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Strapping Vinibaka steps it up again winning Pukekohe qualifier

Vinibaka continued his dramatic progress for trainer Ray Green, winning his qualifying trial stylishly at Pukekohe yesterday.

Sent to the early lead from five at the gate by driver Andre Poutama, Vinibaka opened up a three length break on the home turn and held off a spirited late challenge by Belle Of Montana to score by a neck, closing in 58.4 and 27.9. His overall time for the mobile 2050 metres was 2:38.

The strapping Christian Cullen four-year-old has taken time but is unbeaten this prep, having won workout heats in the previous two weeks.

Girl ready to go

Lincoln’s Girl showed she was nearing race fitness in her fourth workout, trailing early for Zachary Butcher, before shooting to the lead down the back and holding off eight-race winner Delightful Zen in a tight four-way finish. Winner of two of her four raceday starts, she scored by a neck, home in 57.9 and 27.1.

Mathew improving

Mathew James, a $120,000 yearling buy, showed some much needed improvement when he won the learner’s heat by a comfortable one and three-quarter lengths, Zachary Butcher leading all the way and sprinting clear turning for home. He clocked 60.7 and 27.9 for the closing sectionals with a sedate overall time of 2:43.2 for the 2050 metres.

Hustler not bustled

Spring Cup winner Northview Hustler wasn’t asked for his best in the tight class heat, not pulled off the back of winner Jack’s Legend in the run home. He finished half a head and one and a quarter lengths away in third. He runs in the Holmes DG on Friday night. Stablemate Recco Lover was very slow to find his straps from the standing start and trailed in fourth the entire trip.

Trojan like a Trojan

Trojan Banner ran fourth in his heat, trailing, making an aborted attempt to lead, then fighting on solidly enough. The winner came from Lincoln Farm’s barn, Robert Dunn’s Chevron Supreme huge in scoring, losing a lot of ground when galloping off the arm, before looping the field 700 metres from home and staving off Cambridge visitor Baquero.

Phil close second

Washington VC three-year-old Phil Bromac qualified in his heat, running a neck second to The Batmobile. He was restrained to third early by Zachary Butcher, found the one-one briefly at the 400m before Gambit broke in front of him, and when able to weave a passage, showed a nice turn of foot down the outside to just miss.

Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them

Ray Green

Ray’s tips

Thursday night at Cambridge

Race 5: Vinibaka

“He had a beautiful trip last week at Auckland and either wasn’t ready for it or wasn’t good enough. We’ll see how he goes this time but I’m not holding my breath. He’s better off going forward. He’s done his best work at the trials on the front end.’’

Race 7: Lincoln’s Girl

“She hasn’t raced for five months but Zac was very happy with her at the workouts last Saturday and she can give them a fright. She’s got some speed, but I’d just like to see her beat something of note before I start labelling her as anything special.’’

Race Images - Harness

Lincoln light

News in brief

TIGER ROARS: Tiger Tara cemented a trip to Christchurch for the New Zealand Trotting Cup with a dominant display to win Saturday night’s Victoria Cup at Melton. Driven to the front by Todd McCarthy, Tiger Tara scored by 12 metres over Chicago Bull, who was forced to breeze most of the way, in a 1:53.4 mile rate for the 2240 metre mobile. Tiger Tara has run third in the New Zealand Cup for the last two years behind Lazarus.

IN THE SWING: Former Lincoln Farms pacer In The Swing continued his march through the grades in Perth when he scored at Gloucester Park last Friday night. The Rocknroll Hanover colt has now had 11 starts in Western Australia for nine wins and two seconds.

STAYING PUT: Smart three-year-olds Make Way and Trojan Banner won’t be going south with stablemate Beaudiene Western on Tuesday, trainer Ray Green opting to concentrate on the fourth Sires’ Stakes heat at Auckland on October 26 then keep them fresh for the Sales Series Final on New Year’s Eve.

SPRING IN STEP: Spring Campaign is proving a good buy for his Australian connections. Since being sold by Lincoln Farms he has won four races at Albion Park in Brisbane.

BLUE GLORY GONE: Lincoln Farms has sold Blue Glory to Queensland in a package deal with Lincoln Road. The American Ideal filly raced only twice here, winning on debut at Cambridge.