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HOSED OFF: It’s been a frustrating 12 months for Simply Sam and his connections.

Simply Sam over tie-up issue and ready to get things back on track at Cambridge

Given his proven ability, it’s hard to reconcile how it’s been just on 12 months since Simply Sam won a race in New Zealand.

But trainer Ray Green is hoping the horse’s run of back luck has come to an end and he can now show his true worth, starting at Cambridge on Thursday night.

When Simply Sam scored at Auckland last July it was his third win on end and gave the Lincoln Farms camp the confidence to launch a derby campaign in Australia.

But while Simply Sam won a lead-up race at Shepparton and was placed in his Victoria Derby heat, he was no match for the likes of Leap To Fame in the final.

On his return, Simply Sam’s newly developed coltish behaviour had become unacceptable so Green had no option but to geld him. Then, when his condition fell right away, Green sent him for a good spell.

Four months later Simply Sam was back and, while not winning, he started to turn in some eye-catching runs.

When he last raced at Cambridge on June 2, however, Sam was sent out a warm favourite but he had trouble even catching the field from his 25 metre handicap. And when driver Zachary Butcher tried to follow eventual winner Fernleigh Cash round the field, Simply Sam went nowhere, Butcher later reporting to stewards the horse never travelled at any stage.

Blood tests revealed Simply Sam had tied up.

“He seems back to normal again, his bloods are good,” Green said today.

“It’s been one thing after another with him but hopefully we’re back on track now.”

Green had hoped to trial Simply Sam last Friday but with no opposition was forced to train him earlier instead.

“He’s never a flashy worker but he’s been training well and, while we’re stabbing in the dark a bit, I’m sure he’ll be competitive. He’s definitely up with those others.”

Best of the others include the only three higher rated runners in the race, New York Minute (R70), Rough And Ready (R68) and Montana DJ (R65).

And while Green says Simply Sam will improve with the run, he could quickly negate his second row draw by following through go-forward runner I’llavabubbles.

Green’s frustration with the handicapping system is instantly obvious when asked how he thinks stablemate and race rival Lincoln River will fare with the rise in class on Thursday.

Lincoln River was a gutsy last-start winner at Auckland in a rating 40 to 45 race when he sat parked for most of the way. But on Thursday, with a paucity of similarly graded runners, he is forced to contest a rating 50 to 70 event.

“There’s just no flexibility in the handicapping system. I guess we’ll find out more about him this week. It’s hard to know how he’ll go but he’s drawn one so he should go another good race.”

Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Friday night at Cambridge

Race 3: Lincoln Lou
6.39pm

“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
7.31pm

“I won’t be holding my breath. He tries hard enough but he lacks a bit of high speed.”

Race 8: Onyx Shard
8.55pm

“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
8.55pm

“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
8.55pm

“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
9.22pm

“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

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.”

Whales Harness