Taming the Tiger - Al using kid gloves to make problem pacer brave
Queensland trainer Al Barnes is looking for an improved run from Sir Tiger at Albion Park tomorrow, back in distance, down in class and against his own age group.
But while he says Sir Tiger is going well enough to figure in the finish, he says he’ll still need luck on his side from a bad draw.
That’s because Barnes is determined to keep working on Sir Tiger’s confidence by driving him quietly and have him finish strongly, rather than being driven hard and dropping out.
“Even though he showed a bit more gate speed last time, we’ll still be going back from six. For now, that’s the best way to drive him as I want him feeling happy and confident.
“If things go his way and he can loom up behind them like he did two starts back he’ll be right in it.”
While Sir Tiger was dead stiff when eighth on December 20, unable to find a gap in the run home, he looked weak in his next start when only fourth after securing a perfect trail behind the leader.
Barnes partly blames himself for that failure, backing the horse up only four days later over 2138 metres.
“He doesn’t back up brilliantly but he’s fresh this time and he should run out the 1660 metres better.
“But it’s an even bunch and he’ll have to be at least 90% to give them a shake. They’ll probably go slow which will make it hard for him.”
Barnes continues to be pleased with Super Easy who showed fantastic manners in an educational trial last week and he plans to give the horse another spin round Albion Park on Tuesday with Joey Lincoln.
Newest recruit Double Or Nothing will have an official trial on Friday, Barnes keen to find out if he’ll go well fresh to give him a guide on his upcoming programme.
Stable star Northview Hustler is making good headway in his new campaign, bothered only by a minor back niggle.
More news in Harness
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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
Why Lincoln Farms had to buy lot 68 - his older brother Lincoln Lou is ready to rock
Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them
Friday night at Cambridge
Race 3: Lincoln Lou
“He’s a beautiful little horse and I’m looking forward to seeing him run. It’s hard to know how good he is, or how far he’ll go, but I guess we’ll find out on Friday. He’s the one to beat from the draw. If he doesn’t win, he won’t be far away.”
Race 5: Commander Lincoln
“I won’t be holding my breath. He tries hard enough but he lacks a bit of high speed.”
Race 8: Onyx Shard
“It’s two and a half months since she last raced, and she didn’t grow as much as I thought she would, but I’m expecting her to go a good race. Her last two trials have been good and she’s pulled up well.”
Race 8: Obadiah Dragon
“He’ll need a good trip from five but he’s not out of it. He went a good race last time at Cambridge and would be as equal a chance as Onxy Shard.”
Race 8: Beaudiene Rocknroll
“It’s heart-in-the-mouth stuff with him until they let them go but he should step away this time. Zac (Butcher) said the gate went particularly slowly before that race and that’s why he got impatient. I thought he did well to recover for third. If he made the front, where he goes best, he’d be hard to beat.”
Race 9: Frisco Bay
“He’s a tidy horse and I’m expecting a big run. We’ve sorted the problem he had with his breathing last season and he’s right in the zone now after a second and a win at the workouts.”
Mark Dux’s comments
Saturday night at Albion Park
Race 5: Argyle
11.02pm NZ time
“It wouldn’t have mattered where he drew this week, he’s in the money, barring bad luck. He’s going terrific and he gets in so well at the ratings.”