We salute Perfect Stride as Green team troops parade for mile night at Auckland
Breeders Crown-bound Perfect Stride spearheads a combatitive platoon of Lincoln Farms’ pacers for mile night at Auckland on Friday.
Perfect Stride tackles the fifth race in his final lead-up to the rich age group series in Victoria and while he will be opposed by Lincoln Farms’ newest southern recruit Bettor My Dreamz, trainer Ray Green thinks he holds the edge.
“With the speed he’s got, he’s the better of the pair at this stage. The mile will really suit him and he’ll be better for his last start win.”
That win showcased the two-year-old’s rare brand of speed when he looped the field five wide round the home turn and put the race to bed in a few strides for driver Zachary Butcher.
It also sealed the colt’s trip to Melbourne where he will continue his career after the Breeders Crown which culminates in the final at Melton on August 24.
Three-year-old Bettor My Dreamz has had two workouts since owner Merv Butterworth sent him north to Pukekohe, winning the first then running fourth, albeit after being wiped out on the home bend.
“He’ll go a good race - he trained quite well on Tuesday morning - but he’ll need a run or two before we see the best of him.”
Bettor My Dreamz, winner of two of his only four starts when trained by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, had his first race for seven months at Invercargill on June 8, well short on fitness when running fourth.
But he is a speedy customer, suited to mile racing, claiming the fourth fastest winning time of all three-year-old colts and geldings this season. His winning mile rate of 1:55.6 over 1980 metres at Addington has been bettered only by Ultimate Sniper, Major Trojan and Bettorstartdreaming.
Lincoln Farms’ other three chances Double Or Nothing (race one), The Bull Pen (race six) and Sir Tiger (race eight) have all been gifted winning mile draws, setting them up for likely favouritism.
“On paper it looks good for us,” says Green. “A couple of them might be a bit short (on fitness), as they had an easy week, but the shorter distance negates that somewhat.”
Double Or Nothing is one who will be suited by the short trip, with his electric early speed and ability to race on the pace.
In gate three he has No. 1 danger and fellow Sweet Lou juvenile Mighty Looee inside him but Double Or Nothing brings an unblemished formline and fine last start second to talented stablemate Copy That.
Yet to finish further back than fourth in eight starts, and placed five times, Double Or Nothing comes into the race fresh - he last raced on June 7 - but was primed with a tidy workout win on July 13.
Bull best with races spaced
Being fresher will only benefit The Bull Pen, who faces higher rated horses but gets a perfect two draw.
Green believes punters should overlook The Bull Pen’s seemingly flat last start sixth - his third run in as many weeks - and rate him on his previous excellent third to The Devils Own and Juice Brogden (a rival again) in the Winter Cup.
“We’ve got a theory that he performs better if we don’t dig him up week after week.
“He’ll be very competitive in that race. He’s raced well against nicer horses before.”
Green says you can bank on another honest race from Sir Tiger who will get every chance from the pole in the eighth race.
It’s seven weeks since Sir Tiger broke through for a well deserved win at Cambridge, which followed his Sire Stakes Final brutalising by One Change in a 1:53.4 mile rate at Addington, the only glitch in Sir Tiger’s form all season.
The Sir Lincoln two-year-old limbered up for Friday when second at the Pukekohe workouts last Saturday, nailed late by Barry Purdon’s useful three-year-old Sole Ambition.
“He seems to be coming to it and he’ll be competitive.”
More news in Harness
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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
Why Lincoln Farms had to buy lot 68 - his older brother Lincoln Lou is ready to rock
Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them
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.”