Nathan’s not just hailing a cab - he’s catching a flight to make sure he can drive Simply Sam
Trainer Ray Green is hoping Simply Sam flies at Ballarat on Friday night because that’s exactly what his driver will have to do just to make the start line.
Top driver Nathan Jack has six drives at Wagga, 540km away, earlier in the day and handles his last one at the Riverina Raceway at 5.52pm NZ time.
With a driving time of five and a half hours between the two tracks, and Simply Sam’s race carded for 11pm NZ time, Jack would have no chance of arriving in time.
But Green was comforted to hear this afternoon that Jack will be flying back to Melbourne after his last drive before catching a car ride for the 117km trip to Ballarat, an hour and a half away.
Simply Sam is the only engagement at Ballarat for Jack, who has been contracted to drive all Lincoln Farms’ team during the Victorian campaign, Copy That in particular.
“These boys are keen, all right,” said Green of the effort Jack is making on Friday. “But I’m expecting it to be worth it for him.
“I think he’ll go very well. I can’t imagine him going badly.”
Simply Sam, winner of five of his last seven starts, has only five three-year-olds opposing him in the A$15,000 Holloway Classic. And, on paper, there’s only one danger, Captain Ravishing, who is a rating 56 horse, all of 20 points inferior to Simply Sam but highly spruked by his connections.
The Captaintreacherous colt made headlines winning his first two starts at Melton last December and January and breaking the three-year-old track record for 1720 metres with a mile rate of 1:52.5.
While only fourth in the Caduceus Classic, second in a NSW Derby heat and last in the final, he still impressed top reinsman Anthony Butt with his beautiful gait.
Captain Ravishing has since moved from Ahmed Taiba’s stable to the top barn of Emma Stewart where he is reported to be working the house down in preparation for his first start in six months.
“I hear he’s pretty good but we can’t be worried about any of the others,” Green said. “We’ve got the class horse in the field and while he hasn’t raced for nearly two months he trialled nicely behind Copy That back home.”
Allowed only to run home from the back that day, Simply Sam gave driver Zachary Bucher a good feel and was just a neck, half a head and two and a half lengths behind Copy That, Taipo and Major Perry, a smart first-up winner last week.
Simply Sam last raced on July 15 when he exploded round the field six wide turning for home at Auckland and powered home to beat Zarias and Riverman Sam in the Winter Cup (2700m).
His record reads five wins and three placings from 11 starts for John and Lynne Street and their partners Kim Miller, Robert and Donna Best, Priscilla Edmunds, the Red and Blue Syndicate and the Green Machine Racing Syndicate.
He is being aimed at the A$200,000 Victoria Derby on October 8.
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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.”