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 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.”