Frankie Major is comfortably holding Throwyaarmsaroundme at the finish. PHOTO: Megan Liefting./Race Images.

Frankie electric off the gate to take Magness Benrow spoils in the slush at the Park

Lincoln Farms’ owners John and Lynne Street were delighted to close out the harness racing season with a win by Frankie Major at Auckland tonight.

It was Frankie Major’s third win of the season for the stable - second only to Lincoln River’s 2023 haul of four - and came, appropriately, in the Magness Benrow Pace.

“I’m rapt we won this race because it’s sponsored by John Magness whom I have admired for years as a businessman,” John Street said. “He’s 78 and a legend.”

The architect of the win, the 29th harness success of the year for Lincoln Farms - including six in Australia - was undoubtedly Alexandra Park’s leading reinsman Zachary Butcher.

Owner John Street, right, thanks sponsor John Magness, left, after Frankie Major’s win.Owner John Street, right, thanks sponsor John Magness, left, after Frankie Major’s win.Trainer Ray Green revealed it was Butcher who suggested an aggressive gate drive in the heavy, rain-affected going, despite his six alley.

“Zac said we should have a dab for the front. He got there easily and kicked sand in their faces.”

From the cockpit, Butcher rated the Art Major three-year-old to perfection and held out a home stretch challenge from the favourite Throwyaarmsaroundme by a length, having only to run closing sectionals of 59.6 and 30.8 for an overall time of 2:43.9 for the 2200 metres.

It was Butcher’s fourth win on the colt and his sixth in all, which, along with nine seconds and three thirds boosted his stake earnings to $86,200.

“He’s always been a nice little horse,” said Green of the $60,000 2021 Christchurch yearling buy.

“He was a standout when we got him going, because he was such a natural and did everything right.”

Pipped a nose on his two-year-old debut, Frankie Major butted heads early with some talented age group horses but Green said, on the whole, they’d tried to protect him from the Merlins and Don’t Stop Dreamings of the harness world.

“And he responded by slowly but surely maturing. He just took a while to strengthen but he’s now a versatile tradesman and I knew the wet track wouldn’t worry him.”

Tonight’s win brought to 17 the number of individual pacers who won races for Lincoln Farms this season, the most prolific Lincoln River (four), Frankie Major (three) and Copy That (three).

The undoubted highlight of the season was that by Lincoln River at Alexandra Park in June, when John and Lynne Street brought up their 1000th win as owners. It was their 573rd harness win to go with 427 with gallopers.

Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Thursday night at Cambridge

Race 2: Commander Lincoln

“I thought he went quite well last time and he’s a chance of getting some of it. Andrew knows the horse well and, while he’s no champion, he tries hard.”

Race 6: Obadiah Dragon

“I can’t fault how he’s racing and he’s been unlucky several times at Cambridge. Yes, the others are higher graded than him but none of them are stars and most of the time at Cambridge the ones who get the good trips win. From the good draw, absolutely he can win. I wouldn’t like to be laying him.”

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