Morning drenching leaves Awapuni very heavy and raises little doubt on Lincoln Hills
Lincoln Hills is in top form but trainer Lisa Latta says he’s a risk in the conditions he will face at Awapuni on Saturday.
Palmerston North was drenched by 35 ml of rain this morning and Latta says if the meeting had been scheduled for today it probably would not have been held.
“It’s been terrible here and there are puddles on the track. They’ll be gone by Saturday but the track will be very, very heavy, much worse than he’s ever raced on.’’
The forecast for the next few days is looking better but Latta says it will be a real test for the horses and she worries Lincoln Hills could be found out.
The four-year-old looked very promising when running away to score by two and a half lengths at Awapuni on May 18, despite being held up early in the run home.
But while the conditions were rated a heavy 10 that day, they didn’t restrict his good galloping action which he has also used to good effect on dead and even good ground.
The Awapuni track was already rated a heavy 11 before the downpours this morning so just how deep and holding it will be on Saturday is anyone’s guess.
“But he is thriving at the moment, he still has a great coat on him, and he is enjoying having his races spaced.’’
Latta found the key to the All Too Hard gelding earlier this season when she restricted his runs to about one a month, with immediate effect.
“He galloped very nicely yesterday morning, he goes well at Awapuni, and he has drawn in the right place to be right in this - if he handles the track.’’
That’s one thing that Lincoln Farms stablemate Manhattan Street will do in the fourth race - all four of his wins have been in heavy 11 ground.
But after winning his first three straight as a two-year-old, including the Ryder Stakes, Manhattan Street has been disappointing, winning only one of his next 22 starts.
Latta has been mixing up his work in recent weeks and has even resorted to jumping him, a role in which he is very proficient.
“He got the first part of his jumping ticket last week.’’
Latta was disappointed with the five-year-old’s first-up run at Wanganui 12 days ago, when eighth, over 1200 metres.
“But he had done a lot of work heading into it and he may be looking for more ground now, which he gets on Saturday.
“He is racing out of his class but a light weight will help him. Bridie Ansell will claim 4kg, down to 50kg.’’
Ansell is a real rookie among the riders’ ranks, having only just started her career.
But from just three rides, she has already posted a winner - Dr Watson at Trentham last Saturday.