Lisa Latta gave Lincoln Farms’ owner John Street the thrill of a lifetime when she trained Fort Lincoln to win the 2011 Karaka Million, his biggest payday in racing.
And the Awapuni trainer went on to bigger and better things two seasons later, achieving her lifetime goal in becoming the first solo woman to claim the New Zealand premiership, saddling 87 winners.
Even more significantly, Latta became the first Central Districts trainer to win a premiership since 1977, when Garth Ivil shared the title with Bill and Graeme Sanders, and the first from Awapuni since Eric Temperton, who headed the 1962 premiership. Just three Central Districts trainers - Latta, Ivil and Syd Brown - have taken the premiership in the last 50 years.
Latta, a consistent top 10 finisher, signalled that she was here to stay when she beat all but the powerful Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman combination the following season, training 85 winners.
Latta won the NZ Bloodstock Filly of the Year series that season with Lincoln Farms’ flag bearer Platinum Witness, winner of the 1000 Guineas.
And she has continued to roll out the winners for Lincoln Farms since, continuing a long and successful association.
John and Lynne Street first met Latta when she was working for crack trainer Malcolm Smith and encouraged her to keep going following Smith’s sudden death, in December 1998.
”I had only eight horses but John told me that if I wanted to have a go [as a solo trainer], that he would support me,” Latta said. ”Who knows whether I would have had a go without his support and who knows whether I would have got this far?”
Latta’s first two Group winners - Resonare and Tuscany Warrior - were owned or part-owned by the Streets, as were the Group I winner Mikki Street, the multiple Group II winner Platinum Princess, Fort Lincoln, Wellington Guineas victor President Lincoln and Platinum Kingdom.
Latta was destined from a young age to spend her life with horses.
She was riding ponies at the age of five and became a New Zealand champion barrel racer at 16.
Since 1997 she has enjoyed 908 wins, including 55 Group and Listed races.
Among her most treasured recent successes was when stable favourite Authentic Paddy took out the Group I Zabeel Classic at Ellerslie in 2017.
It did not take long for Stephen Marsh to become one of New Zealand’s rising young gun trainers.
Stephen started his career in partnership with his father Bruce in 2002-03 and in a three years together notched Group I winners like Russian Pearl in the Bayer Classic, Hail in the Zabeel Classic and Play On in the Magic Millions Two-year-old Classic.
When his dad headed to Singapore to train Stephen showed he had all the skills necessary to run a top stable and in 2012-13 guided Ruud Awakening to champion two-year-old status.
He has produced a string of topliners including Chocante, Ugo Foscolo, Chettak, Ruud Not To, Rocanto and No More Tears.And it was a red letter day in 2016 when he claimed his first Group I winner in Australia with Sofia Rosa taking the $1 million Australian Oaks.
Stephen finished fifth on the premiership last season with 64 winners and $1.22 million in stakes.
Marsh trains Lincon King for Lincoln Farms.
Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them
Saturday at Otaki
Race 2: Lincoln Kruz
“He galloped nicely this morning. Nine is a tricky draw but his best runs have been when he is ridden back. Hopefully they run along up front which will give him the chance to finish the race off. He looks fantastic and is well in himself.”
Race 5: Platinum Spirit
“He was disappointing last start but we have had his back done since, which was out, and he has really brightened up over the last 10 days. The top three look the ones to beat but he has raced well at Otaki before and the way he has bounced back I expect him to be very competitive. This race fits in well with the St Leger at Trentham in mid March. Sam O’Malley rides.”
Race 8: Father Lenihan
“He has drawn two and Hazel Schofer has been booked, claiming 2kg down to 60kg. He galloped well yesterday but this morning he was just a little bit off on his near side front and it is in his foot. We are on top of it, poulticing him up, so two days out from the race we hope he’ll get there but a decision won’t be made until race morning.”