Sir Lincoln will tackle a stellar field in tonight’s Gr II SkyCity Flying Mile at Cambridge, writes Garrick Knight.
It’s been a testing season so far for West Auckland horseman Ray Green and his star pacer Sir Lincoln.
The winner of three Gr I races, including last season’s Auckland Cup, has only raced three times this season owing to a niggling virus.
While having utmost confidence in his horse’s ability, Green has reservations about Sir Lincoln’s prospects in tonight’s Gr II $60,000 SkyCity Flying Mile at Cambridge.
‘‘He hasn’t raced since the Franklin Cup [on December 7] so he’s not going to be 100 per cent for this,’’ Green said.
‘‘We decided not to race him on New Year’s Eve as we felt he just wasn’t quite ready. But he has really picked up in the last week or so and I am much happier with him.’’
Green had aspirations of winning the New Zealand Cup this season but those were put aside not long after a pipe-opening win in the Spring Cup in September.
‘‘We went south and he got sick down there,’’ Green said.
‘‘It was a hell trip back and it took a long time to get him right.’’
Sir Lincoln has drawn the outside of the mobile arm over the sprint trip and that will likely see him drop back at the start, against his usual style.
Up-and-coming star Smolda, who set the all-comers New Zealand mile record of 1:52.1 at the Harness Jewels meeting at Cambridge in June, has drawn ideally at two and will start a short favourite.
In what is an excellent field for the Cambridge-Te Awamutu Harness Racing Club’s blue-riband event, Gold Ace returns from a Victoria Cup tilt to take his place and Auckland Reactor resumes after a disappointing showing in the New Zealand Cup.
Auckland Reactor offers a means for comparison for Green when it comes to looking towards Sir Lincoln’s future and when to go to stud.
‘‘They over-priced Auckland Reactor when he first went to stud. I think they got two bookings at his marketed price.’’
Not wanting that to happen to Sir Lincoln, Green is in constant discussions with the entire’s owners about when the right time is to retire the son of Mach Three.
‘‘We have a stronger pedigree [than Auckland Reactor], being on the same cross as Somebeachsomewhere. But I personally be quite happy to push on for another year and keep racing. Perhaps tackle the New Zealand Cup.
‘‘At this point in time the owner’s have it in their minds to go to stud at the end of this season but who knows, you never say never.’’
In the short term, Green is considering the Interdominion heat at Alexandra Park next month and then either the A$750,000 final in Melbourne on March 3 or the $250,000 Auckland Cup five days later.
‘‘There is nothing much for him so we will just nominate and see where he ends up,’’ Green said.
The other feature on tonight’s card is the $25,000 Dunstan Sweet Mix Mobile Trot, which provides the chance for Escapee, Dr Hook or Cambridge stars Sovereignty and Charlemagne to get a winner’s cheque in the absence of Stig and I Can Doosit.
- © Fairfax NZ News