I now pronounce you man and wife … you may turn on your cell phones to watch the Hustler

It’s shaping up as a big weekend for Lincoln Farms’ Queensland trainer Al Barnes.

First his two new recruits will debut at Albion Park, Billy Lincoln on Thursday and Sir Tiger on Friday, both great chances.

Friday night also sees Lincoln’s Command going round a top four chance at the Sunshine Coast night gallops.

And then on Saturday night the action will ramp up with flag bearer Northview Hustler racing in the main free-for-all.

But Barnes and his two driver sons Hayden and Brendan won’t be anywhere near the track on Saturday night and if they want to see how the Hustler goes, they’ll have to sneak a peak on their phones.

That’s because the Barnes family will be 80km away at the Gold Coast where Al’s daughter Cassie is getting married.

The way Al Barnes is talking, there won’t be any worries about the dowry, however, as both Billy Lincoln and Sir Tiger are tipped to snare some major money.

Billy Lincoln contests the opening race on Thursday, a real winning chance from gate three.

“It’s not an overly strong field and he should run top three.

“Hayden should cross the two inside him, lead and dictate, and he’ll have some respect after winning his trial last week.

“He won that easily and while he did a bit wrong I’ll pull his hopples up two holes this time.”

Barnes owns race rival Montana Nights himself and says while he’s fast he’s unlikely to be fit enough to run out 2138 metres first-up. The five-year-old is back at the track after a long battle with back and tendon problems.

Sir Tiger will start a short-priced favourite on Friday to open his Queensland account with a win. PHOTO: Phil Williams/FokusPhotography.Sir Tiger will start a short-priced favourite on Friday to open his Queensland account with a win. PHOTO: Phil Williams/FokusPhotography.Sir Tiger has a second row draw on Friday in the fourth race, a Pot Of Gold heat, but Barnes can’t see that stopping him.

“His fitness is down a whisker but he should win comfortably and then be spot on for the final the following week.”

Barnes says Sir Tiger is over the setback which saw him miss three days’ work after kicking out in the cart and ending up with a large haematoma high up inside his leg.

“It’s perfect now and he’s had a few gallops. He will need the run but he’ll still be good enough to win.”

Barnes has engaged Jimmy Orman to ride Lincoln’s Command in the sixth race at the Sunshine Coast when he is excited to be getting the horse up over 2200 metres for the first time.

Barnes liked what he saw of the horse last time on the Gold Coast when he was doing his best work late over 1800 metres to finish only 4.75 lengths from the winner.

“He’s improved since that run and I’m hoping the forecasted rain arrives so it gets into the slow range.”

The Sunshine Coast course is regarded as one of the best in Australia with long, open angled bends and a 400 metre home straight that gives back runners the chance to come from behind and win.

Stand-in driver for Hustler

Talented driver Adam Richardson will drive Northview Hustler in the fourth race on Saturday night when, while drawn on the second row, he will be helped by having only six rivals.

Richardson finished fifth on the state premiership last season with 114 wins and will do the right thing by the Hustler, says Barnes.

“He should get a sweet trip behind the one horse (former Kiwi Italian Delight) who trialled really well last week.

“He might end up three fence but that’s what we want and he will be running on.”

Barnes says the Hustler was “super” last week in an ice cold run that helped top off his fitness.

Barnes drove the horse himself and, after an early walk and a hectic 26.9 third quarter, didn’t pull out until just outside the 200.

The Hustler rocketed home to be beaten just eight metres, recording the fastest last 800 metres in the race of 53.56.

“He’ll be better suited with a more genuine tempo.”

Our runners this week

Saturday night at Albion Park


Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Friday night at Auckland

Race 2: Frisco Bay

“He obviously needed the run last week. He pulled his way round the field and sat outside the leader but he couldn’t cop a run like that first-up and got tired. The ability is there, whether he’s fit enough or not we’ll find out. But I expect him to go well, the three draw is much better than last week.”

Race 2: Lenny Lincoln

“He’ll probably need a race but he’s capable of running a slot. He’s unlucky not to have won a race, all three of his seconds were good. He’s got a bit better with each of his trials this time in and he got home well last Saturday, after coming widest on the turn.”

Race 3: Obadiah Dragon

“The way the race was run at Cambridge last week, his effort wasn’t bad at all. Moni (Monika Ranger) said he felt strong and, if he’d been a few slots closer, he would have been right in it. He’ll be improved for the run.”

Race 3: Leo Lincoln

“He’s very consistent - he’s only missed a couple of cheques. But he’s another just coming back and should improve with the run.”

Race Images - Harness