln a certainty beaten when second in 2010.

More recently, Line Up won the derby just weeks after being sent to Australia.

This years’ contest will see Simply Sam face a speedy crop but after the improving pacer drew the pole, Green’s hopes lifted a little.

“If he could sit on their backs, he might hopefully give them a fright. He’ll certainly get his chance.”

Green can see Grant Dixon charging across from five on heat runner-up Leap To Fame and, in the perfect scenario, driver Nathan Jack could then get a perfect trail with Simply Sam behind the Queenslander.

“Nathan said he got out of the gate quite well the other day and he thinks he should be able to hold up in front early. Hopefully we’re not crossed by too many. Even three fence would be good.”

Simply Sam has to come three wide round a tiring rival in last week’s derby heat with Captain Ravishing and Leap To Fame well clear.Simply Sam has to come three wide round a tiring rival in last week’s derby heat with Captain Ravishing and Leap To Fame well clear.Green said Jack reported Simply Sam was still improving and paced his best race this campaign in last week’s derby heat when third, albeit 17 metres behind Leap To Fame.

“He was held up behind one and had to come three wide round the turn. By then the others had gone. From there he lost no ground and he may have even picked up some.”

The official sectionals showed Sam running his last mile in 1:55.97, 800 metres in 53.98 and 400 in 26.9, excellent going considering he travelled an extra 33 metres during the race.

Leap To Fame, by comparison, clocked 53.48 and 26.61, travelling only an extra 18 metres during the race.

Exceptional winner Captain Ravishing sprinted home in 53.22 and 26.52, covering an extra 40 metres from the second row.

Captain Ravishing will again have to work hard from the second row and Green is hoping he’ll go round and attack, setting up the chance of the favourites cutting each other’s throats.

Tough task for Brisbane-bound Argyle

Sam’s stablemate Argyle, who did not make the final after being run down to ninth last week, lines up earlier in the night in the second race where on R71 he is clearly the lowest rated in the rating 70 to 89 field.

Under the preferential barrier draw conditions, that gives him the ace draw, gifting him the chance to once again adopt his favourite pacemaking role.

“That’s the perfect draw for him but, realistically, in that field he’s only a runner’s chance,” Green said.

Green revealed it was planned, subject to the agreement of Lincoln Farms’ partners in the horse, to dispatch Argyle north to Brisbane next week.

“That’s where he needs to be. I don’t see any point in bringing him home where he’ll have to race against the best horses.”

In Queensland, under the care of Mark Dux, Argyle would be well placed with his gate speed to put plenty more money in the kitty before he reached free-for-all class.

Copy That in great condition

Meanwhile, Green is very hopeful that Copy That will take his place in Saturday night’s A$300,000 Victoria Cup despite having a minor bleed last week.

“He’s in great condition. I can’t fault him. He looks perfect. There’s no coughing or any indication he’s trying to push stuff out of his lungs. He’s getting all the medication we can legally give him to help with that.

“The stewards are coming tomorrow when we’re going to scope him, and they’re bringing their vet with them, but I can’t imagine there being any problem. And if there is, we wouldn’t want to race him anyway.

“If he passes their scrutiny, he’ll race and he’s got the best draw you could hope for. Better Eclipse will get out from one and go as hard as he can and Copy That should get a lovely suck along behind him.

“With his kind of speed, if he gets a run through, he’ll be right on them. We just need a little bit of luck.”

Argyle races at 8.32pm NZ time at Melton on Saturday night.Argyle races at 8.32pm NZ time at Melton on Saturday night.Simply Sam races at 10.33pm NZ time at Melton on Saturday night.Simply Sam races at 10.33pm NZ time at Melton on Saturday night.Providing he scopes clean, Copy That will race at 11.39pm NZ time at Melton on Saturday night.Providing he scopes clean, Copy That will race at 11.39pm NZ time at Melton on Saturday night.

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.”

Dan Costello Race Photography