The incredible hulk Governor’s Bay steps out at Auckland on Friday with Ray only guessing
Trainer Ray Green admits he’s still learning about hulking pacer Governor’s Bay so it’s basically watch and see in the fifth race at Auckland on Friday night.
Green has had Governor’s Bay for only a couple of weeks and wasn’t sure what to expect when he trialled the horse at Pukekohe last Saturday.
But Governor’s Bay, sent up from Southland by Australian owner Merv Butterworth, showed he would be a force in the north when he came out of the trail with a spirited rush in the home straight for driver Zachary Butcher.
“Zac said he went to the leader in two or three strides but then pricked his ears and seemed to back off. I don’t know if he was anticipating the finish or something.’’
Governor’s Bay ended up second, beaten a head by Tony Herlihy’s talented four-year-old Revolver, with six-race winner Ivana Flybye two lengths away third.
They cut out the 2500 metre mobile in 3:12.9, a mile rate of 2:04.1 with the closing half in 57.1 and 400 in 27.1.
“He’s still quite green in a lot of ways - he’s had only 11 starts - and he’s got a few little issues.
“But I like the horse, he’s got the raw ability to win a race or two up here.
“He’s genuine enough. He blew like hell afterwards which tells me he tried hard.’’
Governor’s Bay, winner of two races in imprressive style when trained by Tom Bagrie in Canterbury, had obviously enjoyed being “in the winterless north,” says Green.
“He’s a bit porky. He’s put on a lot of weight in a couple of weeks.
“It’s still a big learning curve for us with him. But you can see from his form that he rarely runs a bad race so he’s obviously got a big motor.
“It’s his first time right handed on Friday and I’ll be running him with pull down blinds after what he did at the trials.’’
Governor’s Bay will start from the inside of the second row, which could make things interesting for Butcher. The horse he follows, southerner Rocknroll Rod, has good gate speed but struggled with the Alexandra Park bends last week.
Three honest races
Green is expecting another solid run from Just Wing It who gets gate five in the fourth race for junior drivers.
Just Wing It, who has notched a win, a second and a third in his only three starts for Green, will be driven by stable junior Andrew Drake and Green says if he can land a good trip there’s no reason why the horse can’t pay another dividend.
“The winner of his race last week (Benson Boys) ran 2:40 and they don’t go much faster than that so to run on for third was a good effort.
“He’s gone three honest races so far.’’
In pacing 2:41.3 last week Just Wing It paced his last mile in 1:57.7, with closing sectionals of 55.7 and 27.8.
Green labels Hilary Barry only a runner’s chance for Drake from the outside of the arm in the last race.
“Mark Purdon’s monsters aren’t there which gives everyone else a chance but she’ll find it tough from the draw.
“Unless she’s very lucky it’s not a good scenario. If Andrew goes forward and uses her petrol it will be hard and if he goes back she’ll get nothing.’’
Hilary Barry, with a formline 5767, ran a close third at the workouts at Pukekohe last Saturday, coming from last on the home turn to run race rivals Delightful Catherine and Ab Fab to two heads, the mile heat run in a slick 2:01.8.
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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.”