Andre Poutama will make the call on how fast Leo Lincoln leaves the gate on Thursday night. PHOTO: Ange Bridson/Race Images.

Improving Leo the pride of Lincoln Farms’ pack at Alexandra Park on Thursday night

You only have to analyse Leo Lincoln’s run on the clock to see why trainer Ray Green rates him Lincoln Farms’ best winning chance at Auckland on Thursday night.

Having his first race for 10 weeks last Friday, the Art Major two-year-old came from second last in the running to get within one and a half lengths of red hot favourite In Excess, who set his own terms in front.

Leo Lincoln, who dropped back early from the outside of the gate, was clocked over his last 800 metres in 56.9, a full second faster than the winner, and 400 in 27.3, easily the best sectionals in the race.

And he was timed over his last mile in 2:00.8, compared with In Excess’ 2:02.3.

Also of note was that he ran past Tony Herlihy’s Major Jay, a rival again on Thursday night, who had enjoyed the perfect trail, but gets a second row draw this week.

Green says Leo Lincoln’s bold run didn’t surprise him given how well he’d been training and trialling.

“I think a bit of him and he should go on with it now. The field doesn’t look as strong as last week and hopefully from five he can get a reasonable trip.

“He has good gate speed but I’d rather he didn’t lead. He showed he’s got speed so he can sit back a bit if he has to and come into it late.”

Green said he’d discuss tactics with driver Andre Poutama but wouldn’t be making any set plans.

“It depends on who leaves of course. You don’t know what’s going on in other people’s minds. If nothing’s keen to come out, he can send him.”

Excellent stand start manners

Green is hoping Simply Sam’s excellent standing start manners will see him get his ideal trip in the Franklin Country Cup.

Drawn two on 10 metres, with only two rivals on the front, Green can see the horse getting a handy possie without doing any work, the horse’s proven blueprint for success.

“That would allow him to save all his venom for the finish. He’s been a bit of a bridesmaid of late but he’ll get one soon.”

Last Friday night, Simply Sam came from three back on the markers to run second to Lady Of The Light in a mobile 2200 metres.

His record over 2700 metres is solid - two wins and four placings from eight starts - and just as good from a stand - two wins and five placings from nine starts.

His last failure in a 2700 metre stand in October can be forgiven as he was checked in the run home, locked wheels and galloped when finishing fast.

Before that he beat all but Old Town Road in the Holmes DG after being parked for the last 800 metres.

Green knows the field is stronger this week, with Steve Telfer’s 35 metre backmarkers Allamericanlover and Aardie’s Express, but says Simply Sam is so consistent and we can “expect more of the same.”

My Copy sustains a long run to get within half a neck of favourite Throwyaarmsaroundme.My Copy sustains a long run to get within half a neck of favourite Throwyaarmsaroundme.My Copy’s outside front row draw in the seventh race irks Green given he is the equal lowest rated horse in the R47 to R53 field.

“I can’t understand why lower rated horses don’t get the good draws, rather than being on the outside. Why have a rating system if you don’t use it?”

That said, Green still expects the horse to be competitive for driver Maurice McKendry.

“Maurice said last week’s run was the best he’s gone this time in.”

Eased to the rear early, My Copy started a solo three wide move down the back straight the last time, was pushed four wide turning in, and maintained his effort right to the line, beaten only half a neck by the favourite Throwyaarmsaroundme.

Onyx Shard (race eight) is going much better than her form would suggest, says Green.

“She’s a pretty nice filly and I wouldn’t use the last two starts as an assessment of her ability.

“She was going to run right into it last week when she was stopped in her tracks. And she didn’t have much room at Cambridge the run before that.

“She’s drawn awkwardly again though so will need some luck to get a good trip.”

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.”

Dan Costello Race Photography