Lisa doing rain dance for Otaki tomorrow to help late starter Lincoln’s Command
It’s the improving weather not the bad barrier draw that could stop Lincoln’s Command at Otaki tomorrow.
But while most trainers will be hoping that summer has finally arrived, Lisa Latta wants it to stay wet for a little while longer to give Lincoln Farms’ late-starter his chance.
While the Otaki track was only a dead 5 this morning, the Met office is predicting 5ml of rain will fall before Lincoln’s Command steps out for the first race.
And that will be crucial for the Pentire five-year-old who was woeful on a good track first-up but looked a different animal at the trials just a week later on much slower footing.
Latta knew the horse was better than he showed at Waipukurau, when he seemed timid and lacking any spark in tailing the field home a long last, a dozen lengths behind the second last horse. It seemed inconceiveable that all his injury troubles could have robbed the $240,000 ready-to-run star of his ability.
And so it proved when she took him to the trials at Otaki the following week and he jumped straight to the front for rider Robbie Hannam, raced keenly, and romped in by three lengths - and could easily have stretched it to 10.
The encouraging turnaround was almost certainly helped by Latta’s decision to run the horse in blinkers, which he will wear again tomorrow.
Hannam will have to steer a path from 14 at the gate in the 1600 metre event but Latta is expecting to see him rattling home at the finish.
That about sums up what Latta is expecting from stablemate Port Lincoln in the fourth race, over 1300 metres.
The Alamosa four-year-old excelled himself on debut at Wairarapa last month, finding the lead from a wide gate, and fighting on gamely for third, just two lengths from the winner.
He drops back 100 metres tomorrow and Latta says the big horse really won’t be seen at his best until he hits a middle distance.
“He really needs more ground so I’d be happy to see him just weigh in.
“But we’ve drawn slightly better this time and will look to try to ride him in behind the speed and hopefully see him round the race out strongly.’’
Latta scratched Port Lincoln from his latest assignment when he drew wide for a second time, fearful of not wanting to teach the horse to simply jump and run.
Race six runner Lincoln’s Gal opened her season on a promising note when third at Woodville but she will need to be right on top of her game tomorrow in a rating 65 fillies’ and mares’ race packed with form.
She has also drawn out in a race which features five horses chasing a pearl series bonus.
“But she has improved with the run and any rain wouldn’t worry her.’’
Upset fresh-up winner Lincoln Melody won’t start in the seventh race if the track is wet, says Latta, who has an alternative race at Awapuni next Thursday lined up for her if the forecast is accurate.
Lincoln Melody won with a leg in the air at Otaki nearly three weeks ago in her first start for seven months when the 1600 metres was expected to be way too short for her.
She would be tackling the same trip tomorrow but Latta says another mile won’t hurt her before stepping up to a middle distance.
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.