Driver Grant Dixon is hard at work on Captain Nemo who responds bravely to score by a head. PHOTO: Dan Costello.

Mark uncanny in his prediction, Nemo finds Lady Luck at last and punters get $12

Captain Nemo finally justified the faith of trainer Mark Dux when he out-toughed his rivals at Albion Park this evening.

But while Lincoln Farms’ five-year-old broke a near 11-month drought to win his eighth race in Queensland, rewarding his loyal supporters with a $12 dividend, it wasn’t an easy watch.

Despite enjoying his first good trip in many months, landing a perfect one-one sit, Captain Nemo looked to be labouring.

“I was a bit worried halfway down the back straight but I thought, no, he’ll get going again,” Dux said. “Travelling the way he does you’re never sure, but I knew he wouldn’t give up.”

And while many of his rivals started to struggle when the leader Midnight Calm threw in a 27.9 third quarter, Nemo kept grinding away for driver Grant Dixon and hit the line hard to get home in a head and head finish.

It was just like Dux had scripted the race, as Midnight Calm exploded through the first quarter in a sizzling 26.3, just the scenario he predicted could win the race for Nemo.

“They’ve gone silly early like I hoped and while Grant said he didn’t travel, he can do that. And I knew how well he’d been racing.

“I might have been sounding like a broken record, saying how well he was going running fifth, sixth, but all his times were good, even last week.

Captain Nemo, second from left, is reeling in the favourite Offyarocka Crocker near the finish. PHOTO: Dan Costello.Captain Nemo, second from left, is reeling in the favourite Offyarocka Crocker near the finish. PHOTO: Dan Costello.“In the last 12 months the times in our state have got faster and faster and if you don’t have a reasonable run, you don’t win. A lot of the free-for-allers here don’t win either with bad trips.

“Nemo’s good enough to race the better ones but he’ll still need the right trip.”

Dux said while Nemo’s forte always appeared to be toughness, he also has the speed necessary to compete at a higher level.

“You never really see it in a race, he gets off the bit and you don’t want to keep chasing him, but he has good speed and can break 13 for a furlong at home.”

Nemo’s mile rate today of 1:52.3 for the 1660 metres confirmed he had a solid future, Dux said, especially given the track was a little off after hours of rain.

Different bit

Dux said he might try Nemo in a different bit to see if it helped him travel any better. He’s had the same mouthgear since he first arrived in Queensland in June, 2021 when he used to be too keen and hung so badly he was almost impossible to steer.

But Dux said he was reluctant to explore Dixon’s suggestion that he use block blinkers with eyes.

“The last time I did that he cut off his wind and choked down.”

Nemo had come a long way since then, however, and gelding him in April had turned him into a more genuine competitor.

“I always knew he had the ability. And all his runs this time in have been good, barring the one time we used him too much in the running.

“You can do that down in the grades but it knocks him around too much when they’re going faster. Most horses can’t sit parked now.”

Dux said Nemo was looking terrific, with a real coppery coat and, given a trip like this evening, there was no reason he couldn’t repeat the dose next Tuesday when he should be in a similar class race, up to rating 75.

After that he plans to move the horse up to Saturday opposition.

The Captaintreacherous-Arden Caviar gelding, raced by Lincoln Farms’ owners John and Lynne Street, Gareth Paddison, the Green Machine Racing Syndicate, Grant Dickey, Peter Dougherty and Ian Middleton, has now won 13 of his 84 starts, five in New Zealand for $54,922 and eight in Queensland for A$72,027.

Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them

Mark Dux

Mark Dux’s comments

Tuesday night at Albion Park

Race 4: Tommy Lincoln
9.37pm NZ time

“It was a nice run on opening night considering he’d had only two trials leading in and, for an inkling, Mathew (Neilson) thought he had a sneaky hope of catching the winner. It’s going to get harder from here for Tommy because the longer trips don’t suit him as much. We can’t cross Spirit Of St Louis on Tuesday, he’ll lead, but we’ve got to come out a little bit as Tommy isn’t the kind of horse you can drag back. We’ll roll out, play it by ear, and hope for some cover. It would be nice to finish top five and keep our points up.”

Race 9: Captain Nemo
12.31pm NZ time

“He was KOed into a break 900 metres out last week but we know he’s going well so with average luck he’ll be right there. It could be a tricky race though because there doesn’t look to be much speed so there might not be a lot of pressure. We’ll drive him quietly early but if they’re going too slowly we might have to make something happen at some stage and put him in the race. He’d be better off outside the leader if they walk.”

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Thursday night at Cambridge

Race 6: Major Achievement

“He had no chance from a bad draw last time at Cambridge but I can’t fault what he’s been doing at the workouts since (winning twice). He should get a good trip from the pole and has to be a chance to get some money.”

Race 6: Beaudiene Rocknroll

“He hasn’t raced since September, when he got worked up after a false start and choked down, so you’d think he’d need the run. He was also only just OK at the workouts last Friday. He tied up on us last time in so he’s had his issues.”

Race 6: Obadiah Dragon


Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Friday night at Auckland

Race 2: Leo Lincoln

“I’ve put blinds on him because he seemed to switch off after he got to the front last week. They went 2:41.7 and it was only his second run for a while so he probably needed it too.”

Race 3: My Copy

“Six is a tricky draw so he’ll need luck. But you can’t fault anything he’s done this time in and he made up good ground last start. This field is a lot easier.”

Race 3: Onyx Shard

“She’s had no chance with the draws and trips she’s been getting. From the outside she’s going to struggle to get a decent run again but hopefully she’ll finish on well.”

Race 6: Lincoln River

“He’s such a little pro I think he’ll manage the step up in class. He lacks a bit of high speed but makes up for it by being very rugged. He’s drawn to get a good trip.”

Race 6: Simply Sam

“He was held up in the run home last time and a blood I took off him showed he was also slightly tied up which explains his lack of enthusiasm at the finish. I’m hoping he’s better this week and, with his speed, if he’s sitting on River’s back you’d expect him to roll over the top of him.”

Mark Dux

Mark Dux’s comments

Saturday night at Albion Park

Race 3: Tommy Lincoln
10.14pm NZ time

“I thought his run on Tuesday was OK. He’s drawn similarly (in four) on Saturday night and it would be nice if he didn’t get shuffled back this time. We’ll come out and play it by ear. I know it’s not his best distance but we’ll just see how he runs the trip out.”

Race 9: Argyle
1.27am NZ time

“I thought he could have won last week if he’d stayed parked. He’ll need luck to win this week but he’s a realistic place chance. Aardies Flash looks the winner from the inside. He’s a nicer than average three-year-old. He can run a bit of time and if he puts the handlebars down I’d prefer not to be parked this time.”

Whales Harness