CHRIS Frisby is a trainer who always calls it as he sees it, but such is the uncertainty surrounding the standing start in Tuesday's New Zealand Trotting Cup he is not sure what his stable star Our Uncle Sam will produce.
The Bathurst trainer has no questions about the quality of Our Uncle Sam, and rightly so given he is an Australian Group 1 winner and placed second in the Inter Dominion Grand Final last December.
But both those runs came when Our Uncle Sam started behind a mobile barrier.
When it come to standing start races, the six-year-old Sportswriter x Rooftop Fairy gelding's record is not so good. He's had two attempts on New Zealand soil in the build up to Tuesday's rich $NZ750,000 Free For All and neither have been good.
Our Uncle Sam finished more than nine lengths off the pace in his first standing start race at Ashburton then broke and placed last in attempt two at Kaikoura after breaking.
It means Our Uncle Sam is $41 outsider for the cup.
"I've got the tail between my legs at the moment after having two not as good runs, that's no-one's fault, the horse is going super," Frisby said.
"The first start I had the shorteners up too tight, so it was too hard, Anthony [Frisby, driver] said he flew away and nearly tripped himself and the next start the horse on the outside, he was already at full speed when they let the barrier go, that's why they had to let the barrier go before even Anthony was even turned around, but that's racing, that's what standing starts are all about.
"I've been to New Zealand before, I came over with Major Occasion a couple of months ago, she came over for the [Harness] Jewels and run last, so I'm getting used to coming over here and running last."
But while Frisby is clearly frustrated at how Our Uncle Sam's New Zealand campaign began, he still has faith in the gelding's ability and feels he could have the measure of his rivals on Tuesday at Christchurch.
Regular driver Anthony Frisby, Chris' son, has handed over the reins to Mark Jones who has more experience at standing start races.
Our Uncle Sam should also handle the 3,200 metres trip as when taking out the 2,400m Bohemia Crystal Free For All in March, he sat in the death seat for much of the race yet still won in a 1:52.3 mile rate and clocked a 26.5 seconds third quarter.
The trainer feels it will all hinge on how Uncle Sam gets away from barrier four and where he is able to settle.
"I couldn't be happier with the horse, he's been working really, really good where I am at Mark Jones'. He's working unbelievable," he said.
"It's a good field, but it's a winnable one for him too, I think he's up to all of them with the right run. You've got to have the right run.
"All depends how the race is run, if it's too slow and they're going to get home in 55-54 [seconds] something like that, then you're in trouble.
"It's a bugger of a draw, I wish San Carlo had drawn out wide, one is a bugger of a gate, unless he flies the gate out of the standing. He'll be like us, he'll never of had a standing start.
"We're in it, we're getting that experience and it will give me something to whinge about. We are due some luck, that's exactly right, I hope it bloody does come."
The race starts at 3.12pm AEDST.