Racing: Lincoln feels like a million dollars

By Michael Guerin

Maurice McKendry drives Sir Lincoln to victory in the $250,000 Trillian Trust Auckland Cup at Alexandra Park last night. Photo / Getty Images
Maurice McKendry drives Sir Lincoln to victory in the $250,000 Trillian Trust Auckland Cup at Alexandra Park last night. Photo / Getty Images

Sir Lincoln's owners say his victory in last night's Auckland Cup was better than winning a $1 million race - and they would know.

Owners Lincoln Farms, headed by John Street and Graeme Blackburn, have owned a host of top horses in both codes, including last season's Karaka Million winner Fort Lincoln and this season's mighty miler mare Platinum Princess.

But Street says last night's Cup means even more than that.

"I'd say this is the best win of my life in racing," said Street.

"We love this horse. I have been in harness racing for 40 years and have always wanted to win this race.

"And we bred this horse, which makes it even more special."

The win was the biggest in the career of trainer Ray Green, who deserves even more accolades as it was his idea to breed Sir Lincoln's dam to speed sire Mach Three.

Green, like many, had his doubts the Sires' Stakes and Harness Jewels winning Sir Lincoln would develop into a stayer but he has moved to a new level this season.

"He is a better horse, stronger and more relaxed," said Green.

"And now we want a fast mile time to set up his stallion career."

Sir Lincoln is likely to get that chance at Menangle next month.

The win was the first Auckland Cup triumph for driver Maurice McKendry and he was an enormous part of the success, his soft hands keeping Sir Lincoln from pulling too hard while he kept the tempo just solid enough to deter any serious mid-race challenges.

That saw him slide over the last mile in 1:55.6 to hold out trailer Terror To Love and the fast finishing Pembrook Benny, with none of the beaten brigade having serious excuses.

Earlier in the night Ideal Scott turned the tables on his Victoria Derby conqueror Scandalman in the $250,000 Woodlands Derby.

The leggy South Auckland pacer had chased home Scandalman in Melbourne last month but thanks to a perfect Todd MacFarlane drive won his second Alexandra Park feature in the last three months.

Ideal Scott was well back early but pushed out at the 1400m and eventually got the one-one in a race winning move. But even after MacFarlane's heroics it was still surprising just how sharply Ideal Scott sprinted to power past hot favourite Smolda, who had every chance after getting an easy lead at the 1100m.

"I think the extra distance suited him and Brian [Hughes, trainer] has done a wonderful job to get him back to his peak after Melbourne," said MacFarlane.

The win was appropriate on two fronts, as Ideal Scott is by American Ideal, who stands at sponsors Woodlands Stud.

And one of his well-known owners John Devlin works at Woodlands, providing jubilant scenes in the winner's circle after an inquiry into the classic was withdrawn.

Stewards looked at an incident at the 1400m when Smolda pushed out and was followed by Ideal Scott.

However it was deemed the horse forced wider in the event had not been up to Smolda's hind quarters at the time so no action was taken.

Lincoln's Cup

* Sir Lincoln's leads throughout to win the Auckland Cup at Alexandra Park.
* Owners Lincoln Farms have had a dream last 18 months.
* It was the first Cup win for champion driver Maurice McKendry.
* Ideal Scott overcomes a second line draw to win the Woodlands Derby.

- NZ Herald

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