Hustler flying at new home
By Adam Hamilton
Former Kiwi pacer Northview Hustler has made such a splash in Queensland he could return “home” for a crack at the NZ Cup and Auckland Inter Dominion.
But first his excited new trainer Alistair Barnes is focused on the Queensland Winter Carnival riches.
“He’s unbelievable this horse. I’m not used to this, planning for big races. My careers been all about looking what’s on next week and trying to place the horses I’ve got to win some races,” Barnes said.
Northview Hustler has turned plenty of heads winning all three starts since being sent across from NZ by John Street and Ray Green.
“I thought I was incredibly lucky to get the horse to train, but I’m even luckier they gelded him when he was spelling and that’s what made him as a racehorse,” Barnes said. “He’s a machine. He’s stamina and blinding speed.”
Northview Hustler’s biggest Queensland test comes against the state’s buzz pacer, Colt Thirty One, in tomorrow (Saturday) night’s Mr Feelgood free-for-all (2138m) at Albion Park.
Colt Thirty One has the advantage of gate four, while Northvuew Hustler is off the back row (gate 10).
But Barnes is buzzing with confidence despite Northview Hustler being $3.80 with the Aussie TAB and Colt Thirty One a $1.60 favourite.
“I can’t see him beating us. He’s a really good horse Colt Thirty One, but he’s vulnerable if he has to work early in his races and we’ll do everything we can to make sure that happens,” Barnes said.
“With the emergency Mach Alert getting a run we follow out Slice Of Heaven, who is a really quick beginner I think we can push through and settle in front of Colt Thirty One. If we do, I don’t think can beat us.”
The race has been touted as deciding Queensland’s top seed ahead of races like the $100,000 Group 1 Sunshine Sprint on July 13 and the $250,000 Group 1 Blacks A Fake a week later.
Northview Hustler is one of four Lincoln Farms horses in Barnes’ stable and it’s all stemmed from a chance meeting on a holiday in Fiji.
“I was on holidays and met this guy who wanted to buy a horse, which turned out to be Lincoln Road and that’s how the association started,” Barnes said.
“Trojan Banner came across and won his first six and Lincolns Girl’s done a terrific job.
“I’d ask them about sending Northview Hustler across for a while because I thought he’d be really well suited here, but he was a bit of a favourite of Ray Green’s so it was a hard sell.
“Then, one day after Trojan Banner and Lincolns Girl won at the same meeting, John Street rang me and said they were sending Northview Hustler across. You can imagine how excited I was.”
Barnes is so confident Northview Hustler will acquit himself well during the Queensland winter, he’s let his mind wander to a possible return to NZ.
“I think an NZ Cup is possibly on the cards. If he’s as good as I think it is. I know it’s a race they (the Lincoln Farms team) would love to have a go at,” he said.