Ray’s message to his Young Guns drivers: Don’t be scared of the blue jersey
The barrier draw has conspired against Lincoln Farms’ Young Guns trio at Alexandra Park on Monday but trainer Ray Green isn’t raising the white flag - and he hopes his drivers won’t either.
While the All Stars’ opening Young Guns winner Smooth Deal looks to have a winning edge, perfectly drawn in three this time, Green believes Perfect Stride can give him a real run for his money from four. And he is looking forward to seeing how much Sir Tiger (six) and Double Or Nothing (eight) have improved on their first outings.
“The one thing I don’t want to see is Mark (Purdon) go to the front and everybody else be scared of the blue jersey and settle for running second,’’ says Green.
That’s basically what happened last time when Purdon let the brakes go on Smooth Deal 1200 metres out and took the front off Double Or Nothing.
It will be harder for Double Or Nothing to lead on Monday from the outside of the gate but that doesn’t mean driver David Butcher won’t try.
“If he goes forward it will be tough for him but if he goes back it will be tough as well,’’ says Green.
But an aggressive drive by Zachary Butcher on Perfect Stride could well see him cross Smooth Deal on dispatch - from the pole he clearly had the early edge on Smooth Deal last time when that horse left from eight.
If that happened Green says Perfect Stride has to be a real chance.
We didn’t get to see how close Perfect Stride could have pushed Smooth Deal last time when the horse jumped a pile of poo on the track just as he was moving up on the home turn, galloped and lost two to three lengths and his winning chance.
“I’m sure he’ll have improved from that run. But just how much we won’t know until the day,’’ says Green.
Sir Tiger was never a factor in the first Young Guns race after racing greenly in the score-up and being slightly back at the start but Green says he’s looking forward to seeing what he can do on Monday.
Sir Tiger became unsettled before the gate moved away last time, actually getting under the arm and bashing it.
Green says he will make sure the attendants are more vigilant this time and help the horse if he needs it.
While Sir Tiger ran only seventh in that first heat he actually ran the equal fastest last half of 56.5 along with winner Smooth Deal and was one tenth of a second faster over his last mile (1:57.1) than runner-up Double Or Nothing.
“He never stops improving and he’s trained quite well this week. He has the potential to spring a surprise and I’ve got Maurice (McKendry) on this time.’’
Trojan needs luck from draw
Trojan Banner has an inside second row draw to contend with in the fourth race but needs only a little luck to be in the money at good odds.
He lost the chance to work into a good possie last week by pacing roughly when trying to follow out the speedy Sezana then was forced down to four deep on the markers.
Driver Andre Poutama got off the markers 450 metres from home and despite being forced four wide turning for home, Trojan Banner sustained a strong finish for fourth, only 1.7 lengths from the winner.
“I thought he flattened out the last bit’’ says Green. “He hasn’t realised the potential we thought he had but with a lot of luck he can be in it.’’