Mark reveals the reason for Argyle’s flop and gives Captain Nemo a reprieve from the knife
Trainer Mark Dux can’t threaten Argyle with the knife like he did Captain Nemo, as he’s already a gelding, and he says you can simply draw a line through his last start flop anyway.
Just three days after Nemo earned himself a reprieve from the ultimate op, by running a close and unlucky second at Albion Park, Dux is confident of an improved performance from Argyle in the fifth race on Saturday night.
Dux says there’s a simple reason why Argyle never fired a shot a couple of weeks ago, under pressure a long way out and beating only one home - he almost certainly cut off his air in the running.
“I could see he was in trouble at the half mile and that’s not like him.”
Dux says the first words out of driver Trent Moffat’s mouth when he returned to scale were: ‘Has he ever cut off his wind before’?
“He’s never done it at the races but I told the driver before the race he can get pulling a bit.
“I think he must have over-reacted a bit and had him on too tight a rein because when he came back the horse blew really hard for a while.
“He pulled up awful and the run really knocked him around, that’s why I let him miss racing last week to give him plenty of time to get over it.”
Dux is confident with top youngster Angus Garrard holding the reins on Saturday night there will be no repetition.
“I don’t have any doubt he’ll race well. I’m really happy with him.
“He needs only an ounce of luck and, if he can get a good run through from the second line, I think he can be thereabouts.
“There was nothing wrong with his runs before his last start and he feels good. I can’t fault him.”
With a 73 rating, Argyle is easily the highest graded horse in the 2138 metre event, the next best on 66 and none of the others higher than 61.
* Two possible races for Captain Nemo on Tuesday did not get off the ground so he’s now likely to race again next Saturday.
More news in Harness
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Unlucky Argyle deserves to be rewarded at Albion Park tonight - just no bad luck please
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Why Lincoln Farms had to buy lot 68 - his older brother Lincoln Lou is ready to rock
Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them
Friday night at Cambridge
Race 3: Lincoln Lou
“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
“I won’t be holding my breath. He tries hard enough but he lacks a bit of high speed.”
Race 8: Onyx Shard
“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
“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
“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
“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’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.”