Pegasus flyer Lincoln’s Kruz a $16 chance for the Stewards and Lisa reckons he can win
TAB bookies obviously don’t share trainer Lisa Latta’s confidence in Lincoln’s Kruz in Saturday’s $140,000 Stewards Stakes at Riccarton, opening the horse only eighth favourite at $23.
But Latta believes Lincoln’s Kruz needs only a little more luck than he got when a close second in last week’s Pegasus to win this week.
Latta said the showy black turned in a super effort to be beaten just half a neck, when rider Joe Doyle struggled to find clear air late yet still thundered over his closing 600 metres in 31.98.
“Things got a bit tight in the last 100 metres but he still kicked really strongly and Joe thought he deserved to win,” Latta said.
“From the inside draw on Saturday, Joe should get a lovely run just in behind the leaders and I think, with a bit more luck in the straight, he can go one better.”
Latta said she had no hesitation in starting the horse again on Saturday after he pulled up well and ate up.
“He is looking fantastic and, if anything, has improved since Saturday. I think he will appreciate the quick back-up.”
Lincoln’s Kruz, who paid $4.70 for a place last week, and is showing $4.80 again on Saturday, managed only fourth in the Stewards last year after winning the Pegasus, beaten 5.4 lengths.
But he over-raced badly through the early and middle stages for rider Lisa Allpress, then was held up between the 450 and 300 metre marks.
It’s a trait which has undone the horse previously and reflects not his inability to run an extra 200 metres, rather the fact the pace is generally quicky over the shorter trip, allowing him to settle better.
That also explains why four of his six wins have been over 1000 metres.
All the horse needs on Saturday, says Latta, is a genuine tempo to allow him to produce his explosive best.
Raced by Lincoln Farms owners John and Lynne Street, their business manager Ian Middleton, Jeff and Vicky Roach, Peter and Bridget Morris, Sue Croft and Steve Haylock, Lincoln’s Kruz has won $187,550.
He isn’t the only horse Middleton will be trying to follow in the race, however, with his own galloper Kana backing up from an impressive first-day win.
The up-and-coming Tivaci mare races in the yellow and white colours of trainer Peter Didham who has trained her to win four of her 12 starts.
Didham has never backed up the four-year-old so quickly before but says she deserves her spot in the Stewards with a light weight of 53kg.
“She was stopped once or twice in straight on the first day and still picked herself up, which is hard to do over 1100 metres. At the finish she looks like she’s got more and pricks her ears.
“It would be good to get a clear run and, even though she’ll have to go up a level and improve her times by a second, I rate her a top four chance.”
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Saturday at Trentham
Race 2: Platinum Assault
“He has gone two really nice races this time in and I think he has turned the corner. Lily Sutherland’s 2kg claim will get him down to a very competitive 54.5kg. He wasn’t entirely comfortable in the heavy track at Hastings last start and I thought he ran really well for second. He come through that race nicely and is bright and happy. I think he can be right in the finish, back onto a better track and dropping to 1000 metres from a good three draw.”
Race 3: Lincoln’s Kruz
“It’s a small but tidy field but dropping back to 1100 metres will suit him and, while the track is currently a soft 7, with no rain in the forecast it should dry out beautifully for him. He travelled back from Riccarton in fantastic order and is looking great. We will be able to get a good line on him here and can make a plan after that. He holds a nomination for the Railway at Pukekohe on January 1 and we also have the Telegraph on January 13. Joe Doyle rides from four.”
Race 7: Lincoln Falls
“The blinkers really sparked him up last time. We will look to ride him positively from the gates again and, while he is running out of his grade, if Sam Spratt can get him across from the wide draw, I think he can be competitive. He looked like his old self last start, just blew out over the last 200 metres, and has taken great improvement out of that run. If he doesn’t measure up, we can drop back to the 65 grade and step him up to 1600 metres for one last crack.”
Race 8: Platinum Invador
“The mile will be short of his best but I could see him running a cheeky race. I can’t fault him - he looks great and is jumping out of his skin. We have been swimming him every afternoon which he really enjoys. I’ll ask Tina (Comignaghi) to give him a good warm-up before the start and to ride him positively. This race leads in nicely to the Zabeel Classic at Pukekohe on December 26.”