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Line Up, centre, charges out of the gate at Auckland in the Sales Series Final at Auckland.

Line Up smashes the clock and his rivals in Victoria Derby heat - at odds of $30!

Lincoln Farms’ graduate Line Up staked a huge claim for Saturday night’s A$200,000 Victoria Derby (2760m) when he smashed his rivals in the final heat at Ballarat last night.

Just 11 days after being dispatched to Australia by Lincoln Farms’ trainer Ray Green, the speedy colt tackled by far the strongest of the three derby heats, against Australia’s best first season pacer Be Happy Mach and Mark Purdon’s heavily backed Smooth Deal.

Sent out at the extraordinary odds of $30, Line Up showed high gate speed and, while originally held by the pole runner Mach Dan, driver Anthony Butt found the top round the first turn.

Line Up then had to withstand a strong attack for the lead by Purdon with Smooth Deal, who was left parked until fellow Kiwi Bad To The Bone came around the field.

Butt kept Line Up ticking along and after a third quarter in 28.8, it was obvious the favourites were struggling and when Line Up found a 27.5 final quarter, he sewed up the race, clocking a sizzling 3:15.7 for the 2710 metres, a mile rate of 1:56.2.

Line Up (Anthony Butt) is pacing a little roughly near the finish but he has broken their hearts in the third Victoria Derby heat.Line Up (Anthony Butt) is pacing a little roughly near the finish but he has broken their hearts in the third Victoria Derby heat.At the line he had 3.3 metres on runner-up Mach Dan, with another 3.4 metres to former Kiwi Virgil and Bad To The Bone. Be Happy Mach (fifth) and Smooth Deal (sixth) were both subjected to vet checks after the race, Be Happy Mach first emergency for the final and Smooth Deal missing out entirely.

The enormity of Line Up’s win was reflected in the winning times of the two earlier heat winners, Governor Jujon pacing 3:19, a mile rate of 1:58.2 and Pacifico Dream even slower at 3:21.5, a mile rate of 1:59.7.

Butt, who now also trains Line Up for owners Emilio and Mary Rosati, knows the horse well having driven him into third in the the Sires’ Stakes Final at Addington.

And he was also aboard in his previous start at Auckland when after firing out of the gate in the Yearling Sales Final on New Year’s Eve the horse resented being restrained, paced roughly and eventually galloped.

Line Up’s gait was still not flawless last night and he paced noticeably roughly late when getting a little tired.

Line Up, who is by champion stallion Bettor’s Delight out of Beach Parade, was bought for $130,000 at the Karaka yearling sale by Lincoln Farms’ boss John Street who later sold him for big money to the Rosatis.

Line Up certainly has the breeding to go to the top as he is a brother to the brilliant Partyon who won her first 10 races and 17 in all, including a Harness Jewels at her second start in 2016.

In 2017 Rosati paid $187,500 for another full brother Kokomo Beach who, renamed Typhoon Stride, has hardly set the world on fire, winning four of his 23 starts, including two at Goulburn and Newcastle earlier this month.

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