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Strapper Josh Herd greets Lincoln Hills on returning after his last start win.

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.’’

Manhattan Street … has won only one race since this six and a half length romp in the Ryder Stakes in 2016.Manhattan Street … has won only one race since this six and a half length romp in the Ryder Stakes in 2016.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.’’

Bridie Ansell with her first winner, Dr Watson, at Trentham.Bridie Ansell with her first winner, Dr Watson, at Trentham.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.

Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them

Lisa Latta

Lisa’s comments

Saturday at New Plymouth

Race 7: Platinum Volos

“It’s not an ideal race for him and I’m a bit worried about the 1400 metres. We’ll have to ride him back last and look for runs through them to give him the chance to see the distance out.”

Al Barnes

Al’s comments

Saturday at Kilcoy

Race 5: Lincoln’s Command
4.59pm NZ time

“He looks fantastic and his work has been good. Kilcoy is a very tight track and you need to be up front so we’ll be going foreward even from the wide draw. We rode him back last time and it didn’t work as he’s too one-paced.”