Platinum Stride has Challenger well covered last night with Vanquish Stride closing late for third. PHOTO: Peter Rubery.

Ray preparing five for final Young Guns heat but Platinum Stride could have them covered

Easy Friday night winner Platinum Stride could be joined by as many as four of his stablemates for the final Young Guns heat on February 28.

Lincoln Farms’ trainer Ray Green is hoping that Friday’s winner and third-placegetter Vanquish Stride will be joined by Jeff Beck and Franco Nandor, who both ran at today’s Pukekohe workouts, as well as Bondi Shake who is back in work and ready to trial next week.

But whether any of the newcomers will have enough game to test Platinum Stride in the final heat or the $100,000 Final on March 6 is debatable.

Zachary Butcher brings Platinum Stride back to scale. PHOTO: Peter Rubery.Zachary Butcher brings Platinum Stride back to scale. PHOTO: Peter Rubery.Driver Zachary Butcher told Green that Platinum Stride simply “cruised it” last night, his winning margin of a neck flattering Graeme Rogerson’s runner-up Challenger.

Happy to concede to Challenger early, Butcher cosied up in the trail on Platinum Stride and when he eased into the running line 600 metres out, the horse towed him up to the leader.

Platinum Stride quickly headed his rival in the run home and, according to Butcher, won easily.

“You couldn’t fault what he did,” says Green of the Captaintreacherous colt, owned by Sydney’s Emilio Rosati. “When Peter chased his one up (Peter Ferguson on Challenger), he got right up on the steel.”

Green was also taken by the debut performance of Vanquish Stride who ran on strongly late for third under his own steam, one and a quarter lengths away, driver David Butcher sitting quietly and just shading the only other runner Luke John by half a length.

“I still can’t believe there were only four runners - for a $25,000 race - but I’m hoping to have five in the next heat.

Jeff Beck (Andre Poutama) is pacing strongly and catches the field after an early break.Jeff Beck (Andre Poutama) is pacing strongly and catches the field after an early break.“Both Jeff Beck and Franco Nandor are nice horses in the making. They mucked it up today but just need some fine tuning.”

Starting in a qualifying trial over 1609 metres, their hopes went out the window soon after the gate left.

Jeff Beck, a half brother to former star filly The Orange Agent, sped out for Andre Poutama and was looking to take over from Franco Nandor and Andrew Drake when both horses galloped.

“I told Andre to test him a bit today and he obviously wasn’t quite ready for it. He just wasn’t used to being rushed out of the gate and lost the plot.

“We just have a little fine tuning to do - his hopples were a bit long. We’ll tighten up his gear and plug his ears.”

Jeff Beck eventually caught the field but paced a little roughly again on the same bend, finishing 17.5 lengths from winner Hot And Treacherous, a Captaintreacherous gelding with Brian and Gareth Hughes who clocked 2:03.2, closing in 59.5 and 27.2.

Franco Nandor (Andrew Drake) … too fierce at the start of his trial today.Franco Nandor (Andrew Drake) … too fierce at the start of his trial today.Franco Nandor, a further seven lengths away, also got too fierce behind the gate, Drake saying he might have been better to press on, rather than try to hold him back.

“He knows what he’s out there for now. As soon as we got up behind the gate I had to go for another grip.”

Franco Nandor is from the Spreydon Lodge family of the big winner Nearea Franco and Green says, given time, he is sure that ability will out.

Bondi Shake, who had the best part of a month off after showing signs of getting tired, is back training well, says Green, and will have his first fast test next Saturday.

“I’ve always liked him. He’s a beautiful horse who does everything nicely.

“Whether he’s got big speed or not I’m not sure yet but he certainly has all the manners and gait. He’ll win races for sure.”

American Dealer goes wire to wire at Pukekohe today.American Dealer goes wire to wire at Pukekohe today.Dealer all the way but tired

You couldn’t help but be impressed with American Dealer who won the learner’s two-year-old heat today, but Green can’t see him being ready for the rough and tumble of the Young Guns.

Though driver Andre Poutama led all the way on American Dealer, scoring by three-quarters of a length from stablemate Prestige Stride, he reported the colt felt a little tired.

The 1609 metre heat took a sedate 2:08, and American Dealer paced home in slow fractionals of 62.5 and 29.4.

