Franco Nandor (Al Barnes) scores all the way at Redcliffe. PHOTO: Dan Costello.

Franco Nandor looks a grading special at Albion Park this afternoon

Franco Nandor looks a grading standout to notch back-to-back wins at Albion Park this afternoon.

The Mach Three gelding contests the third race which is restricted to horses who have not won a race as a three-year-old.

Franco Nandor did just that last Thursday at Redcliffe but because Lincoln Farms’ trainer Al Barnes nominated him for today’s race before his win he can still run.

And under the Australian system where horses don’t have their birthdays until the end of the year, Franco Nandor’s wins at Auckland last August and Manawatu last December are counted as two-year-old wins.

So he goes into today’s 1660 metre event as a three-win horse, opposing two maidens, four one-win horses and one two-win horse off the second row.

“He’s certainly in the right race and has the right draw,” says Barnes who delights in the fact the horse is also racing for a A$9300 sake, twice what he won at Redcliffe.

“From four, he’ll be in front again - he’ll lead comfortably and does look a standout.”

Franco Nandor sped to the front from the same draw last week and exploded five lengths clear turning for home before knocking off a little in the stretch to win by 4.8 metres.

“The longer straight at Albion Park (197m) is the only worry, I’d prefer the shorter straight at Redcliffe (170m), but hopefully something will be challenging him so he’s not on his own.”

Man Of Action … looks headed for a spell.Man Of Action … looks headed for a spell.The only bet Barnes wants to have on his second runner today, Man Of Action, in the sixth race, is that he will let him down again.

“I’ve just put a new set of shoes on him so you can bet your last dollar I won’t be happy with him and will have to turn him out.”

Barnes gave Man Of Action a perfect one out-one back trail last week only to have the horse come under pressure before the final 400 metres and beat only one home.

“I’ll try something different and put block eyes on him and he should get a good trip on the speed. But he just hasn’t come back and doesn’t seem to be interested in racing.

“I’m picking he’ll be going back to the paddock and have four to six weeks on grass. Maybe if I bulk him up he might come back with a different attitude.”

Redcliffe on Wednesday

Barnes is much keener on the chances of his two runners at Redcliffe on Wednesday night, Brian Christopher and Bondi Shake.

Barnes is hoping Brian Christopher can lead and notch a hat-trick, even though he has drawn five in the fifth race.

Brian Christopher scored back-to-back wins at Redcliffe last week as favourite and Barnes believes that will have earned him enough respect from his rival drivers.

“He should lead but I’d be just as happy parking outside them. He’s definitely improved and is a better horse this week than last week.

“He’s a happy horse. It’s probably because of the way I’m working him, only jogging him between races and keeping all the speed in his legs.”

The other form runner in the race, Themidnightrambler, who has had 11 starts since arriving in Queensland for eight wins and three seconds, has the second row to overcome.

“He’s pretty tough and will probably come and park outside us and give us a good test. But if I can run home in 28.5 and 28.5, we’ll see who’s the braver.”

Bondi Shake, pictured winning last December, is a top three chance on Wednesday. PHOTO: Dan Costello.Bondi Shake, pictured winning last December, is a top three chance on Wednesday. PHOTO: Dan Costello.Bondi Shake has been winless in his last 12 starts and has a second row draw in the seventh race but Barnes says if he runs up to his last start he’s a chance.

At Redcliffe last Thursday Bondi Shake came with a strong finish from three back on the outer to run second.

“He didn’t steer the greatest last time, and that cost him, but he’s on the improve. We’ve been giving him a bit more work which has helped him.

“He worked solidly this week and will be running on again and hopefully finish top three.”

Bondi Shake’s chances might, however, depend on the horse he allows out, Vermont, driven by his son Hayden. “He hasn’t been getting out of the gate that well so we could end up a fair way back.”

Franco Nandor races at 4.47pm NZ time at Albion Park today.Franco Nandor races at 4.47pm NZ time at Albion Park today.Man Of Action races at 6.42pm NZ time at Albion Park today.Man Of Action races at 6.42pm NZ time at Albion Park today.Brian Christopher races at 9.11pm NZ time at Redcliffe on Wednesday night.Brian Christopher races at 9.11pm NZ time at Redcliffe on Wednesday night.Bondi Shake races at 10.10pm NZ time at Redcliffe on Wednesday night.Bondi Shake races at 10.10pm NZ time at Redcliffe on Wednesday night.

Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Friday night at Cambridge

Race 3: Lincoln Lou

“He’s a beautiful little horse and I’m looking forward to seeing him run. It’s hard to know how good he is, or how far he’ll go, but I guess we’ll find out on Friday. He’s the one to beat from the draw. If he doesn’t win, he won’t be far away.”

Race 5: Commander Lincoln

“I won’t be holding my breath. He tries hard enough but he lacks a bit of high speed.”

Race 8: Onyx Shard

“It’s two and a half months since she last raced, and she didn’t grow as much as I thought she would, but I’m expecting her to go a good race. Her last two trials have been good and she’s pulled up well.”

Race 8: Obadiah Dragon

“He’ll need a good trip from five but he’s not out of it. He went a good race last time at Cambridge and would be as equal a chance as Onxy Shard.”

Race 8: Beaudiene Rocknroll

“It’s heart-in-the-mouth stuff with him until they let them go but he should step away this time. Zac (Butcher) said the gate went particularly slowly before that race and that’s why he got impatient. I thought he did well to recover for third. If he made the front, where he goes best, he’d be hard to beat.”

Race 9: Frisco Bay

“He’s a tidy horse and I’m expecting a big run. We’ve sorted the problem he had with his breathing last season and he’s right in the zone now after a second and a win at the workouts.”

Mark Dux

Mark Dux’s comments

Saturday night at Albion Park

Race 5: Argyle
11.02pm NZ time

“It wouldn’t have mattered where he drew this week, he’s in the money, barring bad luck. He’s going terrific and he gets in so well at the ratings.”

Dan Costello Race Photography