Zac’s laughing as Ray’s gear tweak works wonders for Governor’s Bay
“We’re laughing Ray.’’
Zachary Butcher’s initial reaction to the way Governor’s Bay trialled at Pukekohe today said it all.
Trainer Ray Green has been tinkering with the incredible hulk’s gear since he won first-up for the stable at Auckland, trying to stop him from locking badly on one rein.
And today, wearing blinkers and a Murphy blind over his right eye, Governor’s Bay steered brilliantly for Butcher when running second to Ideal Star in a 2050 metre heat for rating 62 and faster pacers.
“He was perfect and I only sat on him,’’ Butcher reported as he handed over the reins on the impressive looking five-year-old.
Butcher was impressed by the speed Governor’s Bay showed out of the gate to lead, before taking a trail behind Ideal Star.
But it was the way the horse travelled in the running, and the ease of which he closed on the leader on a slashing 26.5 last quarter that was best of all.
“I think he’ll step up,’’ said Butcher of Governor’s Bay, who advanced to a 62 rating with his March 22 win in rating 40-55 grade.
Governor’s Bay, clocked to run his last 800 metres in 57.7 went down by only half a length to Ideal Star, who is a rating 71 pacer with four wins to his credit for trainer John and Josh Dickie.
The pair ran the trip in 2:33.9, a good mile rate of 2:01.6, with three lengths to Karmic Way, now with Robert Dunn, and another two lengths to Arna Donnelly’s Baquero.
Green was chuffed to see how much the horse had improved since his first run in the north, and that he is holding his condition so well.
“He’s been well vetted in the past down south and probably has a few little issues but nothing that we can’t manage.’’
Just like after his race last week, Governor’s Bay had a good blow, Green noting he was quite a thick winded horse.
Hilary beats the boys
Hilary Barry showed more like her true ability when dashing up the markers to beat the boys in the two-year-old heat over 2050 metres.
Driver Craig Sharpe had the filly third in the five-horse field and when Todd MacFarlane came out of the trail on Harvey Specter across the top bend to challenge he salooned up the inner to grab leader Thumbs Up (Butcher) by half a head.
“She knocked off the last bit,’’ says Sharpe. “But I didn’t knock her around. We only went 32.5 down the back and she travelled well the whole way.’’
Green said Hilary Barry was better than her form suggested - “They’ve broken records in most of the races she’s been in (behind Sweet On Me).
“When she gets into a maiden she’ll be quite competitive.’’
Hilary Barry clocked 2:42.7 for the heat, a mile rate of 2:07.7, with closing sectionals of 61.5 and 28.3.
The eye-catching run behind Hilary Barry was undoubtedly that of stablemate Sir Tiger, who came from last on the home turn to finish third, only a length behind the first pair.
“He got to the line very strongly,’’ said driver Andre Poutama.
Poutama reported the horse was getting in a little and Green will combat this in his next race with a pole.
Green suspects Sir Tiger might have to contest a maiden soon too, given the lack of two-year-olds racing, and the fact his race was canned last week.
“He’s a lovely horse, a proper racehorse.’’
Just Wing It, who has done nothing wrong in four starts for Green since being sent north by owner Merv Butterworth, made his first mistake in the rating 54-56 2050 metre heat.
The horse was travelling well early for stand-in driver Tony Cameron, then inexplicably broke on the stables corner.
He was out the back by the time he settled down and while he paced well to the finish he was well behind the first three home in a photo finish, Starry Star, Big On Personality and To Sir With Love.
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.”