By Duane Ranger
Tallegalla (near Marburg) reinsman, Hayden Barnes, won the first race back at Redcliffe Paceway on Wednesday after the track was closed for 50 days.
Now the 23-year-old has his eyes firmly carrying on from where he left off at Albion Park last Saturday night.
“It was great to win for Dad (Ali) behind Monumental this week. It’s been a while since they last had races on the track. Monumental has come back real well from his spell.
“He’s got a lethal 200 to 300 metre sprint on him and Dad has done a good job to get him back to where he is. It was good to be back at Redcliffe again. I like driving there,” Barnes said.
Wednesday’s meeting was the first on the three-cornered track since August 27. The 800m track underwent a $300,000 upgrade, and was resurfaced for the first time in 10 years.
Barnes has four drives at Albion Park tomorrow (Saturday) night. Seven days earlier Barnes trained and drove Gee Up Neddy to win the last race, also at ‘The Creek’. In doing so he defeated two-time Queensland Trotter-of-the-Year Our Overanova.
“I haven’t got any of my own team in on Saturday, but I’ve got some nice drives. I reckon Brett Cargill’s Grizzly Montana is my best chance – and hopefully I can win the last race again - with him,” said Barnes.
Although the former Morayfield High School student, is primarily a freelance driver working out of his father’s barn, he is also proficient trainer.
“I love training and ultimately one day would like to have my own property and train a few of my own. My previous training victory was the week before when ‘Neddy’ won the at the Albion Park Friday (October 4) meeting.
“Prior to that my previous training victory was with Mr Meddle back in March (2nd), also at Albion Park,” Barnes said.
“It would be great to get back in the winner’s circle for someone else on Saturday, and I reckon I can go close,” he added.
He said Grizzly Montana was capable of running some nice quarters, and if he got to the front, he could take some catching.
“I don’t do a lot of horse form. I prefer to concentrate on driver-form. I like to see what previous drivers do in races. You can get aggressive drivers and not so aggressive drivers
“I know all the horses pretty well, and I do more driver form than horses. I like to see how drivers do their job. You can get aggressive drivers and not so aggressive ones
“I’m not big on driving form and there is no-one I like to beat more than my brother, Brendan,” Barnes laughed.
Barnes has four drives tomorrow. His comments (with trainer, horse, barrier draw, form, and opening odds) are:
Race 4: The Steve Furey trained LIVING GRAND (1) 88664 – ($5). "Sir Galvinator 7yo gelding, who is a good chance from the nice draw. He copped a tough trip first-up from a little break, and then hit the line real well last week. He is better free-rolling in front, and that is the plan. Hopefully we can hold the lead. If he does then he’s definitely an each-way chance. Whatever he does he will be improved by his last two runs. Dropping back to the mile also helps, especially from the ace draw.”
Race 6: The Wayne Graham trained DAPPER (4) 35411 ($26). “The talented Speech Is Silver (1) is the one to beat here, but this fella is absolutely flying at the moment. He only needs to get some luck in the running to figure. I think he’s a nice place bet in this.”
Race 8: The Ben Battle trained WHISKEY BLAZE (8) 76141 ($11). "He's drawn one on the second line, and this is the first time that I will have driven him. He’s a consistent pacer, who raced super last week, winning in a quick 1:51.7 mile rate (from gate two). He has the draw to suit, but this is a step up in class, but he can’t be discounted - especially the way he’s been going. It’s hard to knock him.”
Race 9: The Brett Cargill trained GRIZZLY MONTANA (4) 59851 ($5.50). "Five-year-old Lanercost gelding, who was a nice last-start Albion Park winner. He was racing well and then went off the boil a bit before bouncing back. I’m expecting him to race well again after getting the claiming driver last start. He has got good gate speed, and I’d like to push for the lead, but I’ll see what the trainer wants before making any pre-race decisions. If I can get to the front, he would be hard to catch. I think he goes best in front when he’s allowed to bowl along dictating his own terms.”