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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

Friday night at Auckland

Phil Bromac, Just Wing It, Recco Lover, Zealand Star.

Race Images - Harness