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Now Sir Lincoln is turning out sharp two-year-olds - buyers scramble for Cranbourne

Trainer Brent White was on his way home to Ashburton and hadn’t even made it to Temuka, 20 minutes up the road from Timaru racecourse, before his phone started ringing with inquiries to buy impressive pacer Cranbourne.

The Sir Lincoln two-year-old debuted against older horses in the ninth race at Timaru today, sent out favourite on the strength of some strong trials.

And while commentator Mark McNamara had a warning note in his voice as the horse appeared to be under pressure 800 metres out, eight lengths behind the leaders, his home stretch sprint for driver Stephen McNally was a real eye-catcher.

“This is going to be some sort of performance,’’ McNamara declared as the colt swept past the three leaders close to home to win by a length, going away, from another Sir Lincoln in four-year-old Peraki Lincoln.

The win came as no surprise to White, nor the agents who have been keeping a close eye on the two-year-old.

“He’s still green as grass, like a dumb school boy,’’ said White.

“But he’s a beautifully gaited horse who has real good speed and he can sustain it for a long time.’’

Trainer Brent White is predicting big things in Cranbourne’s future.Trainer Brent White is predicting big things in Cranbourne’s future.White says Cranbourne, who is a big, strong colt, has three-year-old written all over him.

“I think he’s got a big future as a three and four-year-old.’’

White knows it’s impossible to compare horses but he likens Cranbourne to Wesley Silcox, whom he mentored to his first two wins before he was sold to clients of Robert Dunn. The horse won eight of his first 12 starts.

White says Cranbourne has shown he has what it takes from the day he got him from the Christchurch yearling sale last year.

Picked on pedigree by part owner Ross Smith and liked on type on the day by another owner Ross McCutcheon, the son of Sir Lincoln and one race winner Classiealba cost just $6000, late on the second day of selling.

White recalls Natalie Gameson being keen for her partner Jamie to buy the horse because she liked him so much when preparing him for the sale.

“Everyone who has had anything to do with him has liked him, since he was a baby.

“He’s just a lovely colt and is such a good looking bugger.

“My son Tim has done 80 percent of the work with him and he always said he had a nice feel about him.’’

Cranbourne … beautifully gaited pacer who can sustain his speed.Cranbourne … beautifully gaited pacer who can sustain his speed.White gave the colt two workouts and two trials in December and January, before tipping him out to freshen up, suspecting he was getting tired.

And when he came back earlier this month, “thickened up really nicely” and was just pipped by Glenledi Chief in a mile trial, “he turned quite a few heads.’’

Now raced by Smith, McCutcheon and Barry Phillips, all from Temuka, Cranbourne is a real target for sale, one party in Melbourne particularly keen.

“I’m not a defeatist but you have to be practical. When he drops into a two-year-old race he’ll come up against Mark and Natalie’s good ones.’’

Cranbourne’s dam Classiealba might have won only once but his grand dam Lady Alba was a top performer for master trainer Charlie Hunter, winning 10 races, and all seven of her foals who have raced have won.

Among the winners in his pedigree are Awesome Alba (16 wins), Awesome Diamond (24 wins) and Lady’s Day (7 wins) who left Baptism Of Fire, dam of million dollar earner and now sire Highview Tommy.

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Sir Lincoln Top 10

Did you know…

1. CUP DAY BIRTH: It was preordained Sir Lincoln would be a headliner when he was born just hours before the 2006 New Zealand Trotting Cup at Addington. Three years later to the day, and almost the hour, he annihilated his rivals on the same course in the Sires’ Stakes Final.

2. AGE NO BARRIER: In his second last race start, at the age of six, Sir Lincoln paced the fastest 1700 metres in New Zealand history, 2:00.5, beating Gold Ace and clocking a mile rate of 1:54 at Alexandra Park. Champion pacer Elsu held the previous record at 2:01.1.

3. ON THREE LEGS: Sir Lincoln ran his last race virtually on three legs, when second to Terror To Love in an Interdominion heat at Auckland. He had to be pulled out of the Melbourne series, and retired, when found to have a subluxated pastern joint - basically his ankle joint was dislocated.

4. SWIFT GOLDEN MILE: Sir Lincoln’s fastest mile was recorded in the 2012 Group III Golden Mile at Menangle in Sydney when he was nosed out by Captain Joy in 1:51.4. He was known by the name Lincoln Royal in Australia.

5. AT THE REINS: One for the trivia fans - how many drivers did Sir Lincoln have in his 57-start career? Maurice McKendry was Linc’s pilot throughout his career but he was MIA four times when the horse was handled by James Stormont, Ken Barron and Blake Fitzpatrick (twice).

6. WINNERS KEEP COMING: In only his third season with runners on the track, Sir Lincoln has already sired the winners of 30 races despite having limited numbers to represent him. Last season in New Zealand alone he had 16 winners from only 39 starters and this term he already has six winners from just 18 starters.

7. SOMEBEACH SOME RAP: Breeding buffs made a beeline for Sir Lincoln after superstar racehorse and stallion Somebeachsomewhere had to be put down with cancer. Sir Lincoln is 7/8th bred on the same cross as Somebeachsomewhere - by Mach Three out of a Beach Towel mare who is in turn out of a Cam Fella mare.

8. DISCOUNT FOR LOYALTY: Broodmare owners are returning to Sir Lincoln in droves. Taken by the attractive foals he is leaving, many book straight back to the Alabar-based sire and take advantage of Lincoln Farms’ loyalty scheme which cuts his service fee in half to just $1250 plus GST.

9. TIME BEST FRIEND: Sir Lincoln’s progeny are mirroring the sire’s own start on the racetrack, benefitting from a little time to mature. The best the horse himself could manage as a two-year-old was one third from four starts but he was a different animal at three, winning four of his first five starts.

10. MEGASTAR’S FREAK DEATH: A freak accident claimed the life of valuable broodmare Lincoln’s Megastar, a full sister to Sir Lincoln. The mare, who opened her career with a nine and a half length walloping at Auckland, was retired after six wins, but left only one foal. She was killed when crushed by a fallen tree in a violent storm. Woodlands Stud has another full sister in two-year-old Moonlighting who is in training with Ray Green.