Lisa praying for rain for one last throw at the stumps with the unlucky Platinum Spirit
You only have to watch a video replay of Platinum Spirit’s run last week to understand why trainer Lisa Latta says he will be very hard to beat in Saturday’s Summer Cup (2400m) at Trentham.
Platinum Spirit was held up for so much of the run home Latta says the horse “didn’t really have a race at all.”
And that’s why she says she has no hesitation in lining him up again this week in an 11th hour bid to make the cut for the $250,000 Wellington Cup in nine day’s time.
Platinum Spirit was crowded on jumping out of the gates last week and got back second last but that was nothing to the traffic Ryan Elliot encountered when he tried to improve on straightening for home.
Blocked from moving further out on the track, Elliot sat on the handbrake from the 400 metre mark, behind a wall of horses, unable to ask the horse to go.
When a gap finally came 100 metres from home the bird had flown - Waisake getting four lengths clear of his rivals - and Platinum Spirit was only starting to wind up at the line, half a head, three-quarters of a length and a long neck from runner-up Southern Ocean.
A fifth placing did nothing to promote him up the entry order for the cup and he sits last of the 25 still in contention.
But Latta is still hoping even if the horse runs a place on Saturday and can earn three ratings points he might have a slender chance of making the 3200 metre feature.
“It may just come up a year too soon for him but he is a really nice staying horse and I think he is going to go on with it whatever he does.
“He looks fantastic, I couldn’t be happier with him, and he’s really sparked up with all the rain we’ve had this week.
“Wellington has been missing the showers at the moment but they are supposed to get some tonight so hopefully we come up with a nice dead track come Saturday.”
The Trentham track was rated a dead 5 this morning and with 9ml forecast today even a one click downgrade would see Platinum Spirit’s chances soar. He has been at is best on rain-affected ground, breaking maidens at Trentham in heavy 11 conditions.
Platinum Spirit finished third in last year’s Summer Cup behind Casino El Jay and Cottoneva carrying 54kg and has only 57kg on Saturday.
With Elliot not available - he rides the Bryce Newman-trained La Mia Sirena - the mount has gone to the in-form Jonathan Riddell.
TAB bookies opened Platinum Spirit a $6 second favourite behind Bill Thurlow’s No Compromise ($2.60) who was a tragedy bashed last time at Awapuni when hemmed in for the entire run home.
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Saturday at Otaki
Race 2: Lincoln Kruz
“He galloped nicely this morning. Nine is a tricky draw but his best runs have been when he is ridden back. Hopefully they run along up front which will give him the chance to finish the race off. He looks fantastic and is well in himself.”
Race 5: Platinum Spirit
“He was disappointing last start but we have had his back done since, which was out, and he has really brightened up over the last 10 days. The top three look the ones to beat but he has raced well at Otaki before and the way he has bounced back I expect him to be very competitive. This race fits in well with the St Leger at Trentham in mid March. Sam O’Malley rides.”
Race 8: Father Lenihan
“He has drawn two and Hazel Schofer has been booked, claiming 2kg down to 60kg. He galloped well yesterday but this morning he was just a little bit off on his near side front and it is in his foot. We are on top of it, poulticing him up, so two days out from the race we hope he’ll get there but a decision won’t be made until race morning.”