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Lisa Latta … took up an offer for help from John Street in 1998 and has never looked back. PHOTO: Royden Williams

Exciting season ahead for Lisa as quality three-year-olds prepare to strut their stuff

Lincoln Farms’ trainer Lisa Latta admits to plenty of excitement at the season ahead with the chance of achieving a long held dream and a couple of real milestones in sight.

Latta, 50, has high hopes that smart colt Lincoln Falls will fashion into a New Zealand Derby chance, so much so that she has put him out for a break now to concentrate on the Ellerslie classic in March.

And the Dundeel colt is just at the tip of a phalanx of talented Lincoln Farms three-year-olds which Latta has been quietly putting through their paces.

“I usually have one or two nice young ones but I have an exciting team this year. I’ve always wanted to win a derby and Lincoln Falls isn’t my only chance.’’

The 15 three-year-olds Latta has in work for Lincoln Farms should certainly help propel her towards a target of training 300 winners for Lincoln Farms.

Since John and Lynne Street first gave Latta a horse in 1998, best calculations put her tally now at 279 for the Auckland couple.

It was the Streets who encouraged Latta to try her hand at training when her then partner, Malcom Smith, died suddenly 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 made an instant impression on the Streets, training her first winner for them on January 2, 1999 when Resonare scored at Tauherenikau.

Resonare went on to claim the Group III Thompson Handicap and that sealed their relationship.

In the interim Lincoln Farms has been instrumental in helping Latta to become the first woman to win the national trainers’ premiership when in 2013-14 she saddled 87 winners.

Latta is now on the downhill stretch to a milestone reached by few trainers - that of training 1000 winners.

New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing records have her present tally at 908, suggesting all going well she should achieve the feat in the next two seasons.

Latta says she has a big team helping her at Awapuni, about 20 in all, and now that it’s school holidays son Josh, 14, and daughter Jaime, 12, are there at the stable chipping in too.

That’s when they can be dragged out of bed at 5am!

Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them

Lisa Latta

Lisa’s comments

Saturday at Trentham

Race 1: Lincoln Valley
12.30pm

“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
4pm

“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
4.38pm

“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.”