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Kamanda Lincoln, left, outfinishes Abacus, third, at Riccarton two starts back - after starting from a good draw. PHOTO: Race Images.

Lisa rapt with where Kamanda Lincoln’s at - physically, mentally and in the gates

Kamanda Lincoln needs to pull out a big one at Awapuni on Saturday to force his way into the Wellington Cup - and trainer Lisa Latta says he’s in just the right order to do it.

“He’s a very happy horse at the moment. He looks fantastic and is really thriving.

“And most important of all, he’s finally come up with a good barrier (one) which means we can be much more positive on him from the gates.’’

Kamanda Lincoln presently sits on a lowly rating 69 which sees 27 horses ahead of him in the ranking for the $250,000 Wellington Cup in two weeks.

But he looks to have a royal chance of winning on Saturday in a rating 72 event where he will be ridden by leading jockey Samantha Collett.

Collett knows Kamanda Lincoln well now - it will be her fourth ride on the horse - and she was on board at Riccarton two starts back when he drew well and jumped straight into a handy possie before outstaying his rivals over 2500 metres.

Collett experienced the frustration of riding Kamanda Lincoln from a bad gate at Te Rapa last time when he got too far out of his ground and never got into the race behind The Good Fight over 2400 metres.

On Saturday, from the inside alley, everything sets up perfectly for Kamada Lincoln and Latta says she isn’t worried about the horse coming back to 2100 metres.

“It’s his home track and I really expect him to go close.

“Safely through Saturday’s run I will make a decision on whether he needs to back up next Saturday or whether we will head straight into the Wellington Cup.’’

Lincoln Star carries more weight than Kamanda Lincoln. PHOTO: Race Images.Lincoln Star carries more weight than Kamanda Lincoln. PHOTO: Race Images.Latta says, with his experience, she favours Kamanda Lincoln on Saturday over improving stablemate Lincoln Star, who after a recent win on the course and two seconds is carded to carry half a kilo more with top weight of 59kg.

“Lincoln Star hasn’t got the good draw of the other horse and while he will enjoy getting back onto a better surface, I veer towards Kamanda Lincoln.’’

Lincoln Star was very brave in his latest outing at Awapuni on Boxing Day when he battled through a heavy 10 track to run second to Skyphyta.

“Rosie said he didn’t like the footing at all.

“He has trained on really well since and we will be positive with him from the gate too as we know he jumps well and can put himself on the speed.’’

Good no good for Father Lenihan

Latta will delay until the last minute a decision on whether to run Father Lenihan in the opening race.

“We know he likes the fire out of the track. It is currently rated dead with no rain forecast. If the track does get back to a good 3 at scratching time on Saturday morning I will pull him out and save him for Wellington the following week when showers are forecast.

“But being the first race hopefully they will come up with a dead track through irrigation and we can run.

Father Lenihan in winning form at Awapuni. He gets weight relief on Saturday but must have the fire out of the ground to start.Father Lenihan in winning form at Awapuni. He gets weight relief on Saturday but must have the fire out of the ground to start.“He continues to please me and looks really well.’’

Latta says she entered Father Lenihan in the rating 82 race so he could get some weight relief - the horse has carried 59kg or close to it in 10 of his 11 career starts and has not had the luxury of 56kg since his debut in May, 2017.

The O’Reilly four-year-old felt this weight late at Awapuni on December 22 after being wide all the way.

“Robbie (Hannam) admitted last time he probably should have been more positive and gone forward so we will look to do that on Saturday.’’

Father Lenihan showed what he could do on rain-affected ground at his previous start when he disputed the lead throughout at Trentham before running third to talented stablemate Lincoln Raider.

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