Mark: Awkward second draw makes it very tough for Argyle but he’s not a no-hoper

A very awkward second row draw prevents trainer Mark Dux from pushing Argyle’s case at Albion Park this weekend - but he warns not to put the pen through him completely.

Dux strongly tipped the horse as a top three chance last Saturday night, and his followers were rewarded with a $7.10 place dividend when he rallied bravely for third. But he says it’s hard to be confident this week when he moves to the outside of the second row in the second race.

“He was very strong last week, but that’s him and, while they dropped him off with a quick 27 quarter down the back, I knew he’d keep coming.”

Though winning driver Brendan Barnes was sitting up on winner Big Shadow near the post, Argyle attacked the line hard to finish just two and a half lengths away, three-quarters of a length behind The Tax Cullector.

“I don’t think he’s a no-hoper this time, but I’m not super confident as I don’t see a lot of pressure in the race.

“The main two look to be The Tax Cullector and Pacifico Dream and I can’t see them doing much early. If they lead and trail and the eight horse, Stormtide, sits three fence it will be near on impossible to make ground on them if they back off even a little.”

Dux says he can’t see anything that will be keen on sitting outside the leader and in the scenario, if there’s no real tempo, gun junior Angus Garrard might slip around and park on Argyle.

“If they back off there’s a very good chance he could do that but I don’t say he will. Then it’s a matter of is he good enough to do the work and keep going?

“It definitely looks awkward but with a bit of luck in the run he’s more than capable of putting up a good showing.

“I’m going into the race happy with the horse and I’m sure he’ll race well but he could finish top three or he could have to do too much work and run sixth.”

Dux says not to be fooled by Argyle’s bouncing form line.

“A couple of numbers in his form line don’t look great but his runs have been very good, and he’s been running fast sectionals.

“The draw makes the race a lot harder to win but if it unfolds in our favour he can earn money.”

Argyle races at 8.39pm NZ time at Albion Park on Saturday night.Argyle races at 8.39pm NZ time at Albion Park on Saturday night.

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.”

Whales Harness