Second row draws make it tricky on Saturday night but Nemo and Argyle are in great trim
Argyle and Captain Nemo both went close to winning at Albion Park last week but second row draws on Saturday night could consign them to collecting only place money again this week.
Argyle’s effort to run second to $151 outsider Murphy’s Reward last Saturday thrilled trainer Mark Dux after he launched on a solo three wide run from the back and came up only half a neck short with a 55.44 last half.
And Captain Nemo was also right at the top of his game, rallying bravely in the run home to finish just 4.4 metres and half a head from the winner Windy Hill Wally after being given a sweet one-out-two-back trip by gun junior Angus Garrard.
Dux fancies Nemo as the better winning chance this week but says whether he can break through in the fourth race will be determined by the tactics employed by the driver of the pole horse Stormtide, whom he follows out.
“The one horse has gate speed, if they want to use it, and if he leads that would be perfect for us. But I’ve got the feeling he will hand up, because they did that on Tuesday and he ran a good second.
“If they take a trail, it puts us three fence, which is still a winnable spot, but we’ll need the leaders to go strong and we’ll have to get the run at the right time.”
Dux expects Nemo to run top three but says he’s primed to win as soon as he gets the right trip.
“He just kept coming last week - he doesn’t give up very often - and Angus thought he could have won had another horse not take the inside run he was aiming for.”
Dux doesn’t believe his other runner Key Largo can beat Nemo the way the pair worked this week.
“It’s his first run back for a little while and he’s a weird horse. He can run, and he’s won nearly $200,000, but he doesn’t always go as well as he should.”
One race earlier, Argyle also looks a top three chance and Dux says he’ll be driven conservatively to earn the biggest cheque possible.
The way the race sets up, Dux says pole runner So Sirius should lead and OK Boomer, behind him on the gate, should trail, which is why they’ll start favourites.
“Argyle will find it hard to win from two the second row but if we go straight to the fence he’s a good chance to run top three. We just have to hope they go hard the last half so the ones out wide get off the bit.
“If he stays in the running line, and they go slow, he’s no hope as he’s against pretty decent horses.
“I reckon they kept So Sirius for this race as it’s a $21,000 stake, and he’s been lucky enough to draw one. He ran second last time and sat outside the leader.
“I’m sure he’ll be trying to lead but the one who could upset things is Jaccka Wally, who has a lot of gate speed. He could charge out and cross but he can do things wrong and the driver couldn’t chase him out the other day because he put in a few funny steps.”
Argyle will be handled by a new driver in Trent Dawson with Garrard sticking to Bangkok Deejay, winner of his last three starts.
“Bangkok Deejay can win again depending on how the race is run. But if So Sirius leads and backs off the pace, he probably can’t beat him.”
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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.”