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Lincoln River (Andre Poutama) closing strongly for third in his last start at Alexandra Park.

Lincoln River deserves a turn and Ray’s looking for an improved run from Leo too

Lincoln River is in the right form to open the batting on a winning note for Lincoln Farms at Alexandra Park on Thursday night.

The first of five runners which trainer Ray Green lines up, Lincoln River crucially gets a front line alley, only the second time in his last five starts that he has drawn to be able to try for the lead.

Two starts back he led out from four before taking a trail behind Miki Shan but, after dawdling along in front, the leader proved impossible to catch in a pedestrian 2:44.9 for the 2200 metres, Lincoln River coming up half a head short.

Lincoln River was back to a second row draw last time and despite finding the mile a tad short, he closed best to run Mhai Surfer Girl and Gandalf to a nose and one and a half lengths in 1:56.9.

“He’s racing really well,” says Green. “I can’t fault him. I can’t imagine him not going a good race and he should be one of the favourites. He still seems to be in a good place.”

Last Friday, at the Pukekohe workouts, Lincoln River showed he was right up to the mark when pipped only a head by stablemate My Copy, with Frankie Major half a length back third.

“His breeding is starting to come out a bit now,” says Green of the Bettor’s Delight three-year-old who is out of 2104 New Zealand Oaks winner Ideal Belle.

Green says My Copy just needs a trip in the fourth race to get a chunk of the cash - and from gate two he should get it.

“He’s in the zone. He’s looking great and he’s training and trialling really well.”

Green says not to take too much notice of My Copy’s ordinary looking sixth in his last start at Auckland two weeks ago.

“It was a funny race - they walked and sprinted and nothing made any ground.”

Leo Lincoln (Zachary Butcher) runs out of condition on debut.Leo Lincoln (Zachary Butcher) runs out of condition on debut.Green predicts an improved run from Leo Lincoln in the seventh race after he could manage only seventh on debut.

After enjoying the one-out one-back trail, Leo Lincoln found little in the stretch but there was only half a length between third and seventh.

“Was I disappointed with that run? Yes and no. He wasn’t too bad. It was the fastest he’d ever been and he ran out of condition.

“I expect him to be improved this time. He was really good at the workouts last Friday behind a good one of Barry Purdon’s.”

After leading, Leo Lincoln was beaten only half a neck by the trailer, Lazarus two-year-old Jeremiah, in 1:59.3 for mile.

“Obviously it depends on the trip he gets but he’ll beat most of them home and he’s absolutely a winning chance.”

Stablemate Major Achievement, who starts from five in the same race, is a work in progress, says Green.

Lincoln Cove has a lot to learn. PHOTO: Trish Dunell.Lincoln Cove has a lot to learn. PHOTO: Trish Dunell.“Fergy thought he went well (after leading) at Cambridge last time where he might have been a run short.

“I don’t know if he had a bug that night - Beaudiene Rocknroll certainly did as the snot started pouring out of him.

“The way he trained yesterday he’s definitely not sick now. He’ll win one quickly.”

The same can’t be said of debutant Lincoln Cove who is the sole second row runner in the last race of the night.

“We’ve thrown him in the deep end a bit here. He’s got a bit to learn - he’s never been off the place since we bought him. He’ll need a race or two to come to it but I think he’ll be all right in time.”

Lincoln Cove, a Downbytheseaside - Everlasting Grace colt, showed his inexperience at the workouts last Friday, tangling when he started to improve from the rear on the home turn.

“He tried to look at the exit gate and lost concentration. But I wouldn’t read too much into that.”

Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Friday night at Cambridge

Race 3: Lincoln Lou
6.39pm

“He’s a beautiful little horse and I’m looking forward to seeing him run. It’s hard to know how good he is, or how far he’ll go, but I guess we’ll find out on Friday. He’s the one to beat from the draw. If he doesn’t win, he won’t be far away.”

Race 5: Commander Lincoln
7.31pm

“I won’t be holding my breath. He tries hard enough but he lacks a bit of high speed.”

Race 8: Onyx Shard
8.55pm

“It’s two and a half months since she last raced, and she didn’t grow as much as I thought she would, but I’m expecting her to go a good race. Her last two trials have been good and she’s pulled up well.”

Race 8: Obadiah Dragon
8.55pm

“He’ll need a good trip from five but he’s not out of it. He went a good race last time at Cambridge and would be as equal a chance as Onxy Shard.”

Race 8: Beaudiene Rocknroll
8.55pm

“It’s heart-in-the-mouth stuff with him until they let them go but he should step away this time. Zac (Butcher) said the gate went particularly slowly before that race and that’s why he got impatient. I thought he did well to recover for third. If he made the front, where he goes best, he’d be hard to beat.”

Race 9: Frisco Bay
9.22pm

“He’s a tidy horse and I’m expecting a big run. We’ve sorted the problem he had with his breathing last season and he’s right in the zone now after a second and a win at the workouts.”

Mark Dux

Mark Dux’s comments

Saturday night at Albion Park

Race 5: Argyle
11.02pm NZ time

“It wouldn’t have mattered where he drew this week, he’s in the money, barring bad luck. He’s going terrific and he gets in so well at the ratings.”

Dan Costello Race Photography