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.’’
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Friday night at Auckland
Race 1: Man Of Action
“He should get out well at the start and won’t have to do too much work from the inside alley. While I don’t think he could win he’s a big, lazy type who has yet to be smacked on the bum.’’
Race 1: Perfect Stride
“He missed four days’ work after standing on the nail and it could have left him a little bit short for Friday. But he’s still classy enough to win it, especially from the perfect draw.”
Race 1: Tommy Lincoln
“I only really entered him to make sure the race got off the ground but he’s going well enough to be there. He isn’t really a genuine two-year-old but he won’t disgrace himself.’’
Race 1: Double Or Nothing
“He’ll make Perfect Stride earn it. I drove him in work on Tuesday and the way he felt he’s gone on from where he was previously. He keeps improving and will be a serious chance.’’
Race 1: Sir Tiger
“He’s had to rough it both times and has another wide draw on Friday night. He’s honest and will go round OK but it’s hard to see him footing it with some of the others from out there.’’
Race 1: Copy That
“Ability wise he’s as good as Perfect Stride and Double Or Nothing but he hasn’t quite got their game yet. He’ll go back at the start but if he could slot in somewhere and things went his way he could get some of it.’’
Race 4: Beaudiene Blinkz
“She’s extremely honest but the other filly should have the wood on her. She does have the pedigree to lift her game on the day however and has the speed to use her good draw.’’
Race 4: Hilary Barry
“She’s a lovely driving filly who you can put anywhere in a race. If she can get a good trip behind the one horse (Emmber) she can be right in it but it’s hard to line up all these unknown quantities.’’
Race 5: Recco Lover
“Even though he trained well on Tuesday morning I think he’ll be short of a run because he had a big break with that first sale pending. He trialled nicely recently but blew out halfway down the straight.’’
Race 5: Zealand Star
“I wouldn’t normally back him up three weeks in a row but he’s come out of last week’s race very well. If he’d been one spot closer at Cambridge he’d have won for fun. He needs to get a suck into it late.’’