Race Images - Gallops

Lincoln’s Command … better than his debut run but looking for wet ground. PHOTO: Royden Williams.

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.

Port Lincoln … excellent on debut but probably looking for more ground now. PHOTO: Royden Williams.Port Lincoln … excellent on debut but probably looking for more ground now. PHOTO: Royden Williams.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: How our trainer rates them

Lisa Latta

Lisa’s comments

Thursday at Woodville

Race 3: Authentic Charm

“She has drawn perfectly in barrier seven so Robbie (Hannam) should be able to possie up just behind the pace, which is an advantage at Woodville. Her work has been very good since her last run and she should strike the perfect track for her, a dead 5. This is a very even line-up and she should be right in the finish.’’

Lincoln light

News in brief

TOP TIP: Trainer Lisa Latta was right on the money about $35 starter Lincoln Hills who ran a terrific fourth in very strong company at Awapuni. “He would have run even closer had he not pulled himself into the ground,” Latta said. Follow him on April 25.

INVADOR HOME: Platinum Invador is back in the country and will go straight to the spelling paddock after failing in the A$2million Australian Derby. Trainer Lisa Latta says in hindsight the three runs in two weeks he had on his NZ Derby camapign left him a tired horse.