The Big Lebowski’s a big dude all right and he’ll be a good replacement for sold pair

Lincoln Farms’ trainer Ray Green has said goodbye to two of his team and welcomed an interesting newcomer from the south.

Neptune and Next To Me, who flew to Australia yesterday, have been sold and will do their future racing in New South Wales, while The Big Lebowski will make his northern debut on Friday night at Alexandra Park.

The latest pacer to be sent north to Green by owners Merv and Meg Butterworth, The Big Lebowski has won his last two starts at Wyndham and Invercargill.

With a form line this prep of 4434211 for trainer Robin Swain, the Mach Three six-year-old looks to be just coming to it, says Green.

“He looks like a useful horse. He fronted up to some pretty good horses at the weekend and was right there with them.”

In a 2500 metre stand heat at Friday’s Pukekohe workouts, The Big Lebowski finished only a nose and three-quarters of a length behind Kango and Old Town Road, kicking on strongly to finish ahead of Chimichurri, with closing sectionals of 57.1 and 27.8.

A rating 66 horse, he will give Lincoln Farms a strong two-pronged attack in an intermediate field on Friday, along with Simply Sam.

Neptune downs Lincoln River at Auckland. PHOTO: Megan Liefting/Race Images.Neptune downs Lincoln River at Auckland. PHOTO: Megan Liefting/Race Images.Green is predicting good futures in Australia for both Neptune and Next To Me.

Three-year-old Neptune, the winner of two of his 15 starts, and $31,638, last scored at Auckland last December, beating stablemate Lincoln River.

“He’s always had a bit of speed and his manners are good. He still hasn’t quite matured but he should go well in Australia.

“He’ll fit in well over there. It will be far easier to place him. You win a couple of races here and straight away you run into far better performed horses.”

Monika Ranger brings Next To Me back to scale at Cambridge. PHOTO: Chanelle Lawson.Monika Ranger brings Next To Me back to scale at Cambridge. PHOTO: Chanelle Lawson.Next To Me’s big asset will be his early speed and toughness.

“He’s an honest little fellow. You can put him in the race, which is a good asset to have in Australia, and he’s fairly tough, he can make his own luck.”

The four-year-old Bettor’s Delight - Splendid Deal gelding won only one of his 16 starts, not living up to the ability of his brother Maxim, who banked $510,151.

Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Friday night at Auckland

Race 1: Obadiah Dragon

“He’s the lowest rated in the field, so it will be tough for him, but he’s racing really well. He just doesn’t need any bad luck.”

Race 4: Lincoln La Moose

“You won’t see the best of him on Friday. It’s his first race since April and he’ll definitely need the run.”

Race 6: My Copy

“He’s no champion but he’s very honest and is always capable of finishing in the money. He only needs a fair crack at them.”

Race 7: Tyson

“You can forget about that debut run, it was a non-event for him the way the race panned out. He got way too far back and would need to have clocked ridiculous times to get into it. He has speed and feels like a nice horse but he’s very inexperienced. I wouldn’t expect him to round the others up but he won’t be disgraced.”

Race 7: Lincoln Lou

Update: Scratched on vet’s advice

“He’s a very nice colt. He’s a lot stronger this time in and he could develop into a serious horse. If he repeats his last run, he’ll be hard to beat. I think he might have the wood on Sugar Ray. He has better manners and probably a bit more speed too.”

Race 7: Sugar Ray Lincoln

“He won comfortably last time despite being three wide for much of the last lap and four wide turning for home. He’s a very good colt. There’s not much between him and Lincoln Lou.”

Race 9: Commander Lincoln

“He’s as honest as they come, he’d die for you, but he lacks a yard of sharp speed to be a serious horse. He has a draw upgrade and drops in class but things have to pan out for him.”

Mark Dux

Mark Dux’s comments

Friday night at Albion Park

Race 8: Captain Nemo
6.33pm NZ time

“It’s not an easy race and, from an average draw, we’ll drive him quietly again so he’ll be at the mercy of the tempo. If he gets the right trip, I could see him hitting the line well and sneaking into the money but after this run to tighten him up he’ll be all set to go, close to winning.”

Les Harding

Les Harding

Saturday night at Port Pirie

Race 5: Beaudiene Rocknroll
10.02pm NZ time

“I’m very happy with him and confident he’ll run a top race but it’s hard to predict how he’ll measure up given this is a big step-up in class compared with the horses he has raced against for his last two wins.”

Race Images - Harness