Louie The Punter … saying goodbye to New Zealand. PHOTO: Trish Dunell.

No more punting on Louie, Ray says enough’s enough and dispatches him to Brisbane

Louie The Punter will be on a flight to Australia in nine days, the latest victim of New Zealand’s crippling handicapping system.

And Lincoln Farms’ trainer Ray Green says he’s confident the horse can win some good money over there and remain competitive, a combination that’s impossible under the much maligned ratings scale here.

Green says there’s no future for Louie The Punter in this country and he’ll struggle to cope with the opposition in Friday night’s seventh race at Auckland, especially from gate five.

“He’s just been marking time here whereas in Australia he can be placed so much better, find his right level, and be a decent enough racehorse.”

Green says as soon as the Sweet Lou four-year-old scored at Cambridge two starts back he was virtually history in New Zealand.

For winning a $4950 stake, the horse went up seven ratings points to 58.

That meant that the following week, when entered at Cambridge again, the only race he could run in was the Cambridge Classic, where he was expected to compete against one of the fastest horses in the country, New Zealand Free-for-all winner South Coast Arden, who was a rating 103 horse.

Green naturally scratched his horse, as did others, leaving it a four-horse race.

Owners, increasingly racing uncompetitive horses, aren’t just scratching from races, they are opting out entirely. The imminent departure of Louie The Punter comes after one of the busiest months of sales overseas, one agent reporting the strongest demand in the last 10 years as Australia and America feel the pinch of smaller foal crops and look to New Zealand to compensate.

Louie The Punter’s exit also completes the sale or export to Australia of all Lincoln Farms’ horses over the age of three, Merv Butterworth’s New Zealand Cup winner Copy That aside.

Louie The Punter, who has won three of his 20 starts for John and Lynne Street and Glenn and Ann Cotterill, will be trained at Woongoolba in south-east Queensland by Mark Dux who prepares former stablemates Tommy Lincoln and Captain Nemo.

He will be joined on the flight by unraced two-year-old filly Tempting Tigress who has been bought from Kevin Pizzuto by leviathan owner Danny Zavitsanos.

Our runners this week

Saturday night at Albion Park


Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

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.”

Race Images - Harness