By Duane Ranger
If you thought the Tallegalla trainer Al Barnes was happy on Monday then you should have seen him shortly after 10.30 this morning (Tuesday).
Barnes, who has never won a Group One event, was over the moon following the draw for the Group One $250,000 TAB Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship and the Group One $100,000 TAB Queensland 3yo Derby.
Barnes' son Hayden will steer both Northview Hustler (Barrier 8) in the Blacks A Fake and Trojan Banner (Barrier 8) in the Derby.
“Eight is perfect for both of them. Just having a starter line up in any Group One race is bonus enough. Only the one draw would have been better, but even then they would have had to do work early," Barnes said.
“Now neither of them will have to go any further than they have to. They will be two-or-three deep the fence and will get their chance to make up ground along the markers or close to them – unlike recent runs where they have had to come wide from bad draws.
“I couldn’t be happier. A large contingent of people from Lincoln Farms (20-30) will be coming over from New Zealand to watch their horses run. I’m just so pleased they will get to see them have a fair crack at the opposition without having to go wide.
“I can’t believe it all really. Not long ago I was chasing around nillers, and now here I am in a Group One race competing against some of Australia and New Zealand” s best horses. Wow!”
Northview Hustler will be Barnes’ first starter in a Blacks A Fake, while Trojan Banner will be his second Queensland Derby starter.
Northview Hustler (8) opened up a $21 equal sixth favourite behind Tiger Tara (12) $2.60, Our Uncle Sam (2) $2.80, Colt Thirty One (11) $4.60, Alta Orlando (13) $12.
Trojan Banner (8) is also the equal sixth favourite at $101 and $8. That price has been magnified because the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained $1.40 favourite, Self Assured drew four.
Barnes expected Our Uncle Sam to lead and for Northview Hustler to end up three-deep on the fence.
“If that happens then he has proven that he’s got the sprint to be running on when it counts. He’s been going some great times in recent races. He was a brave fourth last week from the second line when they went 1:53.2 after a 26 first quarter. The 2,680m mobile is ideal for him," Barnes said.
“The 'lil fella (Trojan Banner) can also put in a big run as well. He gets to follow out Make Way and Anthony Butt which is very pleasing,” Barnes said.
Northview Hustler, who is a 5-year-old son of Bettor's delight and Northview Desire (By Real desire) has won 11 of his 49 starts and placed in seven others for $159,846 in stakes.
The black gelding has a three from eight at Albion Park compared to Trojan Banner, who has won seven of his nine starts at 'The Creek'.
All up Trojan Banner has won 10 of his 26 starts and placed in two others. The black Bettor's Delight - Caitlin Banner (by Washington VC) colt has banked $58,723 in purses.
Lincoln Farms paid $100,000 to Banner Bloodstock (Templeton) for Trojan Banner at the 2017 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale in Christchurch.
He is a black Bettor's Delight colt, and is out of Caitlin Banner (by Christian Cullen), the younger full-sister to the 2005 New Zealand Cup winner, Mainland Banner.
Pukekohe-based Lincoln Farms is owned by John Street.
He is one of New Zealand’s biggest owner/breeders and has produced many Group winners including his flagship pacer - Sir Lincoln - the 2012 Auckland Cup winner and the 2010 NZ 3yo Pacing Colt-of-the-Year.
His trainer, Ray Green conditioned Sir Lincoln to win 21 of his 57 starts and $663,601 in stakes.