Ray’s ready to deal but Ace Commander’s not quite ready to trump ‘em yet
Ace Commander gave his best hint yet that he can make the grade in the north with a bold win at the Pukekohe workouts at the weekend.
But while trainer Ray Green expects the trotter to run well when he resumes at Auckland on Friday night, he’s not expecting him to win.
Ace Commander hasn’t raced since June when, after two runs for Green, it was discovered he had an entrapped epiglottis.
Routine surgery corrected the breathing problem after which Ace Commander was given a decent break. And Green has given the six-year-old a slow buildup, contesting five workouts in October and November.
Last Saturday he ran his best yet when downing two talented trotters in Havehorsewilltravel and Forget The Price Tag, both of whom oppose him on Friday night.
Showing good speed away from the stand again, Ace Commander pressed forward to wrest the lead after 400 metres.
Zachary Butcher kept the horse pinging along in front and after the challenging Delson broke on the home turn he scored easily by one and a quarter lengths from Havehorsewilltravel with a head to Forget The Price Tag who both made up good ground late.
Ace Commander ran the 2500 metres in 3:20.1, a mile rate of 2:08.7, with closing sectionals of 61.1 and 29.3.
And best of all, his heart rate was lower than in recent workouts, a sign that he had continued steady improvement.
“His heart rate wasn’t bad after I drove him on Tuesday either, “ said Green. “He’s improving all the time. Those were two really nice horses who couldn’t round him up on Saturday.
“He’s capable of going a good race but I think he’ll need a run or two.”
Ace Commander, bought by leading Australian owner Merv Butterworth, came from the South Island with a record of five wins from 23 starts and he gets into Friday’s race as the second highest rated trotter behind Forget The Price Tag, but consequently starts from a 20 metre handicap.
Ace Commander, by Monarchy, has shown he has a good turn of foot and Green says he fits nicely into the grade he finds himself in on Friday.
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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.”