Perfect Stride’s speed impresses Zac as three Lincoln Farms’ juveniles burn up the Park
“In time he could be one of the quickest horses I’ve driven.’’
A statement like that makes you immediately prick your ears - especially when it’s coming from talented reinsman Zachary Butcher about an raced two-year-old.
Butcher was talking to trainer Ray Green about Chicago Bull’s little brother Perfect Stride, just moments after he had his first spin around Alexandra Park on Friday night.
Perfect Stride didn’t even win the 1609 metre workout, but he was right alongside his stablemates Sir Tiger and Man Of Action with only heads separating them at the post.
“He’s hardly taken a breath,’’ Butcher noted as he wiped down the young colt. “He’s just jogged it.’’
Butcher was taken by the way Perfect Stride handled his first look at Auckland headquarters, taking no notice of the long shadows cast on the track.
“Being a Bettor’s Delight I thought he might have a good look at them but he went straight over them.
“And what I really liked is that he’s with you the whole time, a real professional. He came straight back to me off the gate.’’
That said, Perfect Stride isn’t quite perfect in every way just yet. When Butcher let the colt run 400 metres from home, he quickly gathered in Sir Tiger and Man Of Action - “he felt like he was going to run away by three lengths.’’
Instead, Perfect Stride pricked his ears, seemingly waiting for his playmates, and locked on one rein.
Butcher recommended Green try the colt in a boring pole and tongue tie.
“He might take a start or two to get his act together but he has serious raw ability,’’ Green said.
Andre Poutama was similarly impressed by the way heat winner Sir Tiger fought on up the home straight after over-racing in the lead.
“He got a bit keen in the run and didn’t come back to me, but he ran up the straight better than I thought he would. He hit the line real good and paced really well.’’
Poutama liked the way Sir Tiger seemed to want to compete with his rivals in the run home.
“And they’ve had a bit more ringcraft than he has - he’s come a long way in a short time.”
Tony Herlihy, who handled Man Of Action, said the gelding was having a good look round during the heat.
“He got a bit lost when I took him to the front,’’ said Herlihy, referring to Man Of Action’s swerve sideways on the bend out of the home straight.
“But for a big horse, he’s a nice mover.’’
The trio went to the line well held and paced the mile in 2:05.3 (under Auckland’s qualifying time of 2:06.1) with their closing sectionals in 61 and 28 flat.
“Mission accomplished,” said Green of the initial reconnoitre.
“The point of the exercise was to familiarise them with the territory. And they all went over the shadows nicely.’’
Green said Lincoln Farms’ two-year-olds would be better schooled than their northern rivals, very few having been spotted at the workouts in recent weeks.
“I don’t know where all the rest are. But they’ll be playing catch-up.
“Ours will have had plenty of miles in them before they race. We’re in good shape this year, we’ve got some tidy young horses. They’ll know we’re there.’’
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Friday night at Auckland
Race 2: Northview Hustler
“I’m a bit worried about him. He’s training OK but he’s not the horse he can be. He’s as light as I’ve ever seen him. He didn’t look himself in the preliminary last week either but I treated him after that. We’ll just have to see how he goes.”
Race 3: Trojan Banner
“His draw looks bad but if he can secure a nice run through behind Sezana he could end up getting a good trip and then should beat them. He’s been racing the bear cats recently and he’s trained particularly well this week.’’
Race 4: Make Way
“He just need some luck. He won’t leave the gate from out there, he’ll go back, but if he gets a drag into it at the right time, he’ll be the one to beat. He’s been racing the best of the best lately and this is a big drop in grade for him.”
Race 6: Zealand Star
“I was initially a bit disappointed in him last week until I saw the time he went. The mile this week will suit him and he just needs some luck from the draw. He’s not one you can put in the race so Andrew (Drake) will go back and try to get a suck up.’’
News in brief
TIGER GETS TIME STRIPES: Sir Tiger may have run only seventh in the Young Guns race at Auckland but you couldn’t fault him on the clock. He ran the equal fastest last half of 56.5 along with the winner Smooth Deal and was one tenth of a second faster over his last mile (1:57.1) than stablemate and runner-up Double Or Nothing. He was slightly back at the start after racing greenly in the score-up.
BYE BYE VINNIE: Vinibaka again showed he didn’t want to be a racehorse at Manawatu so now he isn’t. The four-year-old disappointed in all six starts and is now the galloping pacemaker for Pukekohe trainer James Stormont.
RUPERT STIFF: Lincoln Farms’ graduate Rupert Of Lincoln finished a desperately unlucky third at Ballarat on Tuesday night. Bottled up four deep on the markers, he flew late when finally clear. He has now racked up three wins and two placings from five starts since being sold to Merv Butterworth.
TWO ENTERED FOR CUP: Northview Hustler and Recco Lover are among 23 horses nominated for the $250,000 Auckland Cup on New Year’s Eve. The entries are: American Empress, Recco Lover, Tennyson Bromac, Classie American, Mach Shard, Triple Eight, Raptors Flight, Check In, Ashley Locaz, Turn It Up, On The Cards, Sheriff, Sicario, All U Need Is Faith, Northview Hustler, Pat’s Delight, Jack’s Legend, A G’s White Socks, Lets Elope, Elle Mac, Utmost Delight, Star Galleria, Dream About Me.