Trojan supersonic in fourth straight win and Al declares: ‘He’s a lot better than I thought’
Trojan Banner exceeded all trainer Al Barnes’ expectations with his supersonic win at Albion Park today.
It wasn’t just that the Lincoln Farms three-year-old notched his fourth straight win. It was the way he did it that now has Barnes believing he has a real live chance for the Queensland Derby.
“He’s a lot better than I thought he was. I always said he’d be a nice horse here and could run in the derbies but on that effort today he’ll be a real live chance in them.
“You wouldn’t have thought you could have driven him like that and won. On any normal horse you’d say it was a terrible drive but he’s just got so much heart.’’
Barnes said his driver son Hayden came back with a big smile and was pretty happy with himself.
“We had to set him a task today to find out what his bottom is, and we didn’t find it.’’
Allowed to flop out of the gate to second last from his wide second row draw, Barnes pushed the button on Trojan Banner after only 400 metres.
Ripping round the field, and forced four wide down the straight to get round Brian Who, he landed alongside the leader with a lap to run.
With the first quarter run in a slick 28, you would have expected the petrol gauge to be dropping.
“But Hayden said he felt super down the back when he put his head in front. He was really travelling and the leader was struggling.’’
Incredibly, while Trojan Banner shot five metres clear turning for home, Barnes said the horse again started to wait for his rivals.
“It’s hard to say he had a bit of a cheat when he’s won so well, but he did knock off again.’’
Barnes had intended fitting the horse with pull down blinds but when it looked like he’d be doing a lot of chasing from the draw he left them off today.
“We honestly didn’t know how the race would pan out. We can keep the blinds up our sleeve now for when he really needs them.’’
Despite going easy on this rivals, Trojan Banner scored by two metres in a mile rate of 1:54.5, with closing sectionals of 57.6 and 29.7. The total time for the 1660 metres was a fast 1:58.1.
“He’s had soft wins until now but that run today will earn him so much respect,’’ Barnes said.
“It looks like we’ll have some pretty decent form going into the derby but we’ll have to put him away soon for a couple of weeks.’’
It was important to have the horse in the best condition for the A$75,000 Queensland Derby on July 20.
“It’s hard to put the horse out when he’s going so well, especially when he’s thriving, but we either have to space his races or give him a couple of weeks off.’’
Barnes says at this stage Trojan Banner could race again next Friday but he would wait to see how he pulled up.
Barnes was rapt for Trojan Banner’s big group of New Zealand owners that he could bag four wins on end since arriving in Queensland.
The A$3394 stake today took his earnings in four starts to A$13,576 and the Marburg trainer says there should be plenty more to come.
“Winning races certainly will be giving him confidence. I’m not sure why he’s going better than in New Zealand. It’s a different style of racing here but he’s also pacing a little better I think. He was feeling a few niggles.’’
Trojan Banner’s career stats now stand at seven wins from 21 starts for stakes of $43,582.
More news in Harness
Ray: It’s a lottery on Friday night and my trio will need a lot of luck from their poor draws
Cranbourne Gold Cup big step-up for Make Way who’s just the new kid on the block
A little tinkering and Ray will have his three babies ready for the first Young Guns heat
Back to Cambridge, from a good draw, Double Or Nothing will be hard to run down
Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them
Thursday night at Cambridge
Race 6: Double Or Nothing
“He’s got very good gate speed and from the draw is definitely an each way chance. It’s a huge drop in class for him.”
Race 8 : Lindi Lincoln
“We found she had a virus last time and treated her. She may need the run but she should get an economical run and will go a good race.”
Friday night at Auckland
Race 3: Hampton Banner
“He won well last time but, while he’s an improver, he has yet to meet a field of this quality so is just on the watch list.”
Race 3: Line Up
“He trialled up very well at the weekend and is in good shape. But he’ll have to go back at the start from eight so will need luck.”
Race 3: Copy That
“He’s at the mercy of the one in front of him. But if Cloud Break leaves fast (as he can), he could get a nice drag along. He was very good at the workouts and I’m very happy with him.”
Race 4: The Empress
“I’ve thrown her in the deep end but she has a bit of gate speed so should be able to stay handy from one. If she can finish in the first four of five I’ll be very pleased.”
Race 5: Ace Commander
“He never got a crack at them last week - Blair (Orange) had to virtually stand him on his ear in the home straight and said afterwards he thought he could have been right in it. He’s been feeling good this week and will go well with the right trip.”
Saturday night at Cranbourne
Race 7: Make Way
11.37pm NZ time
“It’s going to be a hard race for him to win - he’s only a four-year-old who’s the new kid on the block - and he’s never been against these horses before, some of whom are already racing on the Grand Circuit. But I’m hopeful he’ll be competitive and, with the right trip, it wouldn’t surprise me if he was right there at the finish.”