Wow! Line Up puts them to bed and romance begins with some sweet talking from Zachary
Ace driver Zachary Butcher gave Line Up the ultimate compliment after his electric win at Alexandra Park on Friday night.
In just his second race start, and first for seven months, the classy looking Bettor’s Delight three-year-old showed an electric turn of speed four wide round the home turn to round up his rivals in a 1:56 mile.
And that prompted Butcher to liken the horse to a champion filly who captured all the headlines last season both here and across the Tasman.
“Potentially he feels like he’s got Belle On Montana speed,” Butcher said, a huge rap considering the Barry Purdon-trained filly won nine of her 12 starts, including four Group One features, unleashing terrific bursts of speed that destroyed her rivals.
“He’s just got so much speed and what I like most is how easily he does it. When you pull out he cruises up to them. We went 1:56 and it felt to me like he was walking.”
Butcher said horses as fast as Line Up were few and far between.
“What you need is speed and, if you can follow speed, then show more speed, that’s a killer.
“I’ve been lucky enough to drive a few over the years and he wouldn’t be worse than some of the best I’ve driven.
“Whether he’ll go up to the next level remains to be seen but we haven’t found the bottom of the tank with him yet - and hopefully that doesn’t arrive.”
Butcher reported Line Up raced far more tractably on Friday night after the removal of his block blinkers - “he was getting a bit racy with them on”.
And even though the colt was bolting at the 600 “and tried to take off, he came back to me 50 metres later.”
Butcher said Line Up just had to learn to wait but considering he’d raced only twice it was natural that ringcraft would come with further racing.
“Hopefully as the year progresses he will too and he’ll cop the racing.”
But Butcher felt enough on Friday night to know Line Up will be ultra competitive in the upcoming Sires’ Stakes series, which opens in the north at Cambridge on October 3.
When Line Up took off from his one out-three back possie 400 metres from home, and zoomed around the field four wide, tactics which are almost always fatal at Auckland, he put paid to his rivals in a twinkling.
“I was just sitting on him. We got a length in front, I whipped out the plugs and gave him one smack, and he took off again.
“That’s just a Bettor’s Delight trait - they knock off but when you ask them to go again, they do.”
At the post Line Up was cruising, even commentator Aaron White noting he had a couple of gears left, Butcher sitting quietly while chasing driver Peter Ferguson was throwing the reins at runner-up Megastar to get within a flattering three-quarters of a length.
With the leaders closing in 57.6 and 28 it was all too easy for Line Up, Butcher saying the race was always going to be just a building block for the future.
Trainer Ray Green confirmed he was aiming for the top with Line Up.
“Everything he’s done so far points to him being a top line horse but until he beats something good we won’t make any rash statements. They all look good going past trees and it wasn’t an awe inspiring time that he ran.
“But he’s an extremely nice horse, with untapped ability, and the potential to be anything. I’m very happy to have him in our barn.
“Copy That’s not far off being as good as well but whether they’re good enough to beat Mark Purdon’s ones we’ll find out in time.”
Line Up, bought for $130,000 as a yearling by Lincoln Farms’ boss John Street, now races under the name of Australians Emilio and Mary Rosati after his high priced sale in January.
He has the pedigree to be a big winner, being a full brother to Partyon, who took the Two-Year-Old Harness Jewels Diamond at just her second start, won her first 10 races in a row, and retired with 17 wins and $658,478 in stakes.
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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.”