Redcliffe saucer has tripped many so even an in-form Billy Lincoln is a little vulnerable
If there’s one thing trainer Al Barnes knows it’s that you can never take a horse to Redcliffe for the first time and declare it a winner.
That’s why he’s slightly reserved about his predictions on what Billy Lincoln will do in the third race there this afternoon.
Billy Lincoln will start a hot favourite in the 2040 metre race, after three wins and a close second in four starts in Queensland. But while Barnes is in no doubt he is the best horse in the race, he says from the outside gate on the very tight track, he can’t label him.
“The turns are very tight, especially the one in the back straight, and while he’s pacing well at Albion Park, he may get on a knee at Redcliffe.”
Barnes has been forced to race Billy Lincoln on the triangular 833 metre track, with its short 170 metre home straight, during the three to four weeks it will take to resurface Albion Park with crusher dust.
“Some handle it, some don’t and some love it. Billy may need a look at the track. Lincoln Road was rough his first time there and the second time he paced beautifully.”
Barnes says from six on the gate, with only a short run to the first turn, his son Hayden won’t even attempt to burn out and cross the field.
“We won’t have a plan, Hayden will just assess how he feels but he’ll probably let him balance up and come with one run. It’s not a strong field and he’s the best horse in the race so hopefully he should be OK.”
The Bettor’s Delight three-year-old, whose picket fence form line was spoiled by a head defeat two starts back, goes into the race as a 1:55.5 mile rate winner at Albion Park from the second row, when he showed speed to take control at the bell.
Billy Lincoln also showed great heart to fight back in the stretch after being headed turning in.
But you only have to look at the Redcliffe track stats to discover why it’s not an easy task to win from the outside of the arm.
Of the 650 horses who have started there in the last 12 months only 49, or 7.5%, have won.
Compare that with the percentage of winners from gates one to five - 17.3%, 11,4%, 13.6%, 11.3% and 10.2% - and it’s obvious why not to take ridiculously short odds on Billy.
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Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them
Friday night at Cambridge
Race 3: Lincoln Lou
“He’s a beautiful little horse and I’m looking forward to seeing him run. It’s hard to know how good he is, or how far he’ll go, but I guess we’ll find out on Friday. He’s the one to beat from the draw. If he doesn’t win, he won’t be far away.”
Race 5: Commander Lincoln
“I won’t be holding my breath. He tries hard enough but he lacks a bit of high speed.”
Race 8: Onyx Shard
“It’s two and a half months since she last raced, and she didn’t grow as much as I thought she would, but I’m expecting her to go a good race. Her last two trials have been good and she’s pulled up well.”
Race 8: Obadiah Dragon
“He’ll need a good trip from five but he’s not out of it. He went a good race last time at Cambridge and would be as equal a chance as Onxy Shard.”
Race 8: Beaudiene Rocknroll
“It’s heart-in-the-mouth stuff with him until they let them go but he should step away this time. Zac (Butcher) said the gate went particularly slowly before that race and that’s why he got impatient. I thought he did well to recover for third. If he made the front, where he goes best, he’d be hard to beat.”
Race 9: Frisco Bay
“He’s a tidy horse and I’m expecting a big run. We’ve sorted the problem he had with his breathing last season and he’s right in the zone now after a second and a win at the workouts.”
Mark Dux’s comments
Saturday night at Albion Park
Race 5: Argyle
11.02pm NZ time
“It wouldn’t have mattered where he drew this week, he’s in the money, barring bad luck. He’s going terrific and he gets in so well at the ratings.”