Louie The Punter should go well again for Zachary Butcher at Auckland on Friday night.

Poor draws dent Ray’s confidence at Auckland but, given some luck, his trio are all chances

Bad draws prevent trainer Ray Green from labelling any of Lincoln Farms’ three runners at Auckland on Friday night but he says any of the trio can be right in the finish given a reasonable trip.

Louie The Punter draws worst of the three, on the outside of the gate in the last race, but Green was taken by his fresh-up run at Cambridge last week and is expecting another good effort.

Green’s confidence in the horse’s chances saw him backed in from $13 to $5 and at the post it was only the cruel photo finish camera which robbed his supporters.

Forced to do plenty of early work from the inside of the second row, driver Zachary Butcher made an early play to get off the markers and then had to burn plenty of petrol down the back straight to cross to the front.

Had it not been for more pressure from an attacker 1200 metres from home, Louie The Punter surely would have lasted but he was running on empty when the trailing favourite Montana Storm challenged him up the passing lane and got a half head decision.

Green knows Louie will have to run faster than the 2:45.9 he posted at Cambridge but says he doesn’t think that will stop the horse.

“It was a big run at Cambridge and he seems to have trained on well.

Ray Green … Louie The Punter is the best horse in the race and just needs a reasonable trip.Ray Green … Louie The Punter is the best horse in the race and just needs a reasonable trip.“He’s the best horse in the field and just needs a reasonable trip. I doubt he could do an overland trip but if he gets any kind of a run he’ll be right in it.”

Louie The Punter had been showing good gate speed at the workouts and trials, giving Butcher the option of pushing the go button at the start.

That’s a weapon which Smokinhotcheddar (race three) doesn’t possess so Green says driver Maurice McKendry won’t be spending any chips early from five.

“She’s not brilliant off the gate but I expect her to go another good race. She never goes a bad one but has had a lot of bad draws.”

Last start Smokinhotcheddar drew one the second row and quickly became buried, ending up five deep and last 600 metres out.

Unable to secure a run, McKendry had to wait until 80 metres from home to try the mare.

“It was only in the last 100 metres that she started to wind up so she was definitely a victim of circumstances.”

Smokinhotcheddar had zero luck in her previous two outings also, parked each time.

“She’s going well but she has to get a good trip.”

Tartan Robyn careers away at Cambridge and could have done another lap according to driver Maurice McKendry. PHOTO: Angelique Bridson.Tartan Robyn careers away at Cambridge and could have done another lap according to driver Maurice McKendry. PHOTO: Angelique Bridson.The same applies to Tartan Robyn (race six) who finally broke his northern duck when taken south to Cambridge where he annihilated his opposition. Never in danger after McKendry found the top 1700 metres out, he careered away to a four length win, clocking 2:40.3 with a sizzling 55.8 last half.

“Maurice said he could have gone another lap.

“The draw’s not too bad (two the second row) and it’s not a big field but it will be harder for him going right handed as he tends to lose ground on the corners that way round.

“Still, he’s never gone bad and all his races have been run in fast times.”

Tartan Robyn is scheduled to fly to Melbourne on April 28 to continue his career for owners Merv and Meg Butterworth in the leading stable of Kerryn Manning.

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.”

Dan Costello Race Photography