High maintenance Hustler makes Al and son Hayden proud with his 16th win - wire to wire

Northview Hustler again repaid trainer Al Barnes for all the time he puts into the horse when he scored another all-the-way win at Albion Park in Brisbane tonight.

The Hustler dictated from dispatch, driver Hayden Barnes dictating terms perfectly in front. And after being allowed to get away with opening quarters of 31.2 and 30.3, the little black was never going to be caught, leaving his rivals breathless with his final two sectionals in 27.9 and 26.9 to win by 2.8 metres.

It was Northview Hustler’s eighth win since being sent to Barnes’ Marburg stable in Queensland and 16th in all, taking his earnings from 84 starts to $127,471 in New Zealand and A$103,493 in Australia.

Hayden Barnes has it all sewn up on Northview Hustler tonight.Hayden Barnes has it all sewn up on Northview Hustler tonight.But the going hasn’t been easy for Barnes who looked on with plenty of pride as the seven-year-old led the field back.

“He looks amazing and he’s in great spirits but he’s such a high maintenance horse now. He has trouble with his fetlock and feet and keeping him sound is a real battle.

“He gets corns all the time. I had to cut a big chunk out of his heel after the last carnival.”

Barnes fitted the Hustler with a bar shoe to float the heel and take pressure off the bruising and says he uses ice boots to help his joints every day.

“They go at such high speeds that his joints struggle to handle it but he gets the best care, the best of everything, and he’s responding to it.

“It just shows you what he can do when he gets a draw. The free-for-alls here aren’t weak but they lack depth and he’s really got a motor.”

Barnes said his son was rapt after the race and justifiably so as he did a perfect job rating the horse.

Al Barnes … “Huss is very high maintenance but he gets the best care, the best of everything.”Al Barnes … “Huss is very high maintenance but he gets the best care, the best of everything.”“We’ve got only four horses here so life’s a struggle but it makes it worthwhile when you get a horse like the Hustler and he comes out and does that.”

The Hustler, who was sent out an even money favourite, clocked a mile rate of 1:56.3 for the 2138 metres to beat Rock With Sam, Clintal Do and the second favourite Major Cam, who found the job of coming from last too tough.

Barnes was also delighted with the performance of Larry Lincoln earlier in the night after he went forward, couldn’t get in, and had to be dragged all the way back to last.

Despite that the horse still mounted a big late charge to finish fourth, only 8.7 metres from winner One Off.

“He was huge and is absolutely flying. He’ll get one soon.”

Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them

Al Barnes

Al’s comments

Tuesday at Albion Park

Race 7: Bondi Shake
7.03pm NZ time

“He’s going really well and hasn’t had much luck. This looks a good race for him, it’s not overly strong. I rate him a top two chance. It’s just a matter of whether he can wind up fast enough from behind the leader.”

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Friday night at Auckland

Race 2: Captain Nemo

“He’s not quite up to the best in there but he’s honest enough. He’ll go round and get a cheque.”

Race 2: American Dealer

“He’ll go a good race but it will improve him a lot. David was really happy with him at the workouts and didn’t press him too hard. While he’ll be better for the run it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if he won.”

Race 4: Smokinhotcheddar

“I thought her run for fifth last time was super. I’ve taken her off the unruly and she’s drawn one. If she doesn’t stuff the start, she’ll be right in it.”

Race 7: Tartan Robyn

“His first run for us was a beaut. He had a bad trip, parked most of the way, and still ran on. If he led, he’d be hard to beat.”

Race 8: Copy That

“He was deadly at the trials and Maurice said he couldn’t get over how easily he did it. It’s hard to imagine them beating him fair and square. He’d have to be exceedingly unlucky or do something stupid.”

Race 9: Argyle

“He needs the experience and a run under his belt before the Young Guns Final. I expect David will go back from seven and come into it late. I’m not holding my breath that he can win.”

Al Barnes

Al’s comments

Saturday night at Albion Park

Race 5: Larry Lincoln
10.47pm NZ time

“Larry deserves to be favourite and he’s got enough respect to lead and win. There are some capable horses in the race but over a mile Larry will be very hard to beat from in front.”

Race 10: Bondi Shake
1.20am NZ time

“He’s very bright after his win on Tuesday and will run a cheeky race. This is stronger but he’s up to them. Dance In The Sun looks the winner but I’m very confident he can run top three because he chases really well.”

Dan Costello Race Photography