Zachary waxes lyrical about Line Up - he’s one serious colt worth following this season
Line Up didn’t win his heat at the Pukekohe workouts today but that didn’t stop top driver Zachary Butcher from raving about his ability.
And in Butcher’s biggest rap for the colt yet, he placed the horse a rung above Perfect Stride and Zeuss Bromac who last week finished third and fourth in the Breeders’ Crown Two-year-old Final at Melton in Melbourne.
“Zeuss and Perfect Stride are two nice horses but he gives you the feel that he’s always got some extra in the tank. Man, he felt nice today. That’s the best he’s paced and he’s got real speed.”
Allowed to settle second last in his six-horse heat, Line Up was still there, three back on the markers, turning for home.
But when clear, he powered to the line to finish four lengths behind all-the way winner Callie’s Delight, with stablemate The Empress a further two lengths back in third.
But what Butcher said next really stamped Line Up’s ability: “It’s a big call to make but I reckon if I’d really chased him up, I’d have caught the winner.”
When you consider Callie’s Delight clocked 2:37.9 for the 2050 metres, a mile rate of 2:03.9, and roared home in 56.8 and 26.6, that says a lot for Butcher’s rating of the colt.
“It’s hard to explain but there’s such a nice feeling about him.”
Later, as he washed down Line Up, and checked his heart rate at just 73, Butcher revealed it had been an easy run for the horse.
“He’s still growing. For the first half lap he was a bit crabby - but it’s just growing pains - and he paced so much better today (with this hopples pulled up a hole).
“We took the block blinds off him today and he was so much more tractable. He travelled well, dropped the rein perfectly, and didn’t want to run with everything.
“That workout will build him up. He’ll trial again next week when I’ll give him a good run.”
Trainer Ray Green looks to have timed his run to perfection with the colt who will have one lead-up race before the opening Sires’ Stakes heat at Cambridge on October 3.
Driver Andre Poutama was also suitably impressed with the run of The Empress whose Australian owners Merv and Meg Butterworth were on track to watch.
One out and one back, Poutama said the mare was initially reluctant to come off the back of The Blue Beat who was going roughly.
“But when it finally galloped on the turn she came off and went to the line strongly in 27.7, so I was quite happy.”
The Butterworths’ Bettor My Dreamz was also strong when third in an earlier 2500 metre heat which was run at supersonic pace.
The rating 68 and faster pace featured topliner Star Galleria but trainer-driver Steven Reid never allowed him to get into the action in his first workout this campaign - because stablemate Baileys Knight was going so fast in front.
Butcher himself had to abort a mid-race move to take the front on Bettor My Dreamz when learner driver Monika Ranger was unable to slow the leader, instead slotting into the trail.
Butcher timed the last 2400 metres of the heat in better than 2:58 - “they wouldn’t go that fast in a race.”
With the last 800 metres in 56.9 and 400 in 27.6, Butcher said he never pulled Bettor My Dreamz out but he went to the line well.
At the post the John and Josh Dickie-trained Bettorstartdreaming got the judge’s call, half a length in front of Baileys Knight, with a further length and a quarter to Bettor My Dreamz, the trip cut out in a very fast 3:08.7, a mile rate of 2:01.4.
Stablemate Just Wing It was a further two lengths astern in fourth, Poutama saying he was going beautifully until he starting flogging his knee and running out.
“As soon as he hit his knee he couldn’t keep it together. It unbalanced him and wrecked his action.
“It’s like he’s scared because he knows he’s going to hurt himself.”
Green agreed with Poutama that they should reinstate his one-legged spreader, which had been so effective earlier in keeping him off his knee.
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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.”