‘Leader Peter’ will have to decide whether to fire up Louie in his tricky Brisbane debut
The expertise of top driver Pete McMullen could be crucial when Louie The Punter makes his Queensland debut for Lincoln Farms at Albion Park on Saturday night.
Trainer Mark Dux has enlisted McMullen to drive the four-year-old who has drawn a tricky gate four in the eighth race.
And he says he’ll be relying on “leader Peter” to make the right decisions when they leave the gate in the 2138 metre event.
“The one horse (Glenledi Commander) has good gate speed and they’ll probably want to hold the lead.
“I don’t know our horse well enough yet to know how good his gate speed is so the question is do we fire him up or not? I’d hate to see him burned, get caught wide, and not finish the race off.”
In Louie The Punter’s favour is he has the winner of 2497 races at the helm, while Glenledi Commander will be driven by claiming junior Jordan Topping, who has just 16 career wins.
Only last December, McMullen became the first driver in Queensland to notch 300 winners in a season.
“We’ll probably go forward to start with and then he can play it by ear. You don’t win races here by going back.”
Louie The Punter raced best in New Zealand when driven on the speed, two of his three wins from in front and the other from the trail.
And he showed enough ability, clocking 2:42.7 in one of those wins at Alexandra Park, to think he’ll be very competitive in Saturday’s rating 56 to 62 race.
“The field is OK, not bad by any stretch. They’re decent horses so it won’t be a pushover but I’m pretty happy with him.”
Dux says he would like to have trialled the horse, who hasn’t raced for two months, but after he was balloted out of his trial heat last week he decided to go straight to the races.
“The way he’s worked since I’m happy enough to race him without a trial. I think he’ll run well but it will all come down to the trip he gets.
“It would have been a different ball game if he’d drawn inside the other horse. He may try and park us.”
Dux says it will be up to McMullen to decide whether to ask Louie for his best out of the gate or to drive him slightly more conservatively.
Angus Garrard won’t have those options when he teams with Tommy Lincoln again earlier in the night, his three draw not as sweet as it might seem.
Drawn immediately inside Tommy is the gate flyer, former Kiwi Deus Ex, whom Dux says is a monty to lead.
“The draw is very awkward but if we can come across with him and roll along outside him, it wouldn’t be too bad. Angus will just have to watch that they don’t try to drive up under him and keep him wide.”
But in a strong field, which also includes the in-form Turn It Up, Speech Is Silver, and the rejuvenated Northview Hustler, Dux isn’t expecting too much from his charge.
“Nothing has gone right for him since his last win. He’s had bad draws and bad trips but I actually thought he went pretty decent the other day.”
Though he beat only two home behind Turn It Up two weeks ago he was always back from a wide draw and paced home in 56.47 and 28.73.
“Down the back straight at the 400 he switched back inside them behind Star Galleria, who had burned at the start and just had to stop, and he had to jam on the brakes. If he’d stayed to the outside he would have finished a lot closer.”
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Our runners this week
Saturday night at Albion Park
Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them
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.”