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Trainer Ray Green and driver Maurice McKendry compare notes on Sugar Ray Lincoln’s run.

Unanimous decision by Ray and Maurice - Sugar Ray’s the real deal all right

He didn’t win - but you wouldn’t have known it judging by the way trainer Ray Green and driver Maurice McKendry were talking.

That Sugar Ray Lincoln had inherited plenty of older brother Copy That’s rare ability was not in doubt when the pair shared their views on the merit of his run for second at Alexandra Park on Friday night.

Sugar Ray Lincoln, second from right, fights back for second.Sugar Ray Lincoln, second from right, fights back for second.Forced to sit parked for the last lap after an aborted attack for the front, Sugar Ray boxed on bravely to fight his way into second, running a mile rate of 1:57.5, five seconds faster than his stablemate Lincoln Lou clocked in winning a couple of races earlier.

“He’s serious, the real deal,” McKendry said. “And once he learns what to do after a few runs we’ll see a very nice horse.”

Green was thrilled with the debut performance and the way McKendry handled the inexperienced colt, giving him just one little tap up the home straight.

“Coming across the top I thought if he ran third it would be a good run,” Green said.

But Sugar Ray did better than that, outmuscling by a head the favourite I Got Chills who had denied him the lead in their stoush just before the bell.

I Got Chills and Zachary Butcher say no to Maurice McKendry and Sugar Ray Lincoln as they come looking for the lead a lap from home.I Got Chills and Zachary Butcher say no to Maurice McKendry and Sugar Ray Lincoln as they come looking for the lead a lap from home.“We buzzed a bit there,” said McKendry who came out from three pegs to avoid being trapped.

Asked by Green if the two-year-old paced well, McKendry relied yes, barring a brief few steps soon after the start.

Forced to ease the colt when eventual winner Confederate managed to squeeze into the trail ahead of him, McKendry said Sugar Ray got a bit bunched up. “He went rough, put in a funny wee step, and touched the cart.”

When prompted that he might need his cart hitched further out, Green noted Sugar Ray was well on his way to growing into a nice, big horse.

“He’s come to it quickly, hasn’t he Ray,” McKendry said. “He went 1:59 the other day and tonight he’s down to 1:57.5.”

McKendry brings Sugar Ray back after his terrific debut.McKendry brings Sugar Ray back after his terrific debut.Green delighted in answering McKendry when asked how much the horse cost: “We got him for $60,000. I thought he was the best colt in the sale and would be $300,000. But people don’t think lightning can strike twice in the same place.”

Sugar Ray, with earnings of $2325, still has a way to go yet, however, before he catches his older brother Copy That, winner of 33 races and more than $2 million.

Our runners this week

Saturday night at Albion Park

Captain Nemo.

Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Thursday night at Cambridge

Race 1: Major Achievement
5.19pm

“It’s his first race for a while and he hasn’t been setting the world on fire at the workouts. But he’s been racing better animals and this isn’t a stellar bunch. He’s a chance if things go his way. I’ve given Mathew Salaivao the drive.”

Race 1: Commander Lincoln
5.19pm

“He’s an average horse but the last time he raced here in amateur company he all but won. He’ll need luck from the second row but, while I couldn’t label him, he’s a runner’s chance.”

Race 5: Onyx Shard
6.59pm

“She got a bit sick for a while with a virus and I had to back off her. She seems over that now but I’m picking she’ll need a race. This will be like a glorified trial for her.”

Race 8: My Copy
8.14pm

“He came to the end of it so I gave him a little freshen-up and he seems in good shape again. It will be interesting to see how he goes fresh - he may need a race but he’ll appreciate the step-down in class. I’m running him here so he doesn’t come up against any bear cats first-up.”

Race 9: Lincoln Cove
8.47pm

“Hopefully he’s getting better but you’ve just got to take him on trust. He has ability but the desire has been sadly lacking. Zac will have to sit quietly on him as he broke when given only one tap with the stick last time. The small field will suit him as he won’t be too far off them. If he doesn’t make any mistakes, he’ll give them a fright.”

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Friday night at Auckland

Race 3: Leo Lincoln
6.43pm

“Maurice said he would have finished a lot closer last time than sixth (fourth or even third) had he not locked wheels at the 100. That took all his momentum away. He’s been holding his form well and he gets out well enough to use the inside draw. He’s a chance to get some of the money.”

Race 5: Sugar Ray Lincoln
7.39pm

“He did have marks on his boot after his last run and trying a spreader on him has helped. But he’s a real baby. He has real ability but he’s still developing mentally and physically and we’re still finding our way with him.”

Race 5: Lincoln Lou
7.39pm

“He’s racing well but he’ll find it tough from the outside draw.”

Race 6: Debbie Lincoln
8.07pm

“I can’t see her improving enough to give the Purdon/Phelan trio a fright. She can go (fast) enough but still has a lot to learn. The main thing for her is getting round safely. She’s put two in a row now so hopefully she’ll start improving.”

Race 10: Lincoln La Moose
9.59pm

“He had an excuse last time - he got wiped out on the first corner and that was the end of his race. I like him, he’s a nice horse, just not quite as experienced as Frisco Bay.”

Race 10: Frisco Bay
9.59pm

“I lean towards Frisky as the better chance of our two. You can’t fault what he did the other night at Cambridge, and he seems to be on the improve. He’s more reliable than Lincoln La Moose.”

Whales Harness