One bet Ray plumps for Recco Lover, the ace draw his ace in the hole at Auckland
If he was forced to back only one of his horses on Friday night, trainer Ray Green knows which one he’d put his money on - Recco Lover.
Green lines up five horses at two venues this week, Recco Lover, Make Way and Trojan Banner at Alexandra Park, and Northview Hustler and Beaudiene Western at Addington.
Recco Lover might look to be badly off in the seventh race at Auckland, a rating 60 horse in a rating 60 to 84 field, but Green says that’s misleading.
“This horse has serious ability - he’d be quite competitive against faster horses - and he’s down in grade now.
“He’s been right up to better horses at the trials and even though he’s not as tractable as On The Cards yet he’d have given him a fright last week if he’d been handier.
“On The Cards had them by the throat a long way from home but Recco got home over the top quite well and all the best sectionals in the race were his.’’
Recco Lover was timed to run the fastest mile rate of 1:58.9, with his last 800 metres in 56.1 and 400 in 27.5.
Green sees Recco Lover’s gate one draw as a real plus on Friday night and hopes driver David Butcher will be able to take advantage of it.
“I wouldn’t mind even if he led, being in front is an advantage in a big field.’’
Make Way meets easier opposition than the Sires’ Stakes heat he contested last week but will have to overcome the extreme outside gate in the fourth race.
Green doesn’t see that as an insurmountable task, given the horse’s ability, and doubts driver Zachary Butcher will try to wrest control form the gun.
“But he sat parked most of the way in the Sires’ Stakes heat and even if he had to do that again he’d be right there.
“He’s a nice, relaxed horse who keeps running and the extra distance on Friday will suit him better - it was only a mile last week.’’
Green isn’t quite sure yet what to make of driver Andre Poutama’s report last week that the horse felt strong and like a winner turning for home but seemed to drop the bit late.
“He’s still a green horse but if he was to do that again we might try pull-down blinds, that might inspire him.’’
Make Way also won time honours last week, pacing his last mile in 1:56.6 and 800 metres in 55.3.
Rival and stablemate Trojan Banner hasn’t been served well in the draw either, on the inside of the second line, from where Green says he is at the mercy of fresh runner Ideal Star in front of him.
“But if he was to get a handy trip, he’s always a chance. So far he’s been roaring home from the back.
‘He’s getting closer to a win and I’d like to think he’ll be a bit better on Friday.’’
Tough assignments at Addington
Green is under no illusions over the task facing Northview Hustler in the eighth race at Addington where he meets, among others, cup favourites Ultimate Machete and Dream About Me.
But drawn one on 10 metres, Green says Northview Hustler could easily work into a striking position.
“He’s in a tough field, which is good, because he needs a good hitout before the cup, but if things go his way he could get some of it.
“He was quite dehydrated at Ashburton. The vet said he still wasn’t right until this week, when he was treated again, but he’s thriving now.
“He’s not a brilliant horse but he can be quite dangerous with the right run. He’s beaten some serious horses in the last year just through being johnny-on-the-spot.’’
Beaudiene Western, similarly, faces a tough field in his final race before the $170,000 Sires’ Stakes Final at Addington on cup day.
Drawn the second row in race five, he comes up against six of the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen battalion, including favourite Jesse Duke.
Green says Beaudiene Western has been eating well and seems bouncy enough since his race at Ashburton and needs only a nice conditioning run on Friday night.
“He won’t be sent on any search and destroy mission this time. He’s not under any pressure to get into the final, those others are, and I’d like to see him just get a suck along and get home well.
“He’ll need to get a good trip anyway to get any of this.’’
More news in Harness
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Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them
Friday night at Auckland
Race 4: Copy That
“He’s certainly got some speed. The race was all over by the time he got going last week and James never pulled the plugs. Clearly he’s the best horse in the field on ability. But there are no guarantees he’ll behave.’’
Race 4: Tommy Lincoln
“He’s trialling well but I won’t be expecting too much from gate six. He was a big, gangly, weak thing but he’s strengthened up a lot this time in.”
Race 4: Billy Lincoln
“It’s his first race, and first time away from Pukekohe and he’s drawn the inside of the second row so logic tells you he has a few things against him. Until six weeks ago he was extremely average but he’s progressively got better and better.”
Race 8: Governor’s Bay
“He had a tough trip last time so it wasn’t surprising he weakened. He’s training well and this field looks a lot easier.”
Friday at Albion Park
Race 1: Lincoln’s Girl
2.42pm NZ time
“It’s not a bad field but she’s as good as anything else in there and looks a top two chance with a little luck from the second row. She went super last time - I didn’t know how brave she’d be when I saw her caught in the chair but Hayden was very happy with how she went.”
Race 9: Vasari
7.22pm NZ time
“He should get out a lot better this week with Hayden back driving and we’ll be trying to cross the pole marker. The horse is really well and he’ll win one soon. It’s a good line-up but he should run top three.’’
Saturday night at Menangle
Race 7: Lets Strike The Gold
10.22pm NZ time
“This is a difficlut race for him to win and I’ll be driving him quietly from that barrier. It’s been nearly nine months since he raced and he’s going to need a couple of runs to get his race fitness.”