By Duane Ranger
With seven nice drives at Albion Park on Saturday driver Brendan Barnes should inch closer to what will be his best season in the sulky.
The talented 21-year-old is currently 15th on the national driving premiership with 78 wins and 126 placings from 440 drives (just over $512,000 in stakes).
"I drove some nice horses when I worked in Sydney for a couple of years and managed to get 82 winners one season. I'm on track to beat that, which is very satisfying. It’s been a good season. I’m rapt," Barnes said.
Last weekend Barnes drove three Jack Butler-trained standardbreds at the Bathurst Gold Crown Carnival in New South Wales.
They were 2yo Pet Rock filly, Cut From Rock; 7yo Framework trotting mare, Spirit Walker; and 5yo Rock N Roll Heaven gelding, Rock With Sam.
"It was an ordinary trip to be fair. On the Friday Cut From Rock went amiss in the third heat of the Gold Tiara, and then on Sunday Spirit Walker did well to finish second after galloping in the Trotters Cup.
“But the Smooth Satin Cup (on Saturday) didn’t go our way. I hit a wheel with Rock With Sam and we finished last, and for that I copped a seven-day suspension - starting this Sunday,” Barnes said.
But you can’t keep a good man down for too long, and the Morayfield State High School old-boy should embark on his week-long holiday with some good results on his home track on Saturday night.
Barnes labelled the Ron Wells trained Smiling Armada (2) in race four as his best drive of the night. Ironically all six of his other drives are for Logan Village trainer, Jack Butler.
Here’s what he had to say about the seven:
Race 2: The Jack Butler trained ZARA'S DELIGHT (9): “She’s a nice little mare who won well for my brother (Hayden) here last Friday. One on the second row is not too bad a draw for her. If she can get some luck she will be running on."
Race 3: The Jack Butler trained MACH SAM (3): “He has dropped back in grades the last couple - where he's drawn six both times. He has a bit of gait speed and could reach the front. If he can get there, or get a good sit from three, he can go close. He won by a big margin at Redcliffe a few (four) starts back."
Race 4: The Ron Wells trained SMILING ARMADA (2): "This gelding has good gate speed and is a good front-runner. He comes into this race with a nice last start placing (third) on the track last start. II think he's an each-way bet in this. My best drive on Saturday."
Race 5: The Jack Butler trained CASINO TOMMY (2): "He's also drawn well and has consistent form. He is racing a lot better recently. He's a fence horse and it might be hard to get across from two. He will need luck, but could be thereabouts."
Race 9: The Jack Butler trained MANDY KRIDEN (1): “She doesn't really have a lot of gate speed and can get a bit rough in her gait. She has been racing well of late and if she can get one last go at them she has the sprint to win. She has a lot of speed. A last quarter specialist."
Race 10: The Jack Butler trained GEE UP NEDDY (9): "He's drawn one on the 10m line and he won't get much room back there. If he can get in the running line he will be flashing home though."
Race 11: The Jack Butler trained PAY ME INTEREST: “Consistent pacer who is good enough to get some of it from the widest second row draw. Runner-up on this track in his last two starts."