Tough draws and tough fields make it hard for Captain Nemo and Argyle on Saturday night
Captain Nemo still has the knife hanging over his head but on Saturday night in a tough field, from a tough draw, trainer Mark Dux won’t be condemning him if he fails.
And neither will Dux slate Argyle if he doesn’t get a go in his race at Albion Park given he has also drawn to need a lot of luck.
Dux says it’s a shame both horses look to have very difficult tasks, given how well they raced at their last starts.
Captain Nemo staved off being gelded when he came from last with a big late run to be pipped just a metre, and Argyle put his previous shocking run behind him with a gutsy second, denied by just a head.
Dux says from three on the second row this week, Angus Garrard will drive Captain Nemo cold again.
“They did go hard early last time, which suited him, but we’ll drive him quietly again and let him run home, that’s all we can do.
“I know you can’t win from the back but we can’t launch all the time, we’ve got to pick our race.
“He’s got nothing going for him on Saturday but I still think he’ll race well as he came through the run well and his work has been good. But he’ll need a lot of luck.”
Dux says the question of whether to geld Captain Nemo is always in the back of his mind but he should escape execution this week.
Argyle, who is handicapped by the inside second row draw in the seventh race, thrilled Dux with his turnaround in form last week.
Three wide to the death early, Argyle fought bravely in the stretch, topped off late only by the horse who had enjoyed a perfect trail.
“He had to do a bit of work but he pulled up super, the best ever. He blew for ages after his previous race (when Dux believes he cut off his wind) but it was like chalk and cheese last week. Within 20 minutes you wouldn’t have known he’d raced.
“It’s a tougher field this week but I’m not worried about dropping back to the shorter trip (1660m). We’ll just have to drive him for luck, follow through, play it by ear, and hope the splits come when we need them.
“You can’t drag all the way back and try to get to the outside. I’ve done that before and afterwards thought ‘that was a bad thing to do’.
“You never know, we might get off the fence and be able to work into the race.”
Dux reports Tommy Lincoln is having a 10-day freshener after his scheduled race this week again didn’t go ahead.
“He’s not tired, he doesn’t feel tired, but he’s been up a long time and a wee break won’t hurt him.
“He’ll be back in work next week.”
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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.”