Early fireworks will decide Tommy’s fate - if he crosses to the pegs he can run a place

The first few hundred metres will determine if Tommy Lincoln can earn some money in Friday night’s first heat of the Interdominion championship at Albion Park in Brisbane.

Trainer Mark Dux believes Lincoln Farms’ five-year-old, who is one of the outsiders for the series, can run a place if he can cross the pole runner inside him without spending too much petrol.

“I think we’re three-quarters of a length quicker than Targaryen, so we’ve got to have a go, but I wouldn’t like to see him spend everything off the gate and have nothing left.”

Driver Mathew Neilson will have to tread a fine line between having a serious crack at finding the markers but not burning so hard that the horse gets tired late.

“I’m not 100% certain he can cross but it’s a big advantage being on the markers at Albion Park so we’ll have a crack.”

Dux says sometimes it’s more important to know the form of the drivers as the horses and a notable declaration today for Targaryen was top reinsman Luke McCarthy, replacing regular pilot Chloe Butler who is under suspension.

But it’s the driver of the in-form Future Assured, Trent Dawson, who gives Dux plenty of hope that it won’t be the end of the world if Tommy doesn’t cross and has to sit in the running line.

“Future Assured will go forward and they always drive Uptown Beach girl tough too so Tommy should get cover.

“If we got the lead I’d be happy if we could lob straight onto the back of Future Assured as he won’t hand - he’d park Rock N Roll Doo - and he will run, he’s a decent horse.”

Race rival former Kiwi Spirit Of St Louis is a dual Miracle Mile placegetter. PHOTO: Stuart McCormick.Race rival former Kiwi Spirit Of St Louis is a dual Miracle Mile placegetter. PHOTO: Stuart McCormick.Fast milers

Dux believes Tommy will have to lift his game a notch to match the three favourites who all have faster winning times over 1660 metres or a mile.

In his recent winning streak, Future Assured clocked winning mile rates of 1:50.9, 1:51.6 and 1:51.8. Rock N Roll Doo ran 1:50.1 in winning the Len Smith Mile at Menangle in September. And 28-race winner Spirit Of St Louis, a dual Miracle Mile placegetter, clocked 1:51.5 in winning the Golden Mile and pushed South Coast Arden to half a head in June’s J D Watts Memorial, run in 1:49.1.

Of the others, the unknown quantity is I Cast No Shadow who a year ago won the Len Smith Mile at Menangle in 1:48.8. But he hasn’t won a race since last year’s Interdominion and, no longer with Jason Grimson, he has shown nothing in Queensland yet for Darrel Graham.

“Unless they try and nurse their horses because there are three heats, they’ll run about 1:51 and Tommy will have to step up a little.”

The horse’s best winning mile rates in Brisbane have been 1:52.7 and 1:52.8 but he was only 11 metres behind Blacksadance when he ran his then record 1:50.

Dux is confident, however, that he has the horse in prime condition to run a big 1660 fresh-up for seven months.

“Both of his trials have been good. And last Friday he led and really hit the line well. Mathew didn’t take the whip out with him or pull the plugs, the horse did it on his own and ran a nice half of 54.5.”

In scoring by 13 metres over former Kiwi Rough And Ready, Tommy Lincoln clocked a mile rate of 1:53.7 for the 1660 metres, home in 26.9.

But Dux knows Tommy’s taking on topline horses who are capable of running fast sectionals like that.

“These horses can all run a good half and you’d think they’d go hard - unless we get rain and they’re predicting we might.”

* Nine horses start in each of the four pacing heats on Friday night, seven across the front row.

Tommy Lincoln races at 9.51pm NZ time at Albion Park on Friday night.Tommy Lincoln races at 9.51pm NZ time at Albion Park on Friday night.

Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Friday night at Auckland

Race 1: Obadiah Dragon

“He’s the lowest rated in the field, so it will be tough for him, but he’s racing really well. He just doesn’t need any bad luck.”

Race 4: Lincoln La Moose

“You won’t see the best of him on Friday. It’s his first race since April and he’ll definitely need the run.”

Race 6: My Copy

“He’s no champion but he’s very honest and is always capable of finishing in the money. He only needs a fair crack at them.”

Race 7: Tyson

“You can forget about that debut run, it was a non-event for him the way the race panned out. He got way too far back and would need to have clocked ridiculous times to get into it. He has speed and feels like a nice horse but he’s very inexperienced. I wouldn’t expect him to round the others up but he won’t be disgraced.”

Race 7: Lincoln Lou

Update: Scratched on vet’s advice

“He’s a very nice colt. He’s a lot stronger this time in and he could develop into a serious horse. If he repeats his last run, he’ll be hard to beat. I think he might have the wood on Sugar Ray. He has better manners and probably a bit more speed too.”

Race 7: Sugar Ray Lincoln

“He won comfortably last time despite being three wide for much of the last lap and four wide turning for home. He’s a very good colt. There’s not much between him and Lincoln Lou.”

Race 9: Commander Lincoln

“He’s as honest as they come, he’d die for you, but he lacks a yard of sharp speed to be a serious horse. He has a draw upgrade and drops in class but things have to pan out for him.”

Mark Dux

Mark Dux’s comments

Friday night at Albion Park

Race 8: Captain Nemo
6.33pm NZ time

“It’s not an easy race and, from an average draw, we’ll drive him quietly again so he’ll be at the mercy of the tempo. If he gets the right trip, I could see him hitting the line well and sneaking into the money but after this run to tighten him up he’ll be all set to go, close to winning.”

Les Harding

Les Harding

Saturday night at Port Pirie

Race 5: Beaudiene Rocknroll
10.02pm NZ time

“I’m very happy with him and confident he’ll run a top race but it’s hard to predict how he’ll measure up given this is a big step-up in class compared with the horses he has raced against for his last two wins.”

Race Images - Harness