Day At The Track

Lucas’s team producing results

11:46 AM 08 May 2020 NZST
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Bernie Winkle,Harness racing
HRV Trots Media

Patience is proving a virtue for Geoff Lucas’s Mildura team, which is hitting the line with vigor late and producing rewarding results.

Despite having only had seven starters in 2019-20, courtesy of Without Hesitation (five starts) and recent addition Bernie Winkle (two), the trainer is on the cusp of his second most stakes won in a season, having missed a place only once.

Bernie Winkle, a long-time Glenn Douglas favourite, has gone two from two since joining Lucas in mid-April, while opportunist mare Without Hesitation has also been a North West region eye-catcher since the introduction of region-based racing.

Having recently crossed from Noel Cameron, Lucas said Without Hesitation was “still learning to race”, but had taken her opportunities of late with three seconds and a win among her last five starts.

“She is always a chance, but has to have a few things go her way,” Lucas said. “I think she will only get better after her next spell.”

A sit-sprinter with a brisk finish, Lucas said the stable planned to mix things up in today’s Tenderprint Australia Pace, which will stream on Trots Vision at 3.13pm.

Without Hesitation will start from gate one and will be called on to give a bit more than the modest tactical speed she’s shown to date.

“We have never pushed her from the gate, we probably will (today),” Lucas said. “She’s never led in a race, I would like to have a crack at leading or being on the back of the leader. She’s really a sit-sprinter, but I am keen to see what happens.”

It’s a notable change of tactics not just for horse but her co-owner/trainer, with Lucas noting “she has always been doing her best work at the end of races, that’s how I like it, I don’t like to see them pushed early”.

It’s a preference that’s also been evident in the stable’s latest addition, Bernie Winkle.

A career stakes winner of $260,147, the seven-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding’s 23rd and 24th wins have come since the move to the Sunraysia, where Lucas has been keen for the veteran to be put to sleep early and then unleashed for a withering run.

The results have been more than encouraging, with a nine-metre win on April 24 preceding the five-metre win on May 1.

“When he came here I said to (owner) Eric (Anderson) I wanted to drive him really quietly,” Lucas said.

“Before his first start he had only been at my place a week and I didn’t even know (driver) Shane Smith, but we only have about 15 drivers in Mildura and I asked him if he’d drive Bernie Winkle. Now he won’t get off it.”

Lucas believes Bernie Winkle may be benefitting from the softer sand of his home training track – owned by Andrew Stenhouse and Dwayne Locke – and the short trip to the Mildura racecourse, adding “Eric’s a strong believer that the horse never travels all that well”.

Drawn inside the back row in tonight’s Sunraysia Security Protective Services Pace, Lucas expects Bernie Winkle’s chances will again be somewhat reliant on the tempo set by others, with Boris Devcic’s Augustus Jack and Vinny Chase prominent on the front row and front-running horse Murranji Track drawn on Bernie Winkle's outside.

“It will be interesting to see Boris’s tactics up front,” Lucas said. “We will be somewhere near last and hope there is a bit of speed in the race, wind him up towards the end and hopefully we are somewhere close to them.”

TALKING TROTS ON SENTRACK:

Hosts Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden have another big line-up for today's Talking Trots on SENTrack, which runs weekdays from 11am-1pm on 1377AM in Melbourne, 657AM in Perth and 1575AM in Wollongong.

Click here to listen live and for links to download the SEN app.

 

 

 

HRV - Michael Howard

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