Ray down to only two guns but both Platinum Stride and Captain Nemo have bullets to fire
A slight sniffle will keep Bondi Shake out of the first Young Guns’ heat at Auckland on Friday night but trainer Ray Green expects Platinum Stride and Captain Nemo to be right in the fight.
Green had been aiming for a three-pronged assault on the opening two-year-old contest but he treated Bondi Shake for a minor virus earlier in the week.
However, with Platinum Stride ($41) in gate two and Captain Nemo ($41) in five, Green suggests there’s even a chance his pair could lead and trail.
Platinum Stride has shown any amount of zip in his preparatory workouts and, with leading horseman Anthony Butt in the cart, will get his chance to set the tempo.
Captain Nemo also surprised driver Zachary Butcher with the amount of early gas he had in a special workout on the course last Tuesday, declaring he could have led by anything had he asked the horse to run.
“Obviously it’s different in a race - there could be three or four with designs on the lead - but both have the ability to lead,” says Green.
“I expect them both to be very competitive. The two-year-olds look a pretty even bunch this year, there’s no real standout yet.”
While the Lincoln Farms trio bowed to southerner Vincent Van Gone in their latest workout at Auckland, Butt reported Platinum Stride was only just getting warmed up at the line.
The Captaintreacherous colt, who cost big spending Australian Emilio Rosati $82,500 at NZ Bloodstock’s Christchurch yearling sale, has been one of the most precocious of the Lincoln Farms babies from the start.
Captain Nemo, also by Captaintreacherous and a $110,000 buy for Lincoln Farms’ John Street, looked a little green last week, Butcher reporting his hopples needed tightening up and that he didn’t seem to know what to do after cruising to the lead in the run home.
Their main rivals trialled three days later and while the first two home were the All Stars’ pair of First Class and It’s All About Faith, the eye-catching run came from the Cran Dalgety and Nathan Purdon-trained Krug who thundered home for third.
Krug demolished the other pair at the cup trials at Addington last month and, even from gate seven on Friday night, is the one to beat.
Green will give new recruit Classie Reactor his chance in the opening race on Friday, where he lines up the highest equal rated runner for his first race in the north.
He gets the worst draw of eight in the rating 47 to 59 event, not an easy task over a mile at Alexandra Park.
The winner of two of his five starts, Classie Reactor will be having only his second run for owner Merv Butterworth after a spell of 16 months and Green says “whatever he does, he will improve on.”
Classie Reactor looked a likely type, however, when he powered home for a close third to star pacer Self Assured at the weekend workouts.
“He could have pulled up a bit better that day but he trained not bad yesterday,” says Green.
“He feels like he’s got a bit of speed but we’ll find out on Friday.”
More news in Harness
Better draw will help Frisco but Ray’s quartet for Friday all in early stages of new prep
Argyle salutes at last and Mark confident he’ll keep the till ticking over in the next grade
Unlucky Argyle deserves to be rewarded at Albion Park tonight - just no bad luck please
Ray looking forward to Lincoln Lou and fully oxygenated Frisco Bay at Cambridge on Friday
Our runners this week
Saturday night at Albion Park
Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them
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.”