Miss Oahu has the best credentials but Lisa also has a smokey for Saturday
A slick final gallop has trainer Lisa Latta bullish about the chances of Miss Oahu at Wanganui on Saturday when she lines up six horses for Lincoln Farms.
The Pins six-year-old hasn’t raced for five months but goes well fresh and showed with a recent trial win at Woodville that she is nicely primed.
Crucially, Miss Oahu drops back to a rating 65 race, after four runs in rating 75 grade last campaign, the only two bad performances when running on very wet ground.
Latta hopes the ground on Saturday will have nothing more than the fire out of it.
From barrier nine, rider Rosie Myers will need to do her best work, but Latta says with good speed in the race she should be able to slot in just behind the leaders.
Miss Oahu has been very slow maturing but Latta is hoping this can be her breakout season after showing glimpses of real ability.
In her latest placing in May she chased home Casaquinman, form franked during cup week when that horse won the Listed Pegasus Stakes at Riccarton.
“She’s taken a long time. Originally she worked like she’d get over ground but we tried her over 1400 metres and 1600 metres and she didn’t see it out.”
Lincoln Farms’ other runner in the race, Dreams Of Platinum, will be piloted by Robbie Hannam, the switch to a stronger rider expected to help her.
Leah Hemi was on board when the mare resumed at New Plymouth last Friday, running fifth behind useful types Rose Bowl and High Distinction.
She didn’t get all favours that day, blocked turning for home and fighting on well only three lengths from the winner.
Lincoln Star the improver
Latta tips Lincoln Star as her big improver in the eighth race.
She reports Lincoln Star has gone ahead since his resuming run at Awapuni on November 3 when he finished fifth, but only 2.4 lengths from winning stablemate Father Lenihan.
The Savabeel four-year-old was held up 400 metres out that day, then bumped and unbalanced, yet still fought on well to the line.
The race has proved a good form guide with Father Lenihan narrowly missing in his next outing and third placed Miss Doherty and fourth-placed Last Style both winning their next starts.
Lincoln Star, an older four-year-old brother to Lincoln Sky who runs in the opening race, is out of the O’Reilly mare Dating and cost $180,000 as a yearling.
It is a good family as Dating, a multiple Group III winner of five races, was the third highest filly on the Free Handicap of 2009-10 and is a sister to five-race winner Miracle Miss, the dam of stakes winner Maritimo.
Drawn nicely in gate five, Latta expects rider Robbie Hannam will be able to jump out and possie up in fifth or sixth place.
And she says he will be better suited to the 1600 metres of Saturday’s race, than the 1400 metres of his fresh-up run.
The sole glitch in Lincoln Star’s formline was in his final start last campaign when he beat only one home in a very strong premier three-year-old race at Te Rapa in April won by Karisto.
Latta says the only worry with Lincoln Star is the rapidly drying track - “he really wants the fire out of it.”
Two vital gear changes
Hannam will also be on board Lincoln’s Gal in the second race when Latta is banking on two vital gear changes to help the Australian-bred I Am Invincible mare.
Lincoln’s Gal has been in the money in six of her 10 starts but the fact she has won only once can be put down to her poor barrier manners.
A good fresh-up third at Woodville, Lincoln’s Gal again spoiled her chances at Otaki last time with a bad getaway then was squeezed up a couple of times in the run home.
“I have put the barrier blanket on her so she goes into the gates last and does not get the chance to play up,’’ says Latta.
“I have also added ear covers as it seems to stop her from getting wound up.
“Her work has been good and I’m just hoping there’s some give in the track.’’
Lincoln’s Gal raced only four times last campaign for a second and a win before she was outclassed in strong premier company behind Scott Base and Gift Of Power.
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Wednesday at Matamata
Race 5: Bush Whacked
Thursday at Otaki
Race 2, 4: Lincoln Sky
“I’ve put him in two races, one over 1200 metres and the other 1400 metres and will wait to see what the weather does before deciding which race to run in. If the rain arrives we will line him up in the 1200. He ran a good race when resuming at Wanganui and I have been happy with his progress since.’’
Race 6: Platinum Invador
“Unfortunately he has come up with an outside draw again. He ran a big race at Trentham from a wide gate in a far stronger field. A lot of rain is forecast on Wednesday night though so the bad draw may be negated come race time. He galloped very well this morning and I expect him to be right in it.’’
Race 8: Alesha Lincoln
“Her recent work has been good enough and we have a nice draw to use. Being by Alamosa, it suggests any rain will not worry her. I am looking forward to her debut.’’
Saturday at Awapuni
Race 1: Miss Oahu
“I’ve chosen to start her up a rating band to get some weight relief and she gets in with only 54.5kg. She has really improved since her first-up run and her coat looks far better now. I expect a bold run from her, especially with the one draw to use.’’
Race 2: Platinum Touch
“She’s come up with the outside draw so if it doesn’t rain I will probably scratch her and go to New Plymouth on December 27. Her work has been good and I am happy with her heading into her debut.”
Race 5: Johnny Lincoln
“He’s drawn one from the outside but if he can get any luck in the running he’ll be very hard to beat. I am very happy with him and he has trained on well.’’
Race 8: Father Lenihan
“He’s had no luck with barrier draws and the trend continues on Saturday where he has drawn the outside. He has good gate speed however so we will look to go forward. The forecasted rain will help him and hopefully the track ends up in the dead range. He has continued to please me since his last run at Trentham.’’
News in brief
MAM’SELLE MASSIVE: Platinum Mam’selle clocked 34.59, easily the fastest last 600 metres in her race at Awapuni on Saturday when she flew from last at the 200 metre mark to get up for third, just a head and a long neck from winner All In Mana. Those who followed trainer Lisa Latta’s advice collected a $4.50 place dividend.
INVADOR UNLUCKY: Platinum Invador ($52) ran only ninth at Trentham but was dead unlucky. He settled at the rear after jumping awkwardly then was held up entering the home straight and did not get clear until 100 metres out when he rocketed home to be just 2.6 lengths from the winner.
PORT’S FORGIVE RUN: Port Lincoln did well to finish less than three lengths from the winner at Waipukurau. He was held up for a distance near the 500 metres then ran up onto heels passing the 300 metres, having to be angled outwards to get clear.
BUSH BAFFLER: Trainer Stephen Marsh will be trying a few different training tactics with Bush Whacked, including some jumping, to try to switch the horse on. He travelled strongly on the pace until the turn at Avondale but quickly raised the white flag.
DERBY DREAM: Trainer Lisa Latta has nominated six Lincoln Farms’ three-year-olds for the $1 million New Zealand Derby at Ellerslie on March 2 - Lincoln Falls, Lincoln Lane, Ajay Lincoln, Lincoln Fury, Lincoln Hanover and Platinum Invador. Latta has also entered 2000 Guineas placegetter Sir Nate.
VOLOS BLOWS IT AGAIN: Platinum Volos did another Chautauqua impersonation when he refused to come out of the gates at Awapuni despite wearing pacifiers and a barrier blanket. The grey will now have to trial on multiple occasions before being allowed to race again.
ALMO OUT FOR SPELL: Almo Street’s much awaited racetrack return, with the aid of a blindfold to help him jump out of the gates, has been put on hold. Trainer Lisa Latta says the normally good trackworker has been decidedly average in his last two gallops and, after nearly a year in work sorting out his problems, is simply over the top.