Ray makes good cases for both Sam and Frankie to push the faves on Thursday night
Trainer Ray Green is tipping both Simply Sam and Frankie Major as winning chances in the main pace at Alexandra Park on Thursday night.
Only six horses line up in the last race over 2200 metres with Frankie Major up in grade and having his first try from a stand, and Simply Sam out to resurrect his excellent form line after an unlucky last-start eighth.
Green makes good cases for both pacers - Frankie with a bit more sharp speed than Sam, but Sam having a little more strength, being a year older.
Green believes Simply Sam could have beaten Dontstopmenow last start had he not copped interference in the run home which first saw him lock wheels and checked into a break then have to be angled out again 50 metres out.
“He sprinted quite quickly when clear the last bit, better than most,” Green said.
The horse’s late surge carried him within three lengths of winner Dontstopmenow, who capitalised on a perfect trail, and his closing sectionals of 55.5 and 27.5, despite being hampered, were right up with his recent efforts.
“I’m quite confident he’ll go another good race and it wouldn’t surprise me if he won.”
Green said while a southern campaign had been mooted for the horse, with the Kaikoura Cup then the junior free-for-all on trotting cup day, in the end the likely financial bottom line dictated his staying home.
“He wasn’t going to beat Akuta and it’s an expensive exercise taking horses down there. It just didn’t make sense for the purses he would have been racing for.
“It’s a hard trip too and he would have come back a tired horse.
“We were also negotiating a sale but it fell through.”
Green said Frankie Major’s fans, who have cleaned up with his two recent wins, shouldn’t discard him on Thursday just because he rises sharply in grade.
When Frankie surged round the field at Auckland last time he was going past rating 46 to 54 opposition, but he meets horses rated 56 to 73 this time.
“But I rate him right up with those other horses. He’s getting stronger as he gets older and is in lifetime best form. He’s not out of this at all.”
Green is confident Frankie will handle his first standing start after 33 races.
“He’s such a good gaited horse I can’t see it being a problem.”
Green was happy enough with the way the three-year-old performed in a standing 2500 metre workout at Pukekohe last Saturday when he was slightly hesitant but moved away safely before downing a fast-closing Simply Sam and Jethro Bodine.
“Zac knows the horse well and I’m sure he’ll be all right.”
Green said he doubted anything would “go berserk” in front in a small field and, if Frankie got the right trip, without being used early, he’d be right in the finish.
Butcher will be having just his third drive on My Copy in the seventh race on Thursday night and Green is looking forward to seeing how he plays it.
“So far we haven’t really used him out of the gate. It will be interesting to see what Zac decides to do from the two draw.”
Green rates My Copy a serious winning chance after his unlucky last start fifth when held up in heavy traffic turning for home and only really clear over the last 75 metres.
Despite that, My Copy finished only 2.6 lengths from Frankie Major, sprinting home in 55.9 and 27.1.
Lincoln River’s 554567 form line might look ordinary but he’s racing much better than that would suggest, says Green.
“He’s going quite well. I’m pleased with him. He’s just had no luck.”
Drawn nine, seven and nine in his last three starts, Lincoln River comes in to four this week.
“He doesn’t have huge gate speed but I’d like to see him not get parked. I’ve got no doubt he’ll win one soon - and it wouldn’t surprise me if it was on Thursday. He just needs the right trip.”
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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.”