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 three-year-old Bush Whacked for Lincoln Farms.
Awapuni trainer Mike Breslin has trained 412 winners since 1992, his best season tally when producing 27 winners in 2015-16.
Despite having comparatively small numbers, Breslin can usually be found with a good horse in his team, the latest looking like the up-and-coming Alamosa five-year-old King Cougar.
Some of his best performers have been Canterbury Breeders’ Stakes winner Heni, who won 11 races, Salamanca (10), Ringo (eight) and Tip The Wink (six).
Breslin trains Lincoln Honey for Lincoln Farms.
Our runners this week
Saturday at Otaki
Kamanda Lincoln, Lincoln Fury, Platinum Invador, Platinum Mam’selle.
News in brief
INVADOR CLOSER: Platinum Invador is now 22nd in the entry order for the 18-horse New Zealand Derby field at Ellerslie on March 2. The connections of Waikato Guineas winner Sponge Bob paid a $30,000 late entry fee on Tuesday to get the horse into the race.
RETIRED: Bush Whacked has been retired. Despite showing promise at trials the Sepoy three-year-old showed in three starts for Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh that he simply didn’t want to be a racehorse.
TOUCH FLAT: Rider Robbie Hannam told stewards he thought Platinum Touch was feeling the effects of her debut run and felt flat after beating only two home at Trentham.
LOST DREAMS: Dreams Of Platinum has been sold to Australia. The four-year-old mare won one race and placed seven times in 21 starts, earning nearly $35,000.