The bookies have got it wrong - a drop of luck and Dealer’s the one to test Krug in the derby
American Dealer might have a second row draw to overcome in Friday night’s $200,000 New Zealand Pacing Derby but how the bookies have dropped him is beyond trainer Ray Green.
Despite being the second most accomplished horse behind hot favourite Krug, Lincoln Farms’ star three-year-old is rated only the sixth favourite for the Addington classic, bookies offering a generous $11 and $3.50.
“I can’t work out their logic. He’s paying a lot more than some of those he’s flogged in the past. And he’s beaten Krug (twice) which none of those they rate above him have done.
“I know he’ll need some luck from three on the second row but you certainly can’t discount him like the bookies.
“He’s never run a bad race in his life and if he gets a good trip he’ll be right there, he always is.”
Green says American Dealer performed way above what he expected at Auckland on March 26, resuming from a break during which time he also picked up a stable bug.
“I thought he was superb running second against a better bunch than he meets on Friday, Krug excepted.
“It was his first time against some pretty good open class horses. Usually that transition is hard but he was unlucky not to win.”
Taken back from the outside of the arm by Zachary Butcher, American Dealer was still third last 500 metres out when he launched three wide.
“He was five wide round the corner on a 56 half and still got within 1.3 lengths of winner Dance Time in 2:39.4.”
American Dealer was clocked home from the 800 in 55.7, easily the fastest in the race and seven tenths of a second faster than third-placed Kango.
And his final mile of 1:56.9 was also clearly the fastest in the race and trumped the winner’s time by a full two seconds.
Green says he’s confident American Dealer is in the right nick to be a real threat to Krug.
“It’s just a question of how the start works out. I think Blair will go forward with Krug and try to slot in. I can’t imagine him going back, he won’t want to be stuck behind the riff raff.
“And if he led he’d be the one to beat but, remember, it’s 2600 metres and he wouldn’t want to burn too much gas to get there.”
Green reports both American Dealer and his travelling companion Arden’s Horizon, who will contest Friday night’s Welcome Stakes, arrived safely in Christchurch on Saturday afternoon after leaving Pukekohe the previous morning.
“Both travelled well and haven’t missed a bit of feed since. They’re feeling pretty good.
“They trained a little bit this morning, just had a bowl around and both felt really good. They’re ready to go.”
Green says Arden’s Horizon deserves his shot at the southern two-year-old feature after his impressive last start win at Auckland.
Unlucky on debut, when he dragged a punctured tyre for most of the race, Arden’s Horizon lacks experience but Green says you can put most of his Welcome Stakes rivals in the same boat.
“He hasn’t quite worked out what’s going on yet but he’s got a bit of speed and he’s a lovely pacer.
“He deserves the chance and the trip away and the race will be good experience for him.
“The six draw is are a bit of an inconvenience but I’m sure he’ll go well.”
Plagued by bad draws
Green’s bad luck with barrier draws doesn’t end with the Addington meeting, his home pair Hail Lucius (drawn seven) and Smokinhotcheddar (inside second row) also hampered at Alexandra Park.
Hail Lucius showed a glimpse of his ability last time when rattling home to run 2.5 lengths third to Arden’s Horizon, reeling off the fastest closing 400 metres in 27.6.
His recovery was a feature of the race after he paced roughly on the home corner and dropped off the tail of the field by a couple of lengths.
“We’ve done a bit of vet work on him since - a hind ankle was bothering him. If he handles the corners he’ll be right there.”
“Smokinhotcheddar will need a bit of luck but at least from the inside of the second row she won’t get parked this time, which is where she’s been the last two races.
“She’s racing well and it would be nice to see her get a good trip.”
More news in Harness
Better draw will help Frisco but Ray’s quartet for Friday all in early stages of new prep
Argyle salutes at last and Mark confident he’ll keep the till ticking over in the next grade
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
Our runners this week
Saturday night at Albion Park
Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them
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.”