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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

Saturday at Hastings

Master Lincoln, Lincoln Town, Port Lincoln, Father Lenihan, Lincoln Hills, Almo Street, Lincoln Star.

Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them

Lisa Latta

Lisa’s comments

Thursday at Waverley

Race 1: Platinum Bordeaux

“I have put Charlotte O’Beirne back on her as she went so well for her at Awapuni two runs back. She had 10 days in the paddock after the Castletown which was run on a very heavy track. She is very bright and well and worked very well this morning. The wide draw is not ideal but the better track at Waverley will suit.’’

Race 3: Platinum Volos

“He has a wide draw to overcome but will move in to barrier 13 with the ballots coming out. He has good gate speed and the better track will play into his hands. Hopefully he will behave himself in the gates and based on his jumpouts and trials this shouldn’t be an issue. His work has been very good and I expect him to be right in the finish.’’

Race 4: Lincoln Dreamer

“He has had a stone bruise this morning but I hope to get him there if he gets the two more scratchings he needs to regain the field. If not, there is a race for him at Awapuni next Saturday. His work has been good since the wet tracks arrived and he has trialled well so I am expecting an improved run.’’

Lincoln light

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