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Nandor finds his mojo on the provincials but bad draw makes it harder on Thursday

Don’t expect to see Franco Nandor back racing at Auckland any time soon after he fell in to score at Palmerston North yesterday.

Trainer Ray Green, who will back the horse up on the second night of the meeting on Thursday, says the result shows the three-year-old is best suited to provincial racing.

“We’ve found the level at which he’s most competitive and hopefully he can get some money again on Thursday, but it will be a lot harder from the second line.”

Franco Nandor moves from two on the front line, from where he was able to find the lead on the first day, to three on the second row in the sixth race.

From there it will be up to driver Zachary Butcher to try to find an economical trip for the horse on the turning Manawatu circuit.

“I’m not sure what his problem is but he gets very nervous and stressed out,” says Green.

“Sometimes it’s like he’s decided he doesn’t want to be a racehorse. Zac said he felt enormous at the top of the lane but was looking to get out of it soon afterwards.”

To his credit, Franco Nandor didn’t throw it away completely and at the line held a half head margin over Mac’s Tomado, who sat parked throughout and lost crucial ground on the home turn through pacing roughly.

Franco Nandor’s win was the second for Lincoln Farms’ owners John and Lynne Street and their partners in the horse, top golfer Ryan Fox, Denis Ebert, Steve MacDonald, Chris Prutton and Wayne Seebeck.

In slushy conditions Franco Nandor clocked a mile rate of 2:03.6 for the 2000 metres, closing in 59.2 and 30.1.

Green credits the wet track with helping Brian Christopher into second in the last race as he only had to run home his last 800 metres in 61.4.

“He doesn’t have a lot of speed and the wet track probably brought the faster ones back to his level.”

Brian Christopher, having only his second race and first for four and a half months, enjoyed a nice run through from the second row to score the early one-one but was soon left parked out.

The Bettors Delight three-year-old hit the lead just before turning for home and kept battling away, swamped late by the stronger finishing Nerano.

On Thursday, in the third race, he lands a better draw of two, from where he should get a much easier trip and be able to stay in touch.

While limited, Green says Brian Christopher is honest and he’s hoping he can be in the finish again.

Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Friday night at Cambridge

Race 3: Lincoln Lou
6.39pm

“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
7.31pm

“I won’t be holding my breath. He tries hard enough but he lacks a bit of high speed.”

Race 8: Onyx Shard
8.55pm

“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
8.55pm

“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
8.55pm

“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
9.22pm

“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

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.”

Dan Costello Race Photography