You’ve got to follow Zachary’s lead again so Jolimont gets the nod over Frankie Major
Zachary Butcher’s confidence in Frankie Major was realised at Cambridge when the horse won with a leg in the air - and his jumping ship to drive Jolimont at Auckand on Friday night is an equally persuasive guide.
While Butcher never moved on Frankie Major in his three length demolition last week, Lincoln Farms’ three-year-old jumps significantly in grade in the fifth race this week.
And with Frankie drawn the inside of the second row and Arna Donnelly’s Jolimont in four, Butcher looks well placed to extend his position as the leading northern reinsman this season.
Two starts back at Auckland when Frankie Major ran seventh, and stablemate Lincoln River fifth, Jolimont turned in the run of the race behind electric Northern Three-Year-Old Stakes winner Sooner The Bettor.
Despite having to sit parked for the first lap, Jolimont was beaten only a neck, pacing the 2200 metres in a sizzling 2:39, clocking 1:56.8 for his last mile, 55.7 for the 800 and 27.3 for the 400, doing his best work late in his first race for five months.
Butcher will be having his first drive on Jolimont while it will be Monika Ranger’s fourth time behind Frankie Major for trainer Ray Green.
“Monnie knows the horse well and if he got a half decent trip he’d be right there,” Green said. “But there are two or three really nice ones in the field who could be better.”
That sums up the likely night ahead for Lincoln Farms, Green saying while most are capable of winning, none could be labelled serious winning chances.
Lincoln River’s gate seven in Frankie Major’s race is likely to consign him to the also-rans again.
“If there’s a bad trip to be had, he’ll find it,” Green said of the three-year-old who was parked for the last 1200 metres of the Northern Three-Year-Old Stakes.
“But when he finally gets a trip, he’ll get a big slice of the money.”
Simply Sam is also racing well but only the most optimistic would tip him as the winner of the feature race of the night, the Holmes D G.
“He’s not the worst,” Green said. “His standing start manners are impeccable and that will help him. He seems to be getting stronger and stronger and hopefully he can fill a hole again this week.”
Simply Sam ran a career high in the Spring Cup last start at Auckland when he trailed third in the running and was best of the rest behind Fernleigh Cash.
Ninth race runner Lenny Lincoln could be the best of the night after his improver’s second behind Always B Elite at Cambridge last week.
“He went super last time,” Green said. “He got a good suck along and never left the fence but if the horse he was following had kicked on a bit more he could have won it.”
Three back on the pegs, Lenny Lincoln was held up early in the run home and, when angled into the clear, charged home to be beaten only three-quarters of a length.
“He’ll be looking for a trip and a bit of luck.”
While the field is small and devoid of form it contains two likely debutants in the Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan-trained Duchess Megxit and Tony Herlihy’s My Way.
Sweet Lou filly Duchess Megxit looked an early winner when pipped by stablemate Better Knuckle Up after leading at the Pukekohe workouts last Friday.
My Way has be respected on his breeding along, being by Art Major out of former champion filly Partyon who won her first 10 races on end.
My Way wasn’t pushed when fifth behind Lenny Lincoln at the workouts on September 23.
The biggest cheer of the night will be reserved for the fourth race, however, when Green’s own My Copy looks a good chance to cap strong recent form with a win.
The little brother to the injured Copy That comes off two recent seconds behind Hugotastic and D J Rock and is overdue a winning turn.
“He was nailed only by the horse up the passing lane las time and hasn’t gone a bad race this time in,” Green said. “He’s in good shape.”
My Copy did plenty of work early last start at Auckland, three wide to the death, before ending up in the one-one. But he was pushed three and four wide turning for home and came with a wet sail with closing splits of 56.7 and 27.3 to be beaten only three-quarters of a length.
Green said things would have to go perfectly for stablemate Riverboy Ben, stranded again on the second row.
“He was a victim of the draw at Cambridge and the same looks likely to happen again.”
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At last, Argyle gets the pole on Saturday night and Mark reckons it’s his big chance to salute
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.”