It’s Hustler first and the rest nowhere in today’s trial at Albion Park.

Hustler blows out the cobwebs and gets a pass mark in standing start trial at Albion Park

Northview Hustler had no serious opposition in his trial at Albion Park today but blew out a few cobwebs, scoring by nearly 62 metres.

While reasonably pleased with the way Hustler stepped in the standing start 2138 metre heat, trainer Al Barnes says he won’t make a decision on whether the horse lines up on Saturday night until he assesses his recovery.

“Today was more about giving Hayden a feel for him from a stand and, while a little scratchy, he wasn’t too bad,’’ says Barnes.

Albion Park officials allowed Hustler to start solo off the front tape, even though he was competing against four vastly inferior horses, two of them trotters.

Runner-up Springbank Eden, a 13 win ex-Kiwi trotter started from 50 metres and third-placed maiden pacer Bronski Baby was closest on 20 metres with an unraced Muscle Hill filly Delahiva.

“I just wanted to give him clear room in case the trotters did something wrong and he had to dodge them,’’ says Barnes.

Al Barnes … “the good ones give you a good feel.”Al Barnes … “the good ones give you a good feel.”Hustler scrambled for a few strides but was soon well clear in front and was rated to a tee by Hayden Barnes who wanted to run his opening half in 63 and back straight quarter in 29. Hustler actually clocked 62.4 and 28.9.

Asked to run only over the last half, Hustler came home in 55.5 and 26.6, and was credited with a winning margin of 61.6 metres with 27.8 metres back to Bronski Baby.

Hustler paced the trip in 2:41.8, a sedate mile rate of 2:01.8.

“The good ones give you a good feel and Hayden said he did it really easily. And his heart rate afterwards was 85 which was good.

“He was a bit nervous before the trial so that will blow out a few cobwebs.” (Hustler hasn’t raced for more than five months.)

“His recovery seems good so far. He’s bright and happy. I don’t expect him to eat great tonight but as long as he does the next day he’ll race on Saturday night.

“But if it takes two or three days for him to recover and he doesn’t eat I won’t run him.’’

Nominations for Saturday’s Flashing Red are strong with all the good local pacers like Colt Thirty One, Glenferrie Hood and Mach Alert, says Barnes.

“But if he lobbed the front they wouldn’t get near him.’’

Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Friday night at Auckland

Race 4: Copy That

“He’s certainly got some speed. The race was all over by the time he got going last week and James never pulled the plugs. Clearly he’s the best horse in the field on ability. But there are no guarantees he’ll behave.’’

Race 4: Tommy Lincoln

“He’s trialling well but I won’t be expecting too much from gate six. He was a big, gangly, weak thing but he’s strengthened up a lot this time in.”

Race 4: Billy Lincoln

“It’s his first race, and first time away from Pukekohe and he’s drawn the inside of the second row so logic tells you he has a few things against him. Until six weeks ago he was extremely average but he’s progressively got better and better.”

Race 8: Governor’s Bay

“He had a tough trip last time so it wasn’t surprising he weakened. He’s training well and this field looks a lot easier.”

Al Barnes

Al’s comments

Friday at Albion Park

Race 1: Lincoln’s Girl
2.42pm NZ time

“It’s not a bad field but she’s as good as anything else in there and looks a top two chance with a little luck from the second row. She went super last time - I didn’t know how brave she’d be when I saw her caught in the chair but Hayden was very happy with how she went.”

Race 9: Vasari
7.22pm NZ time

“He should get out a lot better this week with Hayden back driving and we’ll be trying to cross the pole marker. The horse is really well and he’ll win one soon. It’s a good line-up but he should run top three.’’

Anthony Butt

Ants’ comments

Saturday night at Menangle

Race 7: Lets Strike The Gold
10.22pm NZ time

“This is a difficlut race for him to win and I’ll be driving him quietly from that barrier. It’s been nearly nine months since he raced and he’s going to need a couple of runs to get his race fitness.”

Race Images - Harness