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Platinum Road finishes fast to down Nudge Bar and Den Bosch at Trentham today. PHOTO: Peter Rubery/Race Images.

On the Road to the derby and aren’t they excited about this Platinum!

Part-owner Neville McAlister admits he could be almost more excited about getting Platinum Road to the New Zealand Derby than he was with his stablemate Platinum Invador last season.

Platinum Road started out on the long road to Ellerslie in March with a game win at Trentham today, living up to the promise he’s shown for McAlister and Lincoln Farms’ partners John and Lynne Street.

And while it was only a maiden over 1600 metres, and Platinum Invador has already proven himself, running a very brave and unlucky third in the Ellerslie classic, McAlister says Platinum Road has all the attributes to do even better.

Neville McAlister, centre, enjoys the moment with trainer Lisa Latta and Lincoln Farms’ business manager Ian Middleton.Neville McAlister, centre, enjoys the moment with trainer Lisa Latta and Lincoln Farms’ business manager Ian Middleton.“He’s bred to go one and a half miles,” said McAlister of the gelding whose sire Declaration Of War left this year’s Victoria Derby winner Warning.

“He’s a bigger and stronger horse than Platinum Invador at the same age and whereas we had to ride Invador back to teach him to settle because he wanted to reef and pull, this horse just does what you ask.

“Leith (Innes) said he’s so laid back he’ll just do what you want him to. In fact he’s so lazy Leith says he’ll need a hood on at some stage.”

McAlister says Lisa Latta wasn’t the only confident one today, Innes also keen on his chances after having ridden the horse in his first start as a two-year-old, two weeks after Invador’s derby placing.

And Innes did an inch perfect job today, settling the horse four back on the fence before moving out approaching the turn and piercing a gap three out to challenge late and get the bob in by a head over Nudge Bar.

McAlister says Platinum Road is still quite babyish - “he’s big and gangly but he’s a beautiful horse who we’ll see a lot more of once he gets over 2000 metres.”

Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them

Lisa Latta

Lisa’s comments

Saturday at Trentham

Race 3: Lincoln Raider

“He has come through his last run at Awapuni well and meets a handy line up with Sinarahma, who beat us last time, the danger. While the inside is not an ideal draw for him we have one of the best aboard in Opie Bosson and I’m sure he’ll find a path through them. This race looks well within his capabilities and he will enjoy being back on the roomy track where he has won three of his four races.”

Race 6: Platinum Road

“He won his first race here in December and ran a top third at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day. He has pleased me with how he has come through the trip away and I’m very happy with him. He gets in on the minimum weight of 54kg and meets a field of older horses that has some form in it. But this race fits in well with his derby programme and I’m expecting another top run from him.”

Race 9: Kamanda Lincoln

“I’ve changed his gear and gone back to the ring bit. I’ll be instructing Darryl (Bradley) to try to get handier to them as he’s been giving the opposition too big a start. Over 3200 metres there’s no reason why he can’t be closer. He ran ninth in the cup last year after starting from barrier 17 so I think the better draw is the key to his chances. He gets in on the minimum of 53kg.”

Race 9: Johnny Lincoln

“He’s been running very honest races and keeps grinding away so I feel the distance will suit him. He has continued to please me in training and, while I would have preferred a better draw, we will look to roll forward with him and hopefully Robbie (Hannam) can get a nice spot. These races are won by horses who can run out the 3200 metres strongly and I am really looking forward to seeing how he performs.”

Race 10: Lincoln Star

“I have brought him back in distance after his last run over a middle distance on Boxing Day. He has drawn well and should be able to get a nice, economical trip in midfield. The big track will suit him and has run some very good races over 1600 metres so, if he can reproduce his best form, he is capable of being right in the finish. His recent work has been good.”

Lisa Latta

Lisa’s comments

Monday at Otaki

Race 3: Lincoln Town

“He was disappointing in his jumpout when ridden in behind. His trackwork since has been only fair but he is an average track worker anyway who only does as much as he has to. All his form has been on rain-affected tracks so we will see on Monday whether he can go on top of the ground.”

Race 5: Benny Lincoln

“He ran a cracking race last time at Otaki and will appreciate the step-up to 1600 metres. He will also be against his own age group here. His work has been good and this looks a very winnable race for him.”

Race 6: Lincoln Lane

“He’s first-up after a long break but has improved a lot since his jumpout and has a good draw to use. I will be happy to just see him doing his best work at the finish.”

Race 7: Master Lincoln

“He ran a very good fourth when resuming and has trained on very well since. He has an awkward gate to overcome but it’s only a moderate field. Any give in the track will help his chances as his best form appears to be on dead surfaces.”