Ray expecting Lincoln Farms pair to go well - but Ashburton isn’t Grand Final day
Copy That and American Dealer have settled in well to their new surroundings in Christchurch but trainer Ray Green isn’t setting the bar too high for their assignments at Ashburton on Monday.
Green says he’ll be happy just to see the pair go well in their final prep races for the $540,000 New Zealand Cup and $150,000 Sires’ Stakes Final.
But with cup favourites Self Assured and Spankem in the Flying Stakes and hot favourite Krug in the final Sires’ Stakes heat, Green says he will get a good guide as to where his charges sit in the pecking order.
Green reports American Dealer was a bit unsettled when he first arrived at Ken Barron’s Toliman Lodge in West Melton last Thursday.
“We had no dramas on the flight. The little fella was a bit stressed out for the first couple of days, excited and worried - but it’s his first time away from home.
“And they’re both good now, eating and drinking well.”
Green gave the pair quiet runs yesterday, American Dealer bowling around behind a couple of Barron’s horses, but not asked for anything serious.
“They should be as sharp as last time they raced which was only a couple of weeks ago.”
From the pole, Green expects American Dealer to secure a perfect trip.
“It’s hard to know what the others will do but we get out well enough to be handy. In these small fields they often walk and sprint home.
“He’s already qualified for the final so there’s no urgency - we don’t have to win it.”
On form, if American Dealer doesn’t lead for David Butcher he’ll trail It’s All About Faith, drawn alongside him in two.
Just when Krug, drawn the outside of the gate, makes his move is impossible to predict, driver Blair Orange sure to have options with only a small field to get round.
Green expects Orange to settle midfield when he reunites with Copy That in the Flying Stakes.
“There are a few against Copy That who are more experienced from a stand. He steps better than some and not as well as others, so I see him midfield.
“He’s never gone away badly from a stand - he’s always reasonable and safe - so he shouldn’t be far off them when they settle.
“But it’s a small field so even if he’s last in the running he won’t be far away.”
Green isn’t fazed by the fact Copy That meets the might of the All Stars, whose arsenal of Self Assured and Spankem has been strengthened with the arrival of Ashley Locaz, back from a Brisbane campaign.
“I saw Ashley Locaz at Pukekohe before I came down and he looks excellent.
“Copy That took care of them comfortably in Auckland - he’s clearly better than the ones up north - but it’s a different ball game down here.
“I’m not expecting too much from him on Monday. It would be nice to win it but it won’t be a disaster if he doesn’t. So long as he goes well, I’ll be happy.”
More news in Harness
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
Why Lincoln Farms had to buy lot 68 - his older brother Lincoln Lou is ready to rock
At last, Argyle gets the pole on Saturday night and Mark reckons it’s his big chance to salute
Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them
Friday night at Cambridge
Race 3: Lincoln Lou
“He’s a beautiful little horse and I’m looking forward to seeing him run. It’s hard to know how good he is, or how far he’ll go, but I guess we’ll find out on Friday. He’s the one to beat from the draw. If he doesn’t win, he won’t be far away.”
Race 5: Commander Lincoln
“I won’t be holding my breath. He tries hard enough but he lacks a bit of high speed.”
Race 8: Onyx Shard
“It’s two and a half months since she last raced, and she didn’t grow as much as I thought she would, but I’m expecting her to go a good race. Her last two trials have been good and she’s pulled up well.”
Race 8: Obadiah Dragon
“He’ll need a good trip from five but he’s not out of it. He went a good race last time at Cambridge and would be as equal a chance as Onxy Shard.”
Race 8: Beaudiene Rocknroll
“It’s heart-in-the-mouth stuff with him until they let them go but he should step away this time. Zac (Butcher) said the gate went particularly slowly before that race and that’s why he got impatient. I thought he did well to recover for third. If he made the front, where he goes best, he’d be hard to beat.”
Race 9: Frisco Bay
“He’s a tidy horse and I’m expecting a big run. We’ve sorted the problem he had with his breathing last season and he’s right in the zone now after a second and a win at the workouts.”
Mark Dux’s comments
Saturday night at Albion Park
Race 5: Argyle
11.02pm NZ time
“It wouldn’t have mattered where he drew this week, he’s in the money, barring bad luck. He’s going terrific and he gets in so well at the ratings.”