Father Lenihan primed for an upset at Hawera
Father Lenihan will be a chance to return Lincoln Farms’ followers good odds when he resumes at Hawera on Saturday - providing the forecasted rain arrives.
Father Lenihan has not raced for three and a half months but won first-up last campaign and trainer Lisa Latta says he is in the right condition to repeat in the fifth race.
“He has really improved in the last couple of weeks. His coat has finally turned and he is looking very well.
“He has drawn nicely in one, Jonathan Riddell will ride him, and knowing he has won fresh-up in the past I’m looking forward to a good effort on Saturday.’’
Latta says she expects the O’Reilly four-year-old to go through the grades on off tracks - he has yet to race on a track better than slow.
“He’d be a little suspect if the rain didn’t come on Saturday.’’
Happy with better track for mature Street
Latta is not so worried about stablemate Manhattan Street in the third race over 1600 metres, even though all his form has been over shorter distances on wet tracks.
“I’ve been wanting to get him up over more ground on a better track. Hopefully the rain arrives and we end up with a nice dead/slow track as that would suit him ideally.’’
Manhattan Street drops a rating band on his fine last-start third behind King Cougar and Gift Of Power at Awapuni but Latta says the consequent rise in weight to 60.5kg won’t bother him.
“He’s a big horse who can carry weight. And he’s much more mature this time in.’’
Latta says not to be put off by the horse’s gate 14. “While he has drawn one from the outside he will go forward so this will not be an issue and they get a good run from the 1600 metre starting point.
“I think he’ll go another good race.’’
Big Port Lincoln for big price at Tauherenikau
On Thursday, Latta lines up two runners for Lincoln Farms at Tauherenikau - debutant Port Lincoln and fresh runner Johnny Lincoln.
And while he is less favoured in the bookies’ early odds, Latta believe Port Lincoln ($20 and $5.50) is the better prospect in the sixth race.
A full brother to the talented Almo Street, by Alamosa, Port Lincoln has been working very well, says Latta.
“I am very happy with him heading into his debut. If we can get a bit of luck from the draw in this capacity field, he is capable of being right in it.’’
A big horse, but comparatively light on his feet, Port Lincoln will get a 2kg claim through apprentice Tim Johnson who rode the horse when second at the Foxton trials last month.
Johnny Lincoln will be having his first run for four and a half months in the eighth race and Latta says the son of Savabeel will probably need it.
“He has an awkward draw but he needs to kick off somewhere to get this prep going.
“His work has been good but he will improve with the run. I just hope to see him hitting the line strongly.’’
Johnny Lincoln has won only one of his 22 starts but has been placed nine times.
More news in Gallops
Platinum Road looks the goods but, sorry pal, it’s off to the vets for you
Platinum Invador won’t take any prisoners at Otaki - especially if it’s wet
Bush Whacked doesn’t have the wheels of Stephen’s Harley - but he knows how to brake
Shocking four-year-old doesn’t have a name but he showed today that he’ll need one soon
Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them
Wednesday at Matamata
Race 5: Bush Whacked
Thursday at Otaki
Race 2, 4: Lincoln Sky
“I’ve put him in two races, one over 1200 metres and the other 1400 metres and will wait to see what the weather does before deciding which race to run in. If the rain arrives we will line him up in the 1200. He ran a good race when resuming at Wanganui and I have been happy with his progress since.’’
Race 6: Platinum Invador
“Unfortunately he has come up with an outside draw again. He ran a big race at Trentham from a wide gate in a far stronger field. A lot of rain is forecast on Wednesday night though so the bad draw may be negated come race time. He galloped very well this morning and I expect him to be right in it.’’
Race 8: Alesha Lincoln
“Her recent work has been good enough and we have a nice draw to use. Being by Alamosa, it suggests any rain will not worry her. I am looking forward to her debut.’’
Saturday at Awapuni
Race 1: Miss Oahu
“I’ve chosen to start her up a rating band to get some weight relief and she gets in with only 54.5kg. She has really improved since her first-up run and her coat looks far better now. I expect a bold run from her, especially with the one draw to use.’’
Race 2: Platinum Touch
“She’s come up with the outside draw so if it doesn’t rain I will probably scratch her and go to New Plymouth on December 27. Her work has been good and I am happy with her heading into her debut.”
Race 5: Johnny Lincoln
“He’s drawn one from the outside but if he can get any luck in the running he’ll be very hard to beat. I am very happy with him and he has trained on well.’’
Race 8: Father Lenihan
“He’s had no luck with barrier draws and the trend continues on Saturday where he has drawn the outside. He has good gate speed however so we will look to go forward. The forecasted rain will help him and hopefully the track ends up in the dead range. He has continued to please me since his last run at Trentham.’’
News in brief
MAM’SELLE MASSIVE: Platinum Mam’selle clocked 34.59, easily the fastest last 600 metres in her race at Awapuni on Saturday when she flew from last at the 200 metre mark to get up for third, just a head and a long neck from winner All In Mana. Those who followed trainer Lisa Latta’s advice collected a $4.50 place dividend.
INVADOR UNLUCKY: Platinum Invador ($52) ran only ninth at Trentham but was dead unlucky. He settled at the rear after jumping awkwardly then was held up entering the home straight and did not get clear until 100 metres out when he rocketed home to be just 2.6 lengths from the winner.
PORT’S FORGIVE RUN: Port Lincoln did well to finish less than three lengths from the winner at Waipukurau. He was held up for a distance near the 500 metres then ran up onto heels passing the 300 metres, having to be angled outwards to get clear.
BUSH BAFFLER: Trainer Stephen Marsh will be trying a few different training tactics with Bush Whacked, including some jumping, to try to switch the horse on. He travelled strongly on the pace until the turn at Avondale but quickly raised the white flag.
DERBY DREAM: Trainer Lisa Latta has nominated six Lincoln Farms’ three-year-olds for the $1 million New Zealand Derby at Ellerslie on March 2 - Lincoln Falls, Lincoln Lane, Ajay Lincoln, Lincoln Fury, Lincoln Hanover and Platinum Invador. Latta has also entered 2000 Guineas placegetter Sir Nate.
VOLOS BLOWS IT AGAIN: Platinum Volos did another Chautauqua impersonation when he refused to come out of the gates at Awapuni despite wearing pacifiers and a barrier blanket. The grey will now have to trial on multiple occasions before being allowed to race again.
ALMO OUT FOR SPELL: Almo Street’s much awaited racetrack return, with the aid of a blindfold to help him jump out of the gates, has been put on hold. Trainer Lisa Latta says the normally good trackworker has been decidedly average in his last two gallops and, after nearly a year in work sorting out his problems, is simply over the top.