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Classy galloper Lincoln Falls in winning form at Trentham. PHOTO: Race Images.

Lisa: Tactics will be crucial for Lincoln Falls from a wide gate

Trainer Lisa Latta admits her confidence has really been dented now that Lincoln Falls has to start from an outside gate in Saturday’s $225,000 Levin Classic at Trentham.

“If he’d drawn well I would have been quietly confident,’’ says Latta. “I’m very happy with him. He’s really improved since Auckland and his final work on Thursday morning was very good.

“But drawing gate 10 changes things, especially with the favourite Madison County in one.’’

Latta worries that even though Trentham has one of the longest home straights in the country, often a distinctive pattern emerges that precludes back runners from getting into the action.

“We’ll have to watch the pattern of racing on the day before deciding how to ride him. If they’re coming from the back it won’t be so much of a problem from that gate.

“And they can run on at Trentham especially if the track is dead.’’

Showers are forecast in the region, with 19ml of rain tipped to fall in the next 24 hours, conditions which would favour Lincoln Falls.

While he has shown a remarkable turn of foot on even slow footing, the sticky heavy 10 ground did tie up Lincoln Falls in his last run at Ellerslie when fourth in the Uncle Remus Stakes.

Neither Latta nor rider Johnathan Parkes were disappointed in the effort, his first right-handed - when Lincoln Falls cleared traffic he attacked the line strongly behind Saturday’s race rival Hypnos.

“The ground won’t worry him whatever it is, but it should stay dead.’’ The track was rated a dead 4 this morning.

“He’s a good horse and if he doesn’t get too far off them he’ll be right there at the finish.’’

Lincoln Falls has one advantage over main rivals, 2000 Guineas winner Madison County, Hypnos and Crown Prosecutor in that he has raced, and won, at Trentham. He gave a master class fresh-up there this campaign, albeit to inferior rivals.

Bookies have the Dundeel colt third fancy at $6 and $1.90.

Kamanda Lincoln scores at Riccarton in November. He was dead stiff at Awapuni last week and only needs clear air to show his true worth. PHOTO: Race Images.Kamanda Lincoln scores at Riccarton in November. He was dead stiff at Awapuni last week and only needs clear air to show his true worth. PHOTO: Race Images.Kamanda Lincoln dead unlucky

Ironically, Latta has another concern over Kamanda Lincoln’s inside barrier draw in the $70,000 Trentham Stakes.

Last week Latta was rejoicing when the horse, so often handicapped by wide gates, landed the inside draw.

But it turned out to be a disaster when, despite jumping well and finding an early trail, Kamanda Lincoln ended up buried on a cruelly slow tempo and, despite rider Sam Collett doing her best to clear heels in the run home, he never saw clear air, untested in ninth place, five lengths from the winner.

“He didn’t have a run, he pulled up that good.’’

Latta even dished up one more work to the horse this week as a consequence, galloping him this morning over 1000 metres.

“He worked really nicely but he’s drawn one again and I’m concerned it might happen again. He can’t lead - he’d pull his head off.

“We’ll just have to hope they run along a bit and he gets some room. With such a long run home he should get a clear run this time.”

Kamanda Lincoln is in dire danger of missing a run in next week’s $250,000 Wellington Cup if he cannot run a place on Saturday. He sits 20th in the qualifying order, with only 18 getting a start.

“He’ll just have to run in the Summer Cup on the last day if he misses out.’’

Bookies have Kamanda Lincoln one of the outsiders on Saturday at a generous $26 and $5 behind Chance To Dance ($2.50), Consenus ($3.80) and Hunta Pence ($4.20).

Platinum Touch … filly with a future. PHOTO: Royden Williams.Platinum Touch … filly with a future. PHOTO: Royden Williams.Of the rest of Lincoln Farms’ runners, Latta is most looking forward to seeing what improvement two-year-old filly Platinum Touch has taken from her debut.

The filly covered herself in glory in premier company at Awapuni on December 22 when, hunted up from a wide gate to be on speed, she was right in the fight until late, losing second on the line.

“She has two and a half lengths to make up on John Bary’s one (The Fugitive) who won well but I think she’s a filly who can carry on with it.

“It was a big ask last start. We didn’t get a real line on her at the trials because she didn’t jump but Robbie (Hannam) is really good at getting them out of the gates and she’s drawn well on Saturday.’’

It’s hard to get too carried away with Johnny Lincoln (race 5) as a winning chance with his poor strike rate of one win from 28 starts but Latta says “he looks fantastic and from a nice draw he should possie up just in behind them, instead of having to do the work he did last time.’’

The Savabeel gelding has paid a dividend in 13 of his 28 starts.

Our runners this week

Thursday at Waipukurau

Miss Oahu, Authentic Charm.

Saturday at Rosehill

Platinum Invador.

Lincoln light

News in brief

STEPHEN POSITIVE:

AUTUMN PREP: Trainer Lisa Latta may consider an autumn campaign with Lincoln Falls if he comes through his gelding operation well, kicking off with the Group III Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) at Te Rapa on April 27. The horse, who did not see out the derby trip last Saturday, went out to the paddock today for a freshen-up before visiting the vet.

RETIRED: Bush Whacked has been retired. Despite showing promise at trials the Sepoy three-year-old showed in three starts for Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh that he simply didn’t want to be a racehorse.

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.

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.