Race Images - Gallops

Platinum Invador just fails to pick up Savy Yong Blonk in the City Of Auckland Cup on New Year’s Day. PHOTO: Trish Dunell.

Lisa: Taranaki Cup too short for Platinum Invador but he’ll be motoring late

Trainer Lisa Latta isn’t setting the bar too high for Platinum Invador in Saturday’s $75,000 Taranaki Cup.

“As long as he’s getting home well, I’ll be happy,” says Latta. “If he weighed in, I’d be rapt.”

Platinum Invador is a joint $8.50 second favourite with Fiscal Fantasy behind the red hot Concert Hall ($1.75) but Latta doesn’t expect Lincoln Farms’ horse to push the last start Zabeel Classic winner.

Coming back from the 2400 metres of the City Of Auckland Cup to the 1800 metres of the Taranaki feature isn’t ideal for Platinum Invador but the race fits in well with his big cups preparation.

It’s the same path Platinum Invador trod last year, when only 11th at Taranaki, but Latta says he’ll do better this time.

“He drew the outside last year but he finally gets a decent draw in three, which he will need. Hopefully we can use this to our advantage and ride him a bit handier than normal.”

Latta says the horse has freshened up nicely since his terrific City Of Auckland Cup run, when he flew late to be denied the smallest possible nose by Savy Yong Blonk.

“He had his final gallop yesterday and worked great. I couldn’t be happier with him.”

Platinum Invador’s next two starts, both at Ellerslie, are the $100,000 Avondale Cup (2400m) on February 20 and the $500,000 Auckland Cup (3200m) on March 13, races in which he ran second and third last year.

With another year and an Australian campaign behind him, Platinum Invador is well credentialled to do better this time but Latta isn’t getting too excited.

“I never get too far ahead of myself at this time of year. It’s not easy with how hard the tracks are. These are tough months on any horse and we tend to do a bit more swimming.

“I just try to keep them sound and happy and he’s a really happy horse at the moment.”

Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them

Lisa Latta

Lisa’s comments

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.”