Can Platinum Road bounce back from last-start flop? - It’s a question Lisa can’t answer
Trainer Lisa Latta admits she has zero idea how Platinum Road will go at Otaki on Thursday after his appalling run on New Year’s Eve.
Normally, against an ordinary bunch of mid-week rivals, she’d have been extremely confident with the horse whom the stable has always fancied as a promising staying type.
But his run at Hastings was simply too bad to be true.
Platinum Road, expected to win stepping up over ground, was struggling to hold his place for Dylan Turner a long way from home and walked home 22 lengths behind the winner.
Vet tests on the day failed to uncover any explanation for the flop but Latta and co-owners Neville McAlister and Lincoln Farms’ John and Lynne Street put the horse through a battery of tests the following week including a scope which was clear.
“The only thing we found was his bloods came back a little mixed, enough to say that he may have had something going on on the day. He didn’t require any treatment - we just backed off him a little bit - and he has bounced back well.”
Latta’s only other thought was that the Hastings track, while rated a dead 4, had been thoroughly watered, and may not have helped his action or confidence.
On Thursday, at the suggestion of McAlister, Platinum Road will not wear blinkers, but be tried instead in side winkers, and will be handled by strong rider Jonathan Riddell who knows the horse well.
“We thought he’d really excel over middle distances and even further but you couldn’t be confident the way he went last time.”
Prior to Hastings, everything Platinum Road had done in his lead-up races suggested he’d come into his own when stepped up over distance, his late dashes the mark of a horse crying out for more ground.
When Platinum Road scored his impressive maiden win at Trentham in December, 2019, McAlister said the horse was bred to go 2400 metres - his sire Declaration Of War left the Victoria Derby winner Warning.
Said McAlister at the time: “He’s a bigger and stronger horse than Platinum Invador at the same age and whereas we had to ride Invador back to teach him to settle because he wanted to reef and pull, this horse just does what you ask.
“Leith (Innes) said he’s so laid back he’ll just do what you want him to. In fact he’s so lazy Leith says he’ll need a hood on at some stage.”
Latta is expecting an improved run from Lincoln The Fox (race five) on Thursday.
“He worked really well on Tuesday. The wide draw is the issue but he’s definitely improved with his first-up run.”
Lincoln Rocks, a double acceptor for races three and six, wants a bit of rain, says Latta, as he’s a typical Road To Rock.
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Saturday at Trentham
Race 1: Lincoln Valley
“He didn’t have all favours last start- he was three wide without cover the trip and the effort told in the last bit. He also got squeezed up a little late. From the six draw we will go forward and I’m sure Lisa will have learned a lot from him in his last run. His work has been really good and I have added a nasal strip as he is quite a noisy breather and it may help. It’s not an overly strong field and the big roomy track will suit.”
Race 7: Platinum Spirit
“We are racing him out of his grade so he gets in at a nice light weight. Carrying 60kg last start was a really big ask and he got there a touch too soon. He has drawn awkwardly at 12 but he has the ability to put himself in the race if there’s a lack of speed. He looks fantastic and still holds a nomination for the Wellington Cup next week but might need to gain a few more points to get into the field. Chris Dell rides.”
Race 8: Father Lenihan
“The outside draw is tricky but Robbie knows him well - he’s ridden him in three of his four wins - and I’m sure he will make him jump and put him on the speed. He’s been out of the winner’s circle for a while but he went a great race last start and this field is nowhere near as strong. We were going to step him up over ground but he sits so awkwardly in the ratings at 76 that he would be carrying the top weight of 62kg in a R74 2000m.”