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 1: The Empress

“She’s very capable of winning but you couldn’t label her. But she’d have to be very unlucky not to get some of it.”

Race 3: Lindi Lincoln

“She went quite nicely at the workouts last Saturday but she’ll probably need a race to tighten her up. It’s not a great field but the draw (outside front row) isn’t ideal.”

Race 5: Line Up

“I’m confident Line Up can beat Henry Hu who puts in some terrible steps around the corners. He’d have to do plenty wrong to get beaten.”

Race 5: Bettor My Dreamz

“He’s back in the right grade and will be right there with a trip, but he’ll need a perfect trip to have any chance of beating Line Up.”

Race 7: Copy That

“He’s the best horse in the field without a doubt - it just depends on what passage he gets from that draw, but if he gets a good trip I can’t see anything beating him.”

Race 9: Double Or Nothing

“I think he’ll run just as well as usual. The draw’s not great but he doesn’t have to lead to go well - he can go back if David wants to.”

Al Barnes

Al’s comments

Saturday night at Albion Park

Race 5: Northview Hustler
10.08pm NZ time

“I’ll go back and save him for one sprint from the 300. It’s hard to predict where he’ll finish driving like that but the field is a bit weaker than last time with Watch Pulp Fiction not in and the step-up to 2138 metres will definitely favour us.”

Race Images - Harness