Argyle and Angus Garrard are too strong for Glover at Albion Park.

Mark: 1:51.9 mile rate shows Argyle’s getting stronger - and there’s more in store

Argyle jumps a grade after his decisive all-the-way win at Albion Park on Saturday night but trainer Mark Dux says he hasn’t finished winning just yet.

Only now, says Dux, are punters starting to see on racenight what the horse shows in training.

“He’s getting stronger and the way he works at home he feels a nicer horse than people have seen at the races.

“For a few seconds early in the stretch last night it looked like he could be in trouble - I wondered if he might wait for them - but he hit the line nicely.”

Once one of Argyle’s main rivals Alta Magacian galloped out of the gate, gifting Argyle an easy lead, Dux says driver Angus Garrard wasn’t frightened to let him roll.

Argyle ran his opening half in 56 and closing half in 56.Argyle ran his opening half in 56 and closing half in 56.And with an opening half in 56 and a closing half in exactly the same time, Argyle proved too strong for the late-closing Glover and Stormtide who came off his back, clocking a 1:51.9 mile rate, easily the fastest 1660 metres he’s run in 16 months in Queensland.

Winning his eighth race, Argyle rewarded his followers with a dividend of $2.80, a spoil given Dux couldn’t understand why Always Smokin was sent out favourite despite running behind Argyle last week and drawing worse last night.

Always Smokin’s driver Trent Dawson quickly aborted an early dab for the lead last night when Garrard and Argyle smoked their opening 400 in 27 and the favourite weakened to fifth after sitting parked.

“Times don’t lie and the sectionals he’s been running in recent months have been huge,” Dux said of Argyle.

The Bettor’s Delight five-year-old now advances to a band 4 rating and with most of the higher grade races combined in band 2 to band 4, he’ll soon meet a higher calibre of animal.

“A lot of them are one step off open company. A horse like Northview Hustler, for example, can drop back to band 2 after 10 losses.”

Weirdly it doesn’t matter if a horse runs 10 seconds on end, it still drops back and could draw one in a band 2 to band 4 race.

“But I don’t think we’re finished yet. He’ll be more than competitive in the races coming up.”

Junior claim

Dux will first exercise the option of running Argyle in another band 5 race, using a junior claim.

“It gets us back in the same grade but it’s always a little tricky getting the right junior. I’ve got three or four in mind but some of the better juniors are tied up with the big stables and it’s hard to get them.

“We’ve just got to nominate and hope we get the one we want.”

Dux, however, doesn’t believe Argyle will be too much of a challenge for a junior.

“If they’re a bit too kind he could put it over them but if they’ve got a little bit of aggression it should be OK. He drives pretty well.

“I’ll nominate him for a $20,000 band 5 race next Saturday and see how we go.”

Dux is hoping to retain Garrard when Argyle lines up in a band 4 race, albeit aware the young gun is in high demand.

“Angus drives a lot of band 4 horses and he likes to pick and choose.”

Though Argyle has raced four times in February and five times in March, earning A$24,123, Dux says he continues to thrive.

“We’ll play it by ear with him. At some stage he’ll get tired but, while he’s going well, we’ll keep racing. I couldn’t be happier with him.”

Lincoln Farms’ stablemate Captain Nemo is ready to rumble again too after a break of two months. Balloted out last night, he will again be nominated next week.

Our runners this week

Saturday night at Albion Park

Captain Nemo.

Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Thursday night at Cambridge

Race 1: Major Achievement

“It’s his first race for a while and he hasn’t been setting the world on fire at the workouts. But he’s been racing better animals and this isn’t a stellar bunch. He’s a chance if things go his way. I’ve given Mathew Salaivao the drive.”

Race 1: Commander Lincoln

“He’s an average horse but the last time he raced here in amateur company he all but won. He’ll need luck from the second row but, while I couldn’t label him, he’s a runner’s chance.”

Race 5: Onyx Shard

“She got a bit sick for a while with a virus and I had to back off her. She seems over that now but I’m picking she’ll need a race. This will be like a glorified trial for her.”

Race 8: My Copy

“He came to the end of it so I gave him a little freshen-up and he seems in good shape again. It will be interesting to see how he goes fresh - he may need a race but he’ll appreciate the step-down in class. I’m running him here so he doesn’t come up against any bear cats first-up.”

Race 9: Lincoln Cove

“Hopefully he’s getting better but you’ve just got to take him on trust. He has ability but the desire has been sadly lacking. Zac will have to sit quietly on him as he broke when given only one tap with the stick last time. The small field will suit him as he won’t be too far off them. If he doesn’t make any mistakes, he’ll give them a fright.”

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Friday night at Auckland

Race 3: Leo Lincoln

“Maurice said he would have finished a lot closer last time than sixth (fourth or even third) had he not locked wheels at the 100. That took all his momentum away. He’s been holding his form well and he gets out well enough to use the inside draw. He’s a chance to get some of the money.”

Race 5: Sugar Ray Lincoln

“He did have marks on his boot after his last run and trying a spreader on him has helped. But he’s a real baby. He has real ability but he’s still developing mentally and physically and we’re still finding our way with him.”

Race 5: Lincoln Lou

“He’s racing well but he’ll find it tough from the outside draw.”

Race 6: Debbie Lincoln

“I can’t see her improving enough to give the Purdon/Phelan trio a fright. She can go (fast) enough but still has a lot to learn. The main thing for her is getting round safely. She’s put two in a row now so hopefully she’ll start improving.”

Race 10: Lincoln La Moose

“He had an excuse last time - he got wiped out on the first corner and that was the end of his race. I like him, he’s a nice horse, just not quite as experienced as Frisco Bay.”

Race 10: Frisco Bay

“I lean towards Frisky as the better chance of our two. You can’t fault what he did the other night at Cambridge, and he seems to be on the improve. He’s more reliable than Lincoln La Moose.”

Race Images - Harness