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Invador at $101 for the Melbourne Cup - ‘but all the stars will need to align’ to get there

Given New Zealand is lucky to get even one horse into the Melbourne Cup these days, co-owner Neville McAlister is playing it very low key with Platinum Invador.

The talented stayer made a satisfactory start to a potential cups campaign when sixth of eight over 1600 metres at Moonee Valley last Saturday, a distance well short of his best.

McAlister and his partner Lincoln Farms know the chances are slim that the horse will even make the first Tuesday in November, the enormity of the task even more evident when the weights were released this week.

With 53kg, Platinum Invador is rated a $101 chance by the TAB in the opening market, a long way behind last year’s fifth placegetter Surprise Baby who is the $9 favourite.

Fellow Kiwis Australian Derby winner Quick Thinker and The Chosen One, 17th in the cup last year, are both on 53.5kg and rated $51 chances for trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman.

Other Kiwi-trained aspirants include Wexford’s Sir Charles Road (51kg, $151) who earned A$150,000 for running seventh in 2018, and Bill Thurlow’s former Auckland Cup winner Glory Days (51kg, $201).

Miss Sentimental, who won the NZ Oaks as Sentimental Miss from Lisa Latta’s stable, but is now with Chris Waller, is a $201 chance with 51.5kg and the former Roger James and Robert Wellwood-trained Rondinella, who has joined the stable of John O’Shea, has 50kg and is at $101.

McAlister says all the stars will need to align for Platinum Invador to make the cup, even though he showed his staying potential when winning the City Of Auckland Cup (2400m) and running third in the Auckland Cup (3200m).

“We know the chances are small that he’ll get in the field and we won’t know for a few weeks yet even if he’s going well enough to head in that direction.”

Platinum Invador did exactly what new trainer Peter Moody said he would last weekend, beating a couple of stragglers home, but with a clear top weight of 62kg, fresh-up over only 1600 metres, getting within seven lengths of winner Junipal was all you could expect of him.

“They went 1:36 and he kept grinding away. He was starting to do his best work after the line.”

McAlister is hoping Platinum Invador shows a little more when stepped up to a middle distance at his next start, most likely in the $200,000 JRA Cup (2040m) at Moonee Valley on September 25.

“But it won’t be until he gets up to a mile and a half (2400 metres) that he’ll be most competitive. And I’d like to see him eventually get a go on a roomy track - Moonee Valley’s not his ideal track.

“Hopefully by mid-October he’ll be hitting his straps.”

  • Last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Vow And Declare goes up 5kg to 57kg.
  • Topweight with 58.5kg is 2019 Epsom Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck, trained by Aidan O’Brien.

Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them

Lisa Latta

Lisa’s comments

Saturday at Awapuni

Race 5: Platinum Bordeaux

“She had a nice three weeks out in the paddock after her last run when we backed her up on two particularly heavy tracks. The track will be quite wet but she is drawn in the right place to go back, get a bit of cover and find the line so we can step her up over a mile next time. She’s really bright and happy and her work on Tuesday on a heavy course proper was very nice. Ryan Elliot has been booked to ride.”