Spice It Up out to make up for two years of frustration for Ray and owners on Friday
As the winner of two recent workouts, Lincoln Farms’ debutante Spice It Up will attract plenty of support when she debuts at Auckland on Friday night. But you won’t get trainer Ray Green to tip her confidently.
Few horses are as well pampered as those at Lincoln Farms’ idyllic Pukekohe property.
That’s all expect one, who never gets to lie down in a nice cosy box, isn’t even fed, and spends all day and night walking her paddock.
The call her Spicey and for the last two years she’s confounded trainer Ray Green and his helpers who more than once lamented she might never make it to the racetrack.
But Spice It Up, as punters will know her from Friday night when she debuts in the ninth race at Alexandra Park, has never lacked for ability.
The Captaintreacherous filly was so precocious she and driver Zachary Butcher looked a real standout at Franklin Park’s annual baby parade in August, 2019, earning the judge’s silver award and Green’s ranking as number one filly in the stable.
“We all thought she could be something special,” says Green of the filly whose dam Soul Sister is a half sister to freakish champion Carabella, winner of 17 of her 19 starts.
“Zac was talking about taking a share in her - that’s how much he thought of her.”
But while Spicey showed glimpses of speed that had Butcher thinking she might even be the best of Lincoln Farms’ babies, boys included, she came with some unwanted baggage.
Every preparation Green gave Spicey ended prematurely when she would chronically tie up, a painful condition involving cramping of the back and rump muscles.
Green got to learn all about Rhabdomyolysis or Azoturia.
Monday morning sickness
“They used to call it Monday morning sickness because horses would have Sunday off and tied up the next day.
“We tried all the usual things but there can be multiple causes and nobody has a hard and fast solution.
“Some think it’s hereditary and mares are more prone to getting it because they come into season, urinate everywhere and get dehydrated.”
Spicey had numerous breaks to try to get her over the problem.
“We’d bring her back in and within two or three weeks she’d tie right up again. It looked hopeless there for a while.”
The last time Spicey tied up Green gave her an extra long spell and when she resumed work this time, many months ago, he totally changed her routine.
“She lives in the paddock now, doesn’t even have one night in the stall - you’ve just got to keep them on the move.
“Some people work them every day but she has one day off a week.
“We don’t even feed her now - apart from a few nuts - she just eats grass, and so far, so good. She’s still as big as a bull.”
Spicey has had three workouts this preparation, for a third and two wins this month, the latest on June 12 easily her most impressive when she unleashed a powerful sprint in the run home for Butcher to reel in The Missing Sock, an early scratching from Friday night.
But Green says he’s not convinced yet.
“I’ll be watching with interest and won’t be making any rash predictions. We’ve been on the back foot until now so I want to see her race and see how she handles it.”
Green says many trainers would have called it quits long ago with the filly who comes in to gate six on Friday night against a mediocre bunch.
“But when they show a glimpse of something you’ve got to keep trying.”
Spicey’s ongoing problems have caused a real headache for Lincoln Farms’ business manager Ian Middleton who has spent this week contacting all the original partners in the filly.
Under the generous conditions of Lincoln Farms’ special partnerships, owners can either take a refund or agree to be placed into another horse if the one they selected doesn’t make it.
When Spicey looked to be on the skids last year, Middleton channelled most of her owners into other horses but they have now been given the option of coming back in.
More news in Harness
Better draw will help Frisco but Ray’s quartet for Friday all in early stages of new prep
Argyle salutes at last and Mark confident he’ll keep the till ticking over in the next grade
Unlucky Argyle deserves to be rewarded at Albion Park tonight - just no bad luck please
Ray looking forward to Lincoln Lou and fully oxygenated Frisco Bay at Cambridge on Friday
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.”