Ray: It’s a lottery on Friday night and my trio will need a lot of luck from their poor draws
The barriers draws have gone against Lincoln Farms’ three-year-olds in Friday night’s Northern Stakes at Auckland, a race which trainer Ray Green says will be decided by luck.
With Sires’ Stakes Final placegetters Copy That ($4.80) on the inside of the second row, Line Up ($7.50) on the outside of the front row and late-bloomer Hampton Banner ($151) in five, it’s hard to label any as good things.
Compounding the problem is the presence of three of the All Stars’ battalion, the ultra consistent Flying Even Bettor ($7.50), Sires’ Stakes winner One Change ($2.70) and last season’s Young Guns hero Smooth Deal ($4.80).
Add in Barry Purdon’s well drawn Bad To The Bone ($6.50), who looked very sharp when flashing home at the weekend workouts, and Robert Dunn’s pair Down To The Bone ($15) and Mighty Looee ($81), and the stage is set for a real humdinger.
“No one horse stands over the others,” says Green. “It will be the one which gets the best run that wins. We just need a bit of luck.
“Line Up will have to go back from eight and Copy That is at the mercy of the one in front of him.
“But if they don’t get the breaks, it’s not the end of the world. The Alabar Stakes next week is the more important race and it’s worth twice the money ($50,000).”
While Copy That and Line Up have not raced since the Sires’ Stakes Final at Addington on November 12, Green says they’re both right up to the mark.
“They both trialled very well last Saturday, are in good shape, and should go well.”
Hampton Banner, while an improver, had yet to meet a field of this quality, so was just on the watch list.
Thrown in the deep end
Green admits he’s thrown The Empress ($151, $19) in the deep end in the following race, the $30,000 Northern Breeders’ Stakes.
“But she has to front up sooner or later. You don’t get better than Belle Of Montana but this mare isn’t the worst in there.
“She has a bit of gate speed so should be able to stay handy from one and if she could finish in the first four of five I’d be very pleased.”
Green says you can put the line through the last-start flop of The Empress who was expected to win the 3200 metre race at Cambridge on Melbourne Cup day but was very disappointing in fourth, later found to have a virus.
The Empress had a solid pipe opener at the Pukekohe workouts last Saturday, showing gate speed to lead, and finishing a close fourth behind talented types in Need You Now, Bad To The Bone and Mighty Looee in a fast 1:59.5 mile rate.
Green is hoping Ace Commander ($26, $6, race 5) used up all his bad luck last Friday night when blocked throughout the run home at Auckland.
One out and three back in the running, Ace Commander was first held up behind Kapai early in the home stretch then ran into the back of Safrakova.
“Blair (Orange) had to virtually stand him on his ear and he said afterwards he thought he could have been right in it.
“He’s been feeling good this week and will go well with the right trip.”
It will be Ace Commander’s third race since an operation to fix his entrapped epiglottis and he showed he had not lost his speed with a sharp workout win on November 16 - beating Havehorsewilltravel, Forget The Price Tag and Circus Boy, all rivals on Friday night.
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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.”