Steam Punk a work in progress - but there’s definitely more in the tank

Easy Auckland winner Steam Punk has the ability to win more races quite quickly - but trainer Ray Green has some experimenting to do first.

“He’s still a work in progress,’’ says Green of the three-year-old who led all the way to score in only his second race last Friday night at Alexandra Park.

While the win might have looked clinical to most, Green could see Steam Punk putting in a few fancy steps in the running, observations confirmed by driver Zachary Butcher on returning to scale.

A little rough and uncertain in his gait, Butcher told Green he kept a good grip on the horse even up the home stretch, sensing he could make a mistake if pressured too much.

“You can’t knock a winning performance but he did only go 2:46.7,’’ says Green.

Zachary Butcher brings Steam Punk back to scale.Zachary Butcher brings Steam Punk back to scale.“I’m sure there’s a lot more there but we need to sort a few little things first. I’ll be doing a bit of experimenting with him before he lines up again.

“I’m still learning about the horse but when we can get him pacing 100 percent and ask him for more, he should win two or three more races quite quickly.’’

Steam Punk has been at Lincoln Farms for only a month after being sent north by Australian owner Merv Butterworth.

He showed this nervy nature on debut on November 30 when he lost the plot after being hunted hard out of the gate, galloping out of contention.

Green was immediately on to that, deadening him down for his next start with a fixed deafener and blinds.

The horse also wore different hopples last Friday after Butcher reported they felt a little tight the previous week.

Green is not convinced they got the hopple length right second time either, the straps looking a little long.

“I’ll school him up a bit in the next week, and adjust the hopples, and hopefully next time we can give him a bit more confidence. But he is very green and nervous - he’d jump if you dropped something beside him.’’

Zealand Star is last but under a big hold by David Butcher with nowhere to go.Zealand Star is last but under a big hold by David Butcher with nowhere to go.Earlier in the night Green was left lamenting about the bad luck encountered by Butterworth’s second runner, Zealand Star, who never saw clear air in the run home and was hard held by David Butcher at the line, last but only 3.7 lengths from winner Solid Gold.

Butcher followed instructions not to burn the five-year-old early, Butterworth looking for a “Herlihy-like marker hugging drive” to allow the sit-sprinter to shine late.

But Butcher was trapped four deep and was still three deep turning for home, gaps never eventuating as his “death grip” tightened on the horse the closer he got to the post.

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.”

Race Images - Harness