Mark’s solid trio: Nemo, Tommy and resuming Argyle all solid chances on Saturday night
Brisbane trainer Mark Dux takes his full complement of Lincoln Farms horses to the races on Saturday night, all three with good winning chances.
Captain Nemo gets into a winnable race with a claiming junior at the helm, Tommy Lincoln, beaten by a flat tyre last start, draws to possibly lead his event and Argyle resumes as the highest rated runner in his race after a nice quiet lead-in trial.
Dux says Captain Nemo, who opens the batting in the second, is in the race “up to his ears” after a much better run than most would appreciate on March 10.
Though he ran last, Nemo was a $151 outsider after drawing badly, and Dux was quite happy with his performance.
“It was basically a non-event for him - he went back and followed them round - and I thought he went a nice race.
“He ran the fastest middle half in 56.28 and fastest second quarter in 29.02 then was wide for the last quarter and still clocked 1:52.68.”
Dux has engaged Jonah Hutchinson, 23, on Saturday night, an in-form claimer who has 143 winners to his credit. This season from 118 drives he has racked up 19 winners, a good 16% strike rate.
“From the good alley I think he’ll run off the gate and race handy and then he’s in with a great chance.”
Dux says where the horse lands in the running will depend on what the two inside him do, both with enough speed to hold forward positions.
“At worst I expect he’ll be outside the leader and there’s no reason why he can’t be in the money from there.
“He’s tough, he’s done well since the run and he’s definitely a winning chance.”
Tommy Lincoln draws two in the fourth race, against the likes of Turn It Up, Mach Da Vinci and Northview Hustler, but Dux believes he has a strong chance.
“You can put a pencil line through that last run when he got a flat tyre 300 metres out (when contacted by Governor Jujon).
“He would have been in the money for sure without that - when you’re running those fast sectional times and you get a flat, you’re history. He pulled up straight after the line because the tube had wrapped round the wheel.”
Dux believes another incident just before the start might also have played against Tommy.
“He always stands with the clerk of the course and when he turned to go in behind the mobile he hit the clerk and it knocked his Murphy blind down. The clerk had to grab it and clip it back on and by that time the mobile had started to roll.
“He had to chase them and I don’t think he left the gate as well as he usually does. He’s better off if he starts right on the gate.”
That will be crucial on Saturday night as, from two on the gate, Dux would like to see Tommy try for the top.
“I’m not sure if he’ll cross Targaryen as it has a bit of speed but, if he does, I think he’s a really good hope.”
Dux says he won’t give any instructions to driver Mathew Neilson.
“It might be best if he just slides out and lobs where he lobs. If he crosses the one horse that would be great but if you rev him up too much he can get a bit keen. If you don’t, he’ll relax wherever he lands.”
Argyle is sure to be well supported in the fifth race as the highest rated runner and with Victorian form behind him.
The Bettor’s Delight four-year-old accompanied Copy That to Melbourne last September when he won and ran second in four starts.
And he looked to be in for a good innings when, first-up in Queensland on November 12, he finished second in a Group III race.
But Argyle was spelled after a minor injury and, given plenty of time to get over it, he did not reappear until March 3 when trialled at Albion Park.
Driven quietly, Argyle finished on well for second to Mr McLaren, who franked the form winning at Albion Park on Tuesday in a 1:53.9 mile rate.
While the last 400 of the trial was only 29.2, Dux says times were slow all day due to a strong head-wind and the leader still clocked a closing 800 in 56.6.
“I was more than happy with the run but we’ll drive him conservatively first-up and let him hit the line, that will tighten him right up.
“If he happened to get the right trip he’d be in the money no doubt, and most likely beat them, but we don’t want to kill him first-up.
“We’ve never used him off the gate either and a couple inside him have gate speed so I think we’ll drive him quietly.”
Nathan Dawson, who handled Argyle in his first Brisbane race, and also in his trial, will be in the cart again.
“All three horses are great winning chances but it will all come down to a bit of luck,” Dux said.
More news in Harness
Better draw will help Frisco but Ray’s quartet for Friday all in early stages of new prep
Argyle salutes at last and Mark confident he’ll keep the till ticking over in the next grade
Unlucky Argyle deserves to be rewarded at Albion Park tonight - just no bad luck please
Ray looking forward to Lincoln Lou and fully oxygenated Frisco Bay at Cambridge on Friday
Our runners this week
Saturday night at Albion Park
Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them
Friday night at Auckland
Race 2: Frisco Bay
“He obviously needed the run last week. He pulled his way round the field and sat outside the leader but he couldn’t cop a run like that first-up and got tired. The ability is there, whether he’s fit enough or not we’ll find out. But I expect him to go well, the three draw is much better than last week.”
Race 2: Lenny Lincoln
“He’ll probably need a race but he’s capable of running a slot. He’s unlucky not to have won a race, all three of his seconds were good. He’s got a bit better with each of his trials this time in and he got home well last Saturday, after coming widest on the turn.”
Race 3: Obadiah Dragon
“The way the race was run at Cambridge last week, his effort wasn’t bad at all. Moni (Monika Ranger) said he felt strong and, if he’d been a few slots closer, he would have been right in it. He’ll be improved for the run.”
Race 3: Leo Lincoln
“He’s very consistent - he’s only missed a couple of cheques. But he’s another just coming back and should improve with the run.”