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.
“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.”
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Saturday at Trentham
Race 1: Lincoln Valley
“He didn’t have all favours last start- he was three wide without cover the trip and the effort told in the last bit. He also got squeezed up a little late. From the six draw we will go forward and I’m sure Lisa will have learned a lot from him in his last run. His work has been really good and I have added a nasal strip as he is quite a noisy breather and it may help. It’s not an overly strong field and the big roomy track will suit.”
Race 7: Platinum Spirit
“We are racing him out of his grade so he gets in at a nice light weight. Carrying 60kg last start was a really big ask and he got there a touch too soon. He has drawn awkwardly at 12 but he has the ability to put himself in the race if there’s a lack of speed. He looks fantastic and still holds a nomination for the Wellington Cup next week but might need to gain a few more points to get into the field. Chris Dell rides.”
Race 8: Father Lenihan
“The outside draw is tricky but Robbie knows him well - he’s ridden him in three of his four wins - and I’m sure he will make him jump and put him on the speed. He’s been out of the winner’s circle for a while but he went a great race last start and this field is nowhere near as strong. We were going to step him up over ground but he sits so awkwardly in the ratings at 76 that he would be carrying the top weight of 62kg in a R74 2000m.”