Sir Tiger and Billy Lincoln give Al great shot at opening double at Albion Park on Friday

Both Sir Tiger and Billy Lincoln look winners on paper at Albion Park on Friday but trainer Al Barnes says they’ll still have to earn it.

Both horses were beaten as hot favourites at their last starts, Sir Tiger dead unlucky when unable to find a gap in the run home and Billy Lincoln going under by a head at the unbackable odds of $1.08.

Sir Tiger opens the batting on Friday in the first race, which Barnes says looks a weaker field than the one he beat at his Queensland debut.

Sir Tiger, arrowed, is blocked and full of running at the finish.Sir Tiger, arrowed, is blocked and full of running at the finish.And this time, while still on the second row, Sir Tiger is at least in the running line, compared with his last start tragedy when, from the inside of the second row, driver Hayden Barnes never had the opportunity to work into the clear and went to the line hard held in fifth place.

“Hayden said he was travelling easily but he’d have had to knock one over to get out so there was no point in that.

“He’s going to be a $1.20 shot but it’s not just a question of going out and winning. He should win but it’s an even-looking race and he’ll have to earn it.”

Barnes says it helps that people know his New Zealand horses have a bit of quality so they give them respect.

“When Hayden goes round and asserts his authority nine times out of 10 they’d rather sit on his back then try to hold him out.”

Billy Lincoln goes down by a head to Saint Kilda Beach.Billy Lincoln goes down by a head to Saint Kilda Beach.Barnes says he’ll leave it up to Hayden to decide how best to drive Billy Lincoln in the second race but over only 1660 metres letting him settle early from the second row, then sending him, would make him hard to beat.

“But he may elect to drive him as a sit-sprinter and see what he can do.”

In each of his three runs in Brisbane, Barnes has taken Billy Lincoln to the front and, even though collared last time, he still improved on his previous time, clocking his third and fourth quarters in 28 flat.

“I was a bit disappointed at first, I thought Hayden should have got on his bike and kicked when his only rival (Saint Kilda Beach) was coming four wide. But he did run a PB and he’s never gone quicker than 56 for his last half before so maybe that’s as good as he can go for now. We know he’s a work in progress.”

Barnes says it will be interesting to see what Billy can do if Hayden chooses to follow his rivals through from two on the second line, drive him in behind, and mount a late challenge.

“He should go close either way but he’s six months away from being a racehorse.”

Sir Tiger races at 3.29pm NZ time at Albion Park on Friday.Sir Tiger races at 3.29pm NZ time at Albion Park on Friday.Billy Lincoln races at 4.04pm NZ time at Albion Park on Friday.Billy Lincoln races at 4.04pm NZ time at Albion Park on Friday.

Our runners this week

Saturday night at Albion Park


Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

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.”

Whales Harness