First real test for Trojan Banner but Al’s looking forward to it
It’s a strong field and Trojan Banner has drawn badly on the second row but trainer Al Barnes still gives the colt a winning chance at Albion Park on Friday.
Lincoln Farms’ three-year-old lines up in the second race at 3.53pm NZ time with a near picket fence form line after stringing together three easy wins since arriving in Queensland.
And while Barnes admits he didn’t expect to strike such strong opposition this week, he rates Trojan Banner the best horse in the field.
“The draw makes it tricky because it’s only over a mile (1660m) and they’ll run quick time. But while it’s a good little field, there’s nothing in there that would win the derby and he’s definitely up to those horses.
“It will be a good test for him but they’ll be more scared of us than we are of them. They’ll be thinking: ‘Oh, great, we’ve got to race Trojan Banner!’
“He’s getting a good reputation here already and he’s improving all the time.
“I’m not going in confident of making it four in a row but I am confident he’ll go well with an ounce of luck.’’
Barnes says Friday’s race could play into Trojan Banner’s hands if the front line horses go hard.
“We could then drive him with one run.’’
Another scenario might see the four horse Ima Birubi Boy use his gate speed and head for the early lead, allowing Trojan Banner to follow him through.
But Barnes says if none of that unfolds Trojan Banner still has the ability to move if the pace slackens and slip round to the chair.
“It’s tough to win from the second row unless you can do some work but if you can, and don’t mind coming three deep solo, you can still be competitive.’’
Barnes says he’s thrilled with Trojan Banner’s condition and he says he seems to be on top of a few little foot issues.
“He’s quite soft in the soles and has been feeling his feet a little. But I’m using something that hardens his feet up and he’s wearing bonded shoes that take the jar out.’’