News & Events

Sir Lincoln withdraws from NZ Cup

By Michael Guerin

Auckland Cup winner Sir Lincoln has been pulled out of the biggest race of his career - and trainer Ray Green thinks that may be a good thing.

The imposing stallion has been scratched from next month’s $600,000 New Zealand Cup after continuing to be nagged by a bruised hoof. That was one reason he missed a lead-up race at Alexandra Park 11 days ago and why he isn’t on a plane to Christchurch today to contest next Monday’s Ashburton Flying Stakes. Sir Lincoln needed a hard run at Ashburton to stay in the frame for a New Zealand Cup start, especially now he is an older stallion who needs consistent racing.

“Ashburton was the key and since we can’t go there I pulled him out of the Cup,” said Green.

“I don’t think it is a serious hoof problem but it is hanging around and we are losing valuable fitness.

“So we have to do what is right for the horse.”

While pulling their stable star out of the Cup would leave most trainers gutted, Green admits the great race was never really his ideal target with the multiple group one winner.

“I am not as big a fan of the New Zealand Cup as some trainers because of the standing start.

“His owners understandably wanted to have a crack if we could but we all realise it is not a huge loss for us.”

Especially as Sir Lincoln could still contest the NZ Free-For-All over his favoured mile distance three days later. He could go into that race without needing as the hard lead-up racing required for the Cup and the race fits as Sir Lincoln ranks alongside Auckland Reactor as New Zealand’s most natural miler among the elite pacers.

And the Free-For-All appeals for another reason too, with a track record mile at Addington every bit as useful to Sir Lincoln’s stallion career as winning the New Zealand Cup. Sir Lincoln’s connections are very serious about his future stallion potential and with his looks and sprint record he could have more appeal to breeders looking to inject speed into their families than a battle-hardened New Zealand Cup winner.

“I think now the Free-For-All is a mile it is just as much a stallion-making race as the Cup, probably more so,” says Green.

“So that is our new target.”

That could also provide Sir Lincoln with a chance to tackle some weary opponents three days after the hardest race of their careers.

While he was pulled out of the Cup yesterday, another northern-trained stallion has been the big market mover. Gold Ace is now the $5.50 second favourite for the November 13 Cup after his professional win over Terror To Love at Addington last Friday. Terror To Love, who was awesome in defeat, has surprisingly moved out to $3.50 to defend his Cup title.

The other significant mover is Auckland Reactor, with the glamour pacer now rated a $7.50 by the NZ TAB while he is even longer in overseas markets after galloping away in both his standing starts this season. He is nominated for the Flying Stakes on Monday, a race he won brilliantly last season, but if he gallops away again there his connections must be tempted to skip the Cup and head to the Free-For-All.