Race Images - Gallops

Johnny Lincoln, centre, finds reserves for Robbie Hannam in his fresh-up win at Awapuni in May. PHOTO: Peter Rubery/Race Images.

Don’t count out honest Johnny on Saturday - the sticky track won’t bother him

There might be a couple of better horses in the race but Johnny Lincoln’s light weight and ability to handle the expected sticky ground will stand to him at Otaki on Saturday.

Johnny Lincoln will face only six rivals in the third race, with the withdrawals of two of his more fancied rivals, Irish Flame and Elle Eye Are and, stepping up to a rating 82 event he gets in with the minimum weight of 54 kilos.

That’s a 3.5kg weight relief on last time at Awapuni when he ran fourth to the talented Obsessive, when in need of the run, says trainer Lisa Latta.

“He just came to the end of it late as it had been five weeks in between runs for him.”

It followed a surprise first-up win over 1550 metres on his home course, when he showed great courage to beat Tiro on heavy 10 footing, shedding his tag as the perennial bridesmaid.

Latta intended stepping Johnny Lincoln up to a middle distance but says Saturday’s 1600 metre test will be more like 1800 metres.

“The track will be sticky but I think that will suit him better than a really deep one.

“I’m really happy with him as he has continued to work well. I believe he can be competitive and I’m expecting another good run from him.”

Bookies have opened Johnny Lincoln fourth favourite at $6 behind Atlanta Peach, Our Bandit and High Quality.

Platinum Volos on the other hand is second to rank outsider at $41 in the sixth race and it’s hard to see him belying that quote.

In what Latta describes as a tidy line-up, she says he will need to bring his A game to be in the finish.

Platinum Volos is finally over his issues wth the starting gates but even after making a good beginning last time at Trentham and racing fourth, just in behind the leaders, he was under pressure a long way from home and finished more than 20 lengths from winner Armaguard.

Latta says rider Madan Singh believed the Trentham bog tripped him that day so he get another chance on Saturday with only 53kg on his back, 3.5kg less than last time.

“He’s on borrowed time,” says Latta. “He needs to front up. We’re thinking of taking him south on a one-way ticket.”

Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them

Lisa Latta

Lisa’s comments

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.”