Why Ray’s feeling ‘frisky’ for the first time in three months ahead of Alabar Classic night
Things are finally looking up for Ray Green who has multiple reasons for looking forward to returning to Alexandra Park on Friday night.
For the first time in more than three months since a near fatal kick to the stomach, Green says he is starting to feel more like his old self.
And his improvement nicely coincides with the debut of a promising two-year-old he co-owns in Frisco Bay and Neptune’s first test against the big guns in the night’s feature, the $45,000 Group II Alabar Classic.
Since his November 21 accident and a seven-hour operation when surgeons cut out a section of his colon, Green has endured a roller-coaster run with his health.
But after a second operation two weeks ago to remove his stoma bag and reconnect his colon, Green has been on an uphill plane.
“I had a few rough days after the operation but it was successful and now I’m starting to feel like I could do anything. I’ve got to be mindful I still have a gutful of stitches but I’m feeling almost normal.
“A lot of people are worse off than me. You’ve just got to accept what you’re dealt in life and get on with it.”
Downbytheseaside debutant Frisco Bay should certainly help with Green’s recovery and only a wide seven draw prevents him from labelling the colt in Friday night’s sixth race, the second Young Guns heat.
“If he’d drawn handier I would have been more confident but on what he’s done I’d like to think he can get some of the money.
“I’m pretty excited about Frisky. He’s a strong colt, who is unbeaten at the trials, and I think he’ll end up being a very tidy horse. He’s got a bit of class.”
Green bought Frisco Bay for just $9000 as a weanling, taking in Lincoln Farms’ owners John and Lynne Street as partners.
And the well muscled colt hasn’t put a foot wrong in his preparation, winning his first workout and three subsequent trials.
Last Saturday at Pukekohe Frisco Bay came from last and showed a very tidy turn of foot to reel in his three rivals, clocking 2:00.9 for the 1609 metres.
“Tony Herlihy’s one (Yourdoinamazinsweety) will obviously be hard to beat again but you can’t fault what Frisky has done.
“He’s got a long way to go before you can start making too much noise about him but he strikes me as the type who should improve, he’s a lovely horse.”
Neptune a lot stronger
Green is really looking forward to seeing what Neptune ($18, $3.80) can do in the Alabar Classic.
The winner of two of his nine starts, Neptune hasn’t raced for two months but during that time Green says he has really furnished.
“He has grown noticeably since his last preparation and improved immensely. He’s a lot stronger.”
The Bettor’s Delight - Safedra colt underlined that in the second of his two recent workouts last weekend when he outsped Friday’s race rivals Miki Shan and Seve, rattling off brilliant closing sectionals of 56.6 and 26.6.
“His workout was excellent, he got home really well, and he has the (ace) draw on Friday to get a good trip.
“It will be interesting to see where he fits in against the very best three-year-olds and this race will give us a good indication of where his future lies.
“But he’s pretty smart and I think he’ll measure up to those good ones.”
Lincoln Farms also lines up Lincoln River ($31, $5.50) in the Classic, another back from a break, but with a tricky five draw to overcome.
“He’s a good, honest horse. I can’t see him flogging the good ones but, if he gets a suck along, he’ll whack away at the finish.”
Lincoln River also won his weekend workout, running to the line strongly for Brianna Thomas to beat stablemate Colonel Lincoln, Nelson’s Boy and Midfrew Lucre, albeit in significantly slower time than Neptune.
Green says he’ll know more about what the immediate future holds for Young Guns contender Obadiah Dragon after Friday night.
Never a factor in the first heat at Cambridge, he started from the outside of the gate, had to go back to the rear, and was held up when looking for room turning in.
“You can ignore that run. He was the victim of the draw and his lack of experience.
“He’d always trialled on the front end and it would have been a shock to the system being out the back of the field and getting the backwash.”
On Friday the Fear The Dragon colt moves in to a nice spot of two on the gate but Green suspects he might not be as sharp as he’s been.
Obadiah Dragon trailed in his heat at Pukekohe last Saturday but had no answer when Frisco Bay challenged, only battling into third.
“He’s showing he could be feeling the pressure a little bit and he may need a bit of a break after this race.
“He’s a big, rangy colt and sometimes all their energy goes into growing.”
Ideal Kingdom and Riverman Sam give Lincoln Farms a two-pronged attack in the fourth race.
Ideal Kingdom, winner of two of his 11 starts, gets the pole, courtesy of being the lowest rated horse in the field.
“He should get a good trip from the draw,” says Green. “He hasn’t raced for a while though so he’ll improve off the run.
“He’s an honest little guy and he’s coming up OK.”
Ideal Kingdom led his workout heat last Saturday, run down in the last stride by Loutenant, posting useful sectionals of 57.5 and 27 on a 2:00.7 mile rate.
Riverman Sam, on the other hand, has to start from two on the second row, as one of the higher rated horses, but could be the better bet.
The seven-race winner has improved with every outing in recent weeks and last Friday at Cambridge fought gamely for fourth after making a rare move to loop the field and park 1500 metres out.
“The winner (Mr Kaplan) walked them then sprinted up the straight and Sam never stopped whacking away. I didn’t think he was disappointing at all.
“He’s definitely capable of beating most of these. He’s no champion but he’s a handy horse. He just needs circumstances a bit more in his favour.”
Green is hoping for an improved run from Next To Me who contests the opening race.
“He’s taking a long time to come back after he got sick but he’s gradually finding his feet again.
“He didn’t trial badly last Saturday - when third to Loutenant and Ideal Kingdom - he’ll just need some luck from gate five.”
Next To Me, a brother to Group I winners Maxim and Splendour, nearly died last July after a bad reaction to a viral medication.
More news in Harness
Better draw will help Frisco but Ray’s quartet for Friday all in early stages of new prep
Argyle salutes at last and Mark confident he’ll keep the till ticking over in the next grade
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
Our runners this week
Saturday night at Albion Park
Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them
Friday night at Auckland
Race 2: Frisco Bay
“He obviously needed the run last week. He pulled his way round the field and sat outside the leader but he couldn’t cop a run like that first-up and got tired. The ability is there, whether he’s fit enough or not we’ll find out. But I expect him to go well, the three draw is much better than last week.”
Race 2: Lenny Lincoln
“He’ll probably need a race but he’s capable of running a slot. He’s unlucky not to have won a race, all three of his seconds were good. He’s got a bit better with each of his trials this time in and he got home well last Saturday, after coming widest on the turn.”
Race 3: Obadiah Dragon
“The way the race was run at Cambridge last week, his effort wasn’t bad at all. Moni (Monika Ranger) said he felt strong and, if he’d been a few slots closer, he would have been right in it. He’ll be improved for the run.”
Race 3: Leo Lincoln
“He’s very consistent - he’s only missed a couple of cheques. But he’s another just coming back and should improve with the run.”