Ray has Perfect Stride perfectly primed for the Breeders Crown - but he’s sad to see him go
“He’s a beautiful horse and I’m sorry to be losing him.”
It was with both pride and regret that Lincoln Farms’ trainer Ray Green greeted Perfect Stride and driver Zachary Butcher after their all-the-way win at Alexandra Park tonight.
The electric two-year-old, whose winning time of 1:56.1 was bettered only by Gladamare (1.55.1) on mile night, will be loaded onto a flight to Melbourne on Wednesday - and won’t be coming home.
Green can take some comfort from the fact he will still be the official trainer when Perfect Stride tackles the Breeders’ Crown series, starting at Shepparton on August 7.
But after the final at Melton on August 24, the little colt will continue his career in Australia for owner Emilio Rosati.
Perfect Stride will be joined on the flight by Lincoln Farms’ stablemate Zeuss Bromac, who will also tackle the Breeders Crown for Butcher and new owners.
The pair will initially enter the Bacchus Marsh stable of Craig Demmler, 50km outside Melbourne, and with Butcher committed to his own horse, the Perfect Stride drive will go to top Melton horseman Anthony Butt.
Green predicts Perfect Stride will do a great job in Australia.
“Those Aussies will be getting windburn,” he joked.
“Running in front like tonight isn’t really his go. He’s much more powerful coming off the pace as he’s got a lot of speed and acceleration.
“He’s a lovely horse and can only get better. It’s good to see one who cost a fair price justifying the money.”
A younger brother of pin-up West Australian pacer Chicago Bull, the Bettor’s Delight colt cost Rosati $190,000 as a yearling in Christchurch, bought on the recommendation of Green.
Tonight’s win was the third of his freshman season and satisfied Green that he would be leaving his Pukekohe stable in tip top order.
While it might have appeared that Perfect Stride was all out to hold All Yours and Mattie White at the line, his winning margin only half a neck, Butcher revealed the colt was just up to his old trick of knocking off once the job was done.
“He always does that when he’s front,” Butcher said.
“He was flicking his ears and it never felt like the other horse would get me. And when it did get close, mine took off again.”
Without being put under too much pressure, Perfect Stride sizzled over his last 800 metres in 56.7 and 400 in 27.3.
Green was happy enough with the run for seventh in the same race by Better My Dreamz who was having his first run in the north for owner Merv Butterworth.
“He just lacks fitness,” said Green. “He needed that run and will probably need another.”
The three-year-old also got down on his off hind bumper and got in on one rein, according to driver Andre Poutama.
Said Green: “He’d never raced this way round before and we’ll need to gear him up a bit better next time. He needs a pole.”
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.”