Whoosh! Trojan Banner scorches past trial rivals like a ready-made winner
Trojan Banner will make his Queensland debut on Tuesday week after thrilling his new trainer and driver in Friday’s trial at Albion Park.
Lincoln Farms’ three-year-old came from the tail of the field in the home straight and roared past his rivals, showing trainer Al Barnes even more speed than he thought he had.
“I didn’t think he could sprint that sharply,’’ said Barnes after Trojan Banner clocked a 1:57 mile rate in winning the 1660 metre trial by 2.3 metres, going away.
In the trail early for Barnes’ son Hayden, Trojan Banner ended up three back and in a hopeless possie turning for home.
“Hayden was a bit worried he wasn’t going to get a crack at them so he grabbed hold, went back and hooked out wide.
“He was rapt afterwards about how easily he did it.’’
Barnes said his other son Brendan was quick to run over and say: ‘I hope Hayden doesn’t want to drive that one’.
“But Hayden has first choice and he was pretty excited about the horse.
“He did it comfortably and could quite easily have gone a 1:54 or 1:55 mile.
“He steered well, hung in a little bit - but that could be because he’s only 90 percent fit - and handled the track well.
“That will tighten him up nicely and he can run on Tuesday week in a three-year-old race.
“Judging by that effort today he might have just as much speed as stamina.’’
Trojan Banner had no trouble running past Much Bettor, who has won four of his 11 starts, but his steady sectionals suggested he was simply too good for his rivals - his four quarters were run in 29.8, 29.2, 28.9 and 29.4.
Our Hi Jinx, a former Kiwi, won the previous heat in a 1:55.5 mile rate, home in 27.6.
“He’s one of the better free-for-allers over here,’’ Barnes said of the 19-race winner.
Trojan Banner is still owned by Lincoln Farms and a big partnership, including the 23-strong Green Machine Syndicate who race Friday night’s Auckland winner Celtic Thunder.
Their partners include the Four Legs Syndicate, a group of eight Waikato battlers who also share in Northview Hustler, Addington racing manager Brian Rabbitt and his sister Margaret, Joe and Raewyn Chojnacki and Lincoln Farms’ own team - owners John and Lynne Street, business manager Ian Middleton and office staffer Merle Gradwell.
More news in Harness
Al on today’s demolition: What will Trojan do when he’s fully fit and stops waiting for them?
Ants: Make Way ‘won with a leg in the air’ - and there’s plenty more in store
The incredible hulk Governor’s Bay steps out at Auckland on Friday with Ray only guessing
More tests for Zealand Star after sudden lameness baffles Green
Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them
Thursday night at Penrith
Race 4: Vasari
9.33pm NZ time
“He’s been going good races from bad draws and, if he can lead from one, he’ll be awfully hard to beat.’’
Race 6: Make Way
10.33pm NZ time
“He seems back to his best again. He’s really bright in himself and is bouncing around. He had an easy time for a while with his cough, and it’s possible he’ll need the run, but he’s not far away and from the front he’d be hard to beat.’’
Friday at Albion Park
Race 3: Trojan Banner
4.57pm NZ time
“The draw is horrible and makes it very tough for him. The horse in front of him is a slug off the gate and if we follow him we could end up three or four deep. At least over 2138 metres you have a little time up your sleeve. You can grab hold, pop off, give them a little breather in the second quarter, then take it as it comes. He has improved greatly since his last run but he’s still not at his peak and I’m reluctant to pressure him too much second-up by looping the field.’’
Friday night at Auckland
Race 4: Just Wing It
“If he can land a good trip (from five) there’s no reason why he can’t pay another dividend. He’s gone three honest races so far. 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.”
Race 5: Governor’s Bay
“I like the horse, he’s got the raw ability to win a race or two up here. He blew like hell after his workout on Saturday which tells me he tried hard and he’s a bit porky. He’s put on a lot of weight in a couple of weeks. It’s his first time right handed on Friday and I’ll be running him with pull down blinds after he knocked off at the trials.’’
Race 9: Hilary Barry
“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.’’