Derby aspirant Platinum Invador the standout for Lincoln Farms on Monday
Trainer Lisa Latta is looking forward to seeing what Platinum Invador can do at Otaki on Monday in his first big step on the road to a possible New Zealand Derby start.
The Redwood gelding, who was so impressive winning on the course in December, steps up to a middle distance for the first time in the last race, a rating 65 event over 2100 metres.
“It’s always a big ask for a three-year-old to take on the older horses, and it’s his first try over ground, but he’s bred to stay and the field doesn’t look overly strong.’’
Latta says she’s been very happy with how the horse has been working and from the inside gate she expects he will get a nice, economical run.
That would be in direct contrast to his last start when rider Robbie Hannam had to snag back to second last from the extreme outside draw and was forced three wide when starting to improve at the 800 metres.
Given how powerfully Platinum Invador finished over 1600 metres that day, taking five lengths off the leaders from the home turn, you’d have to think he will be even more potent at 2100 metres.
“He’s still a bit of a baby but he’s getting better and better,’’ says Latta.
Safely through Monday’s run, Latta will test Platinum Invador further in a rating 72 event over 2200 metres at Trentham on Wellington Cup day, January 19.
His final derby test would then be in the $100,000 Avondale Guineas (2100m) at Ellerslie on February 16, two weeks before the $1 million New Zealand Derby (2400m).
Best of the others Latta will line up on Monday for Lincoln Farms would be a toss up between Platinum Spirit, who debuts in the second race, and Port Lincoln in the fourth.
Two-year-old Platinum Spirit has only five rivals but Latta points out they’re a handy lot with Toby Autridge’s Fleurgundy unextended to win his Cambridge trial and Fraser Auret’s Trifolium having finished alongside Platinum Spirit in her jumpout win on December 19.
The form book doesn’t show that effort but Platinum Spirit led the four-horse heat at Levin and quickened nicely to just get the judge’s nod over Auret’s Krupt filly.
The Charm Spirit colt clocked 48.32 for the 850 metres and with Monday’s race over only 800 metres Latta quite rightly points out there’s no room for error.
“We’ll go forward on him as he’s still a bit green and timid around other horses but the others will be trying to do the same no doubt. And you never know with two-year-olds what’s going to happen.’’
Platinum Spirit is eligible for the Karaka Million on January 26 and would need to win on Monday to have any chance of making the field.
Latta says it might be too big an ask at the moment anyway to throw Platinum Spirit into that furnace.
“But I’m very happy with him. He’s trained on really well since the jumpout and galloped nicely on Thursday morning.’’
Port Lincoln dogged by bad draws
Port Lincoln has continued his run of bad luck, again drawing the outside gate but Latta says there’ll be no mucking around this time and he will be punched forward by new rider Robbie Hannam.
The giant galloper hit every red light going last time at Waipukurau, rider Tim Johnson unable to find a way out for almost the entire length of the home straight.
“Robbie will go forward and try to slide across and get in.
“His work has been good and with some luck in the running I expect him to be right in the finish.’’
Latta has her fingers crossed that Lincoln Melody (race 6) and Lincoln’s Secret (race 8) can erase memories of their inexplicably bad last start runs.
Latta will instruct new rider Samantha Collett to ride Lincoln Melody quietly after she was ridden on speed at Awapuni and was going backwards all of 800 metres out.
“After such a bad run I am worried but she has a good rider and a nice draw and it’s not a strong field.’’
Latta has also dropped Lincoln Melody back to 1600 metres, the distance of her first-up win at Otaki in October.
Lincoln’s Secret’s last start flop at Awapuni was even more bizarre, rider Michael McNab not persevering with the four-year-old from the 600 and later reporting he was reluctant to hit out.
“The horse has a really good action but he never seemed to try on him,’’ says Latta. “He’s much better than that.
“He has a nice draw this time and I’ve got a kid on (Madan Singh) who can get him up there so I’m hoping for an improved run.’’
Lincoln’s Secret’s first-up run was better than it looks on paper.
While he beat only three home at Awapuni on November 15 he was racing over only 1550 metres and was laying in and tied up in heavy traffic all the way down the home straight.
Our runners this week
Monday at Otaki
Authentic Charm, Lincoln Fury, Ajay Lincoln, Alesha Lincoln, Port Lincoln, Master Lincoln, Lincoln Dreamer.
Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them
Saturday at Trentham
Race 1: Platinum Mam’selle
“There appears to be a lot of speed in the race which will suit her pattern of racing which is to get back and finish over the top of them. She has trained on well after her unlucky run at Stratford and is back against her own age group on Saturday in a small field.’’
Race 2: Miss Oahu
“It was a very average ride at Hastings last time which saw her caught four wide in the running. She has trained on well and has good gate speed so we will look to go forward and hopefully end up right behind the speed. I am expecting another bold run from her.’’
Race 3: Platinum Invador
“He has come up with another good draw in three and gets in with a nice weight of 56.5kg. He is up another rating band, however, and this field is a lot stronger field than the one he beat at Otaki. I am very happy with the way he has come through that race and also with his work this week.”
Race 6: Lincoln Sky
“He came through last Saturday’s race really well but I want to see how he does over the rest of the week before committing to a start on Saturday. Madan (Singh) said last week that he felt the horse was looking for a mile as he is so laid back.’’
Race 9: Kamanda Lincoln
“Unfortunately he has drawn wide (18) in the Wellington Cup which means we will probably have to ride him for luck, which is always more difficult in these big races. I am happy with where he is at but we are going to need a magical ride from Sam Collett.’’
Race 10: Father Lenihan
“He galloped well yesterday morning but pulled up sore in his near front. He had a pulse in the foot so we poulticed it for 24 hours and the blacksmith came this morning and said he had a bit of bruising. He was about 95% right today and providing we keep on top of it I am reasonably confident we will get him there on Saturday. If he is not 100% he will be scratched.’’
Race 10: Lincoln Raider
“I’ve engaged Leith Innes to ride him and he has freshened up nicely after his Ellerslie run. After watching that race you can see him bounce off the rail two or three times. I think he is a better horse left alone early and given one clear run at them and that is what we will aim to do on Saturday.’’
News in brief
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.
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.