But Poutama said American Dealer had improved on his first workout on January 14 when he followed two rivals and resented stones being thrown back in his face.

Said Green: “He’s a dear little horse who is a real tradesman. He’s certainly got the manners to make it.”

Ray Green has turned out the talented filly Spice It Up who is batting a tie-up problem.Ray Green has turned out the talented filly Spice It Up who is batting a tie-up problem.Spice It Up ties up again

Talented pacer Spice It Up won’t be a Young Guns fillies’ contender either, Green making the frustrating call to turn her out again.

“She’s got all the ability in the world but she’s tied up badly on us again. Even though she’s coming right, she hasn’t responded quickly enough and is still tying up.”

Green says there are a myriad of reasons why horses tie up but only one sensible thing to do and that’s to turn her out for at least a month.

“We need to stop and start again in a month or two. To press on now would only be detrimental to her mental state.

“She oozes ability and I don’t want to risk her.”

Fellow filly The Mightyserina has been out in the paddock for three weeks and will be left there for a while yet, says Green.

“She was showing plenty of ability but is a small filly and just wasn’t coping with the step-up in work.”

Captain Nemo, who ran eighth and fourth in the first two Young Guns heats in December, is due back in work at the end of next week.

“He was crying out for a break. He’s a lovely horse, we just have to let him find his feet.”

The Informant is also on the easy list after being gelded this week.

“He was distracted,’’ says Green of his colt-like behaviour. ‘“But he’s shown plenty. He’s a typical American Ideal who’s nicely gaited but mixes things up. He’ll take a while to get fluent.”

Apieceoflou … the biggest improver on the farm.Apieceoflou … the biggest improver on the farm.So too will the rangy Brodie Lindenny - “just trying to get him to pace is a major” and Louie The Punter whose biggest claim to fame so far, says Green, is his ability to escape out the gate from his paddock.

Apieceoflou, on the other hand, has really turned the corner, says Green.

“He’s improved immensely in the last few weeks and is training down really well, getter better each time we take him out.

“He’s the biggest improver of all on the farm.”

Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Friday night at Auckland

Race 1: Obadiah Dragon

“He’s the lowest rated in the field, so it will be tough for him, but he’s racing really well. He just doesn’t need any bad luck.”

Race 4: Lincoln La Moose

“You won’t see the best of him on Friday. It’s his first race since April and he’ll definitely need the run.”

Race 6: My Copy

“He’s no champion but he’s very honest and is always capable of finishing in the money. He only needs a fair crack at them.”

Race 7: Tyson

“You can forget about that debut run, it was a non-event for him the way the race panned out. He got way too far back and would need to have clocked ridiculous times to get into it. He has speed and feels like a nice horse but he’s very inexperienced. I wouldn’t expect him to round the others up but he won’t be disgraced.”

Race 7: Lincoln Lou

Update: Scratched on vet’s advice

“He’s a very nice colt. He’s a lot stronger this time in and he could develop into a serious horse. If he repeats his last run, he’ll be hard to beat. I think he might have the wood on Sugar Ray. He has better manners and probably a bit more speed too.”

Race 7: Sugar Ray Lincoln

“He won comfortably last time despite being three wide for much of the last lap and four wide turning for home. He’s a very good colt. There’s not much between him and Lincoln Lou.”

Race 9: Commander Lincoln

“He’s as honest as they come, he’d die for you, but he lacks a yard of sharp speed to be a serious horse. He has a draw upgrade and drops in class but things have to pan out for him.”

Mark Dux

Mark Dux’s comments

Friday night at Albion Park

Race 8: Captain Nemo
6.33pm NZ time

“It’s not an easy race and, from an average draw, we’ll drive him quietly again so he’ll be at the mercy of the tempo. If he gets the right trip, I could see him hitting the line well and sneaking into the money but after this run to tighten him up he’ll be all set to go, close to winning.”

Les Harding

Les Harding

Saturday night at Port Pirie

Race 5: Beaudiene Rocknroll
10.02pm NZ time

“I’m very happy with him and confident he’ll run a top race but it’s hard to predict how he’ll measure up given this is a big step-up in class compared with the horses he has raced against for his last two wins.”

Whales Harness