Yuk! Tommy right up against it from the outside but Al warns to watch the Hustler go
Trainer Mark Dux has a word of warning for punters contemplating backing Tommy Lincoln at Albion Park on Saturday night.
“You’ll be taking your chances as there’s a good chance he’ll get a bad trip.”
While Tommy is the second lowest rated pacer in the field, he has been dealt the worst draw - on the outside of the gate.
That’s because the barriers were decided by the horses’ earnings in their last five starts - and Tommy has been slaying it in the last five weeks with three wins and a third.
It matters not that Tommy’s wins have been against a lesser class and that he’s a rating 98 horse compared with others who are ranked up to R119.
“It’s not really fair,” says Dux. “If they’d based it on ratings we’d have been laughing. (Tommy would have drawn two and been a definite contender in his favourite role on the front end.)
“We are right up against it from the draw because we don’t know where he’ll be (in the running).
“I’m sure he can’t lead from out there and if he ends up back in the field and they go slow, it will make it very tough for him.”
Dux welcomed news that Al Barnes is talking a big game with former Lincoln Farms’ flagbearer Northview Hustler, signalling he’ll be leading and running time.
“Will The Wizard (gate three) also has a lot of gate speed and could pressure Northview Hustler. I’d be happy to see Al go hard and park him - it would be better for Tommy and suit a lot of the others too, like Mach Da Vinci.
“This is a fair bit harder than the races Tommy has been winning but he is going well and there’s no reason why he won’t race well again.
“As long as Angus (Garrard) can find a bit of cover for him I wouldn’t write him off completely.”
Dux says despite racing on each of the last five Saturdays, and having some hard runs, Tommy is showing no sign of being tired.
Last Saturday he led, ripped a middle half in 55.3, and cruised home to beat Mach Da Vinci by 2.9 metres in a 1:54.9 mile rate for the 2138 metres.
“He’s actually doing pretty well, nowhere near over the top, but this will be a hard race for him so I might miss next Saturday and give him an easier week.”
Trained to the minute
Barnes, who bought Lincoln Farms out of Northview Hustler at the end of his last campaign when he was really struggling with ongoing fetlock joint and tendon problems, believes he has the veteran “trained to the minute”.
“He’s jumping out of his skin and will be very hard to beat,” Barnes said.
“When we injected his joints last Thursday it was the first time in two years that they’ve been clean. The vet was amazed at how good they were.
“He’s put on bulk and looks a million dollars.”
Barnes says with long time state champ Colt Thirty One past his best there’s an opening now for a new pacer to dominate the free-for-all ranks.
“I want to make a statement on Saturday and get a bit of respect back for the Hustler and show them he’s back.
“It will be a good race, there’ll be no walking.
“I hope they’re not upset when I park Tommy!”
* Waikato groupies Carl Officer and Stu Cappie retained a small share in Northview Hustler when he was sold in April.
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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.”