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American Dealer rallies to beat It’s All About Faith, obscured, on debut at Auckland last week.PHOTO: Peter Rubery/Race Images.

Krug red hot in Young Guns Final but Lincoln Farms’ battalion can get some of it

The barrier draw points to Platinum Stride as the best of Lincoln Farms’ five-pronged assault on Friday night’s $100,000 Young Guns Final at Auckland.

But trainer Ray Green also has a wild card for the early season babies’ crown in the form of American Dealer who showed real courage when winning on debut last week.

The bookmakers’ odds would suggest that while Lincoln Farms has half of the field, it’s really a one-horse race with southerner Krug a red hot $1.55 favourite, and the All Stars’ It’s All About Faith ($3.60) the only one expected to threaten.

But Green isn’t so sure.

“Krug is a nice horse but he’s not unbeatable and the inside draw has given Ultimate Stride a good chance.

“If things go his way he could possibly win, they’ll certainly know he’s there.

“I’m sure he’ll get out pretty fast and he wouldn’t have to improve on his run last week to be a chance.”

Platinum Stride put up some impressive sectionals in running an excellent third last week.

From the outside of the gate he ended up last and was still there 800 metres from home, starting a three-wide run soon after.

And despite being three wide from the 600, then four wide, he still clocked the fastest last mile in the race of 1:57.4, his closing 800 of 56.8 the second fastest.

On Friday he gets the ace and Green is confident he can get out fast enough to make use of it.

X-factor

American Dealer, from gate five, won’t be gifted the perfect trailing trip he enjoyed last week but Green is hoping he has the X factor.

“We’re still in unknown territory with him and he’s quite possibly a decent horse. It’s hard to know but if he gets even half a trip he’s a chance on the way he went last week.”

American Dealer really dug in for the fight on debut, kicking back in the run home after being headed by It’s All About Faith, confirming Green’s pre-race rap that he was a perfect little racehorse.

Natalie Rasmussen … quizzed over lack of vigour on It’s All About Faith.Natalie Rasmussen … quizzed over lack of vigour on It’s All About Faith.Stewards later quizzed Rasmussen over her lack of vigour in the closing stages on It’s All About Faith who went under by a nose.

Rasmussen said her horse, who was fresh-up since December, had raced roughly in the early stages and then been inconvenienced soon after (by the galloping Mr Fantastic) causing her to work harder than expected.

It’s All About Faith had laid in under pressure on the home turn and failed to respond to her urgings in the run home when racing greenly, she said.

Rasmussen was advised to show “more discernible examples of encouragement” in the future.

It’s All About Faith can be expected to be improved this week as will Lincoln’ Farms’ Vanquish Stride.

“He has improved considerably this week,” says Green. “He’s tough and is a chance to get some money with a trip.”

Virus affected pair

Green is also hoping for improved runs from Franco Nandor and Bondi Shake who were both found to be suffering from a virus last week after below par efforts for sixth and seventh.

“It was nothing major but their bloods showed they weren’t right. They had a little bit of a cough and snot and weren’t eating as well as they should have.

“They seem to be over it now and should go better this time.”

Green can’t see Prestige Stride threatening the outstanding Passion And Power in the $80,000 Fillies’ Final but is hoping she can pick up some place money.

“She went OK last week (for fifth, after enjoying the one-one trail). She’s a tidy little filly and I’m going to recommend Emilio (Rosati) takes her to Sydney. I think she’d be quite effective over there.”

Zealand Star has been trialling strongly at Pukekohe.Zealand Star has been trialling strongly at Pukekohe.Likely upsetter

Lincoln Farms could close a big night by upsetting with Zealand Star in the ninth race.

The six-year-old will enjoy a huge drop in class on his run last week when he raced the topliners and finished only seven lengths behind winner Triple Eight in the Lincoln Farms’ Founders Cup.

“Maurice (McKendry) was pretty impressed with him. At the 400 he thought he was going to be right in it, he just got tired in the last 150 metres when his condition blew out.”

Zealand Star was having his first race for more than 11 months after surgery to pin his right hind pastern with three screws but he had been trialling strongly at Pukekohe.

Our runners this week

Saturday night at Albion Park

Argyle.

Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Friday night at Auckland

Race 2: Frisco Bay
6.40pm

“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
6.40pm

“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
7.10pm

“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
7.10pm

“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