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Frisco Bay is having his first race for six months but is worth following. PHOTO: Trish Dunell.

Lincoln River top bet at Auckland on Thursday but newcomer Frisco Bay one to follow

Lincoln River looks the best money shot for Lincoln Farms at Auckland on Thursday night but trainer Ray Green is also looking forward to the return of Frisco Bay.

Green rates the Downbytheseaside colt as potentially the best two-year-old in the Lincoln Farms’ team but isn’t setting the bar too high for him in only his second race and first for six months.

Green lines up two others in the second race, Leo Lincoln with a fitness edge, and Obadiah Dragon, but it’s his $9000 weanling cheapie Frisco Bay who will be in focus on his binoculars.

“It’s his first run back, so I’m not too worried about whether he wins, but he’s coming up quite nicely and I think he’ll be competitive.”

Drawn two on the second row, Green is hoping Frisco Bay can push forward behind last start runner-up Mr Bondi.

“Luck will be the name of the game but he could get a good run through and, if he does, he’ll be a worthy opponent.”

Non event

Green recalls Frisco Bay’s debut run in a Young Guns heat in March as a “non event” when he drew seven, went back to last, and couldn’t get into the 1700 metre dash.

Frisco Bay’s sectional times compared very favourably, however, right alongside the second and third fastest in the race behind winner Escape Artist.

Ironically last Friday, in the second of his two workouts this prep, Frisco Bay again ran into Escape Artist and that horse’s sole conqueror in the Young Guns Final, Cold Chisel.

And when the sprint went on in the run home of the 2050 metre heat, he was right there, just a head and a neck behind the other pair, in closing splits of 57.4 and 26.7.

“He can get a bit hot, and wants to go a bit too hard, but he’s coming along OK. We’ll point him in the direction of the Sires Stakes heats and see if he’s up to it.”

The first of the Sires’ Stakes qualifiers comes up on Thursday week at Cambridge with a $25,000 mobile 1700 metres heat.

If luck deserts Frisco Bay, Green picks Leo Lincoln will be there to fly the flag, with a clear fitness edge after three runs back this prep.

After dead-heating for first at Cambridge on August 10, Leo ran an unlucky third to Hawkeye Pierce at Auckland, motoring home after being held up by the tiring leader turning in.

Obadiah Dragon … fresh-up and badly drawn. PHOTO: Trish Dunell.Obadiah Dragon … fresh-up and badly drawn. PHOTO: Trish Dunell.Green says he won’t be holding his breath over fresh runner Obadiah Dragon, drawn six.

“The draw’s a bit awkward but I’d like to see him get round and finish off.

“He was breaking early on but we’ve sorted that out. He’s a nice enough gelding but it’s hard to know how far he’ll take us just yet.”

Lincoln River has some talented rivals to beat in the eighth race but Green says he’s really going well.

“He’s very honest and consistent and is a tough little bugger. And he’s trained on well.

“Even though it’s a good field it’s still a bit of a drop down from his previous start when he did all the donkey work.”

After fending off an early challenge for the lead, Lincoln River fought bravely when tackled, finishing only three lengths behind winner Bettor Heist and half a length behind stablemate Simply Sam.

Disappointed

Green admits he’s been disappointed in the recent form of Simply Sam who meets a strong line-up in the seventh race.

“He’s going handy races but hopefully he can improve this week.”

An overdue win looked on the cards last time when driver Andre Poutama pulled Simply Sam out of the one-one with all of 600 metres to run at Auckland.

But he went nowhere three wide and, while he hit the front 150 metres out, he only battled late.

“Andre probably went a bit too soon. No doubt he thought the horse in front of him (Hezashorething) had had enough. Whether the end result would have been any different, it’s hard to tell.”

While Green says he will leave the driving up to Poutama, he’s hoping the horse isn’t used too hard early.

“He’s gone his best races coming from off the pace, getting a suck along. He’s got speed and gets home well if he does no work early. I’d like to see him get away well, then back off, rather than push on.”

Onyx Shard … winning for Andre Poutama on Grins night at Cambridge. PHOTO: Trish Dunell.Onyx Shard … winning for Andre Poutama on Grins night at Cambridge. PHOTO: Trish Dunell.Onyx Shard may have a second row draw in the fifth race, the first Sires’ Stakes heat for two-year-old fillies, but Green believes she’s not out of it.

“She’s a very nice filly who hasn’t gone a bad race so far. It’s not the best draw in the world, so she’ll need a bit of luck, but I think she’ll be competitive with them.

“I think she could be up to those other good ones and will develop into a nice mare.”

Onyx Shard has trialled twice since her resuming run for seventh on August 3, pipped in the latest by Ultimate Racy Girl, a rival on Thursday night, with slick closing sectionals of 56.6 and 26.8.

My Copy’s form line in the third race doesn’t look flash but he’s racing better than it suggests.

“I can’t fault him. He’s going well and just needs a bit of luck.”

Though only seventh last start, My Copy dropped back to the rear from a wide gate, mounted a four-wide challenge and kept coming, finishing only a length from third.

“He’s not a cup horse but he’s very honest.”

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.”

Dan Costello Race Photography