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Ray Green, pictured being interviewed by Trackside TV’s Craig “The Whale” Thompson, is doing a top job with problem horses.

Just Wing It adds to Green’s impeccable score card for Merv - but he has a new challenge

He did it first with Steam Punk.

Then it was Zealand Star.

Last night at Cambridge he added Just Wing It to the list.

And now Lincoln Farms’ trainer Ray Green has been set a new challenge by leading Australian owner Merv Butterworth.

It’s all about turning non-winners into winners - and in the last few months Green has coached Steam Punk to a win, transformed the once nervous Zealand Star into a record-breaker, and nurtured one-time knee-knocker Just Wing It into a $1.40 winner for the punters.

No sooner had Steam Punk been put on a plane to Australia last weekend than another Butterworth problem child appeared on the doorstep at Pukekohe in the form of southerner Governor’s Bay.

And from what Green has gleaned from southern horseman Brent Barclay this could be his greatest test.

“You could say Brent wasn’t glowing in his praise of the horse,’’ says Green.

“In fact he said he didn’t particularly like him. He hangs badly and they’ve tried to correct him but he’s apparently a very difficult horse.’’

Governor’s Bay winning for Dexter Dunn at Addington last March before being bought by Merv Butterworth. PHOTO: Race Images.Governor’s Bay winning for Dexter Dunn at Addington last March before being bought by Merv Butterworth. PHOTO: Race Images.Butterworth was quick to buy the five-year-old from Tom Bagrie’s stable last March, impressed by his tough performances at Addington when he won twice then sat packed for the last lap and was only just nutted.

But after being sent south to his southern trainer Brett Gray, Goverenor’s Bay disappointed and in his last three starts with Lauren Pearson managed only a fourth and two thirds.

Butterworth had planned to send the horse to Australia but he’s no doubt hoping Green’s Pukekohe clinic can diagnose his problems first.

“We’ll see how we go,’’ says Green. “He’s a very big, tall horse, he must be verging on 17 hands.’’

Green’s pre-race assessment of Just Wing It proved pretty much on the mark last night as the horse, backed as if unbeatable, got home by only a neck after enjoying a one-one sit behind stablemate Phil Bromac for the last lap.

“He’s no superstar but he was good enough to get the job done.

“It wasn’t a wonderful field though and I’m not sure where we’ll go from here.’’

Just Wing It hangs on to beat Ball Of Art, outer, and Catch The Dream at Cambridge last night. PHOTO: FokusPhotography.Just Wing It hangs on to beat Ball Of Art, outer, and Catch The Dream at Cambridge last night. PHOTO: FokusPhotography.Just Wing It clocked a sedate 2:45.8 for the mobile 2200 metres, the race developing into only a sprint home with the closing 800 in 57.9 and 400 in 28.2.

Green fielded a call from Butterworth straight after the race but, being in charge of the horse, didn’t have time to discuss the options for Just Wing It.

“He was pretty happy. Merv loves his winners. If he was mine I’d be pushing the horse to Australia straight away as with our handicapping system you just don’t know where you are.’’

Green says New Zealand should adopt the new handicapping system being introduced in Victoria where horses aren’t penalised so heavily for each win and points earned correlate to stakes won.

“And we should be eliminating the handicappers’ discretion like they are doing over there. People shouldn’t have to guess. It should all be black and white.’’

Just Wing It incurred seven rating points to 55 for winning last night and earned just $5755.

Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them

Anthony Butt

Ant’s comments

Thursday night at Penrith

Race 4: Vasari
9.33pm NZ time

“He’s been going good races from bad draws and, if he can lead from one, he’ll be awfully hard to beat.’’

Race 6: Make Way
10.33pm NZ time

“He seems back to his best again. He’s really bright in himself and is bouncing around. He had an easy time for a while with his cough, and it’s possible he’ll need the run, but he’s not far away and from the front he’d be hard to beat.’’

Alistair Barnes

Alistair’s comments

Friday at Albion Park

Race 3: Trojan Banner
4.57pm NZ time

“The draw is horrible and makes it very tough for him. The horse in front of him is a slug off the gate and if we follow him we could end up three or four deep. At least over 2138 metres you have a little time up your sleeve. You can grab hold, pop off, give them a little breather in the second quarter, then take it as it comes. He has improved greatly since his last run but he’s still not at his peak and I’m reluctant to pressure him too much second-up by looping the field.’’

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Friday night at Auckland

Race 4: Just Wing It

“If he can land a good trip (from five) there’s no reason why he can’t pay another dividend. He’s gone three honest races so far. The winner of his race last week (Benson Boys) ran 2:40 and they don’t go much faster than that so to run on for third was a good effort.”

Race 5: Governor’s Bay

“I like the horse, he’s got the raw ability to win a race or two up here. He blew like hell after his workout on Saturday which tells me he tried hard and he’s a bit porky. He’s put on a lot of weight in a couple of weeks. It’s his first time right handed on Friday and I’ll be running him with pull down blinds after he knocked off at the trials.’’

Race 9: Hilary Barry

“Mark Purdon’s monsters aren’t there which gives everyone else a chance but she’ll find it tough from the draw. Unless she’s very lucky it’s not a good scenario. If Andrew goes forward and uses her petrol it will be hard and if he goes back she’ll get nothing.’’

Race Images - Harness