Our Lisa can’t bear watching them jump - not in a maiden or a National Hurdles
Lisa Latta will be at Riccarton on Wednesday but don’t expect her to be watching when Manhattan Street tackles the maiden hurdles and The Great Guru the Grand National Hurdles.
Latta won’t even be listening to the two races.
For while Latta is one of the country’s top trainers she admits she gets too nervous watching her horses over jumps.
When The Great Guru won the maiden steeplechase at Riccarton last Saturday Latta was with her other horses in the stables.
“I couldn’t even hear the commentary but someone was listening and yelled out: ‘You’ve just won’.
“I hate watching jumpers. You put so much work into them - a lot more than flat horses - and it takes just one fall to put them out of commission.
“I’ve never really liked watching jumping races and I did lose one a few years ago.”
That horse was Hot Deputy who was having only his third jumps race when he fell in the 2011 Wellington Hurdles and had to be put down.
“I’ve got two jumpers in on Wednesday so it’s going to be very nerve racking.”
Manhattan Street, in particular, gets Latta in a sweat when she thinks about him racing in a big 13-horse field in the opening race.
“You need a lot of luck in those big fields where you’re so dictated to and he’s still learning.”
Manhattan Street, who had been a perennial disappointment since his two-year-old days, started schooling earlier this year in a last ditch attempt by Latta to get him interested.
He made an instant impression on top jumps rider Shaun Fannin who liked his economical style.
And when he debuted over hurdles at Awapuni on July 25, finishing third, Manhattan Street loomed into the race 600 metres out like a winner.
“Shaun was surprised at the 800 how well he was travelling but he just came to the end of it in the run home.
“I wouldn’t expect him to weaken this time even though at 3100 metres, it’s over another 350 metres.
“He has come through his Awapuni run very well and has continued to work well. He travelled down well to Christchurch and is very bright.
“We know he likes a wet, testing track, which he will strike, and if he can run a similar race to Awapuni he will be right in the finish.”
Heavy going the test for Guru
The extra 1000 metres of the National will be one issue for The Great Guru, whose first day win in the maiden steeples was over just 3200 metres.
But while The Great Guru Latta might be a rung below the best, Latta says he does have a stack of stamina, and she is more concerned about the testing going.
“The steeplechase course he ran on the other day is usually a bit better and they can struggle when they hit the deeper ground on the course proper.
“He’s not that good in really heavy ground.”
While the forecast is good, the track remains a heavy 10 and is only likely to get more holding.
Latta is hoping that won’t be an issue for what on paper looks the best of Lincoln Farms’ six runners, Lincoln Hills (race 10).
“He’s really well in himself and has thrived since his last run at Hastings.”
Lincoln Hills, a winner at his previous start at Awapuni in heavy 10 conditions, was badly held up early in the run home that day, dead unlucky to run only fifth.
Lincoln Hills has stamped himself as a progressive galloper and from gate eight, wth Chris Johnson aboard, looks a safer bet than stablemate Platinum Volos, who sprung an upset in a hood at his last start.
Latta has yet to decide whether to back up Platinum Rapper in the fourth race after she pulled up jaded after last Saturday’s Winter Cup.
Platinum Rapper was right in the party until the 200 metre mark, stuck down in the worst going on the inside, but weakened out late.
‘I’ll leave a decision until race morning,” says Latta.
“But if we run, she’s a real chance. This is a massive drop in class into a rating 82. And she has had a run over a middle distance - when fifth here - so the 2000 metres isn’t a worry.”
More news in Gallops
Thrilling comeback by injury-plagued Lincoln Falls rates right up there for the Streets
Lisa: All we want at Wanganui on Friday is no more bad luck for Lincoln’s Kruz
Riddell set to Attack on the expected good footing at Tauherenikau on Tuesday
Sad end for Rufus - but Platinum Invador earned the plaudits of punters everywhere
Our runners this week
Wednesday at Hastings