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Strapper Matt Lavelle leads Platinum Invador who is chasing a derby start at Otaki on Saturday. PHOTO: Race Images.

Platinum Invador and Kamanda Lincoln chasing big race berths

Starts in the two biggest races of the year could hinge on how Platinum Invador and Kamanda Lincoln fare at Otaki on Saturday.

Platinum Invador sits perilously at 21st in the entry order for the $1 million New Zealand Derby on March 2 and Kamanda Lincoln is only slightly better placed, ranked 20th in line for a start in the $500,000 Auckland Cup on March 9.

Platinum Invador has been racing better than a lot of his derby opposition but with the rankings based on stakes won this season only, he needs to win the eighth race at Otaki.

The $15,625 first prize on Saturday would elevate him to $30,975, and see him leapfrog Sword In Stone and Masetto, but still leave him one place shy of cementing a place in the 18-horse derby field, just below Arrogant on $31,500 and Prise De Fer on $32,625.

Ironically it was Prise De Fer who was the one who got in his way so badly in the Avondale Guineas at Ellerslie last start.

Platinum Invador was completely shut out of the gap rider Chris Johnson was attempting when Prise De Fer lay out 350 metres from home. And Prise De Fer’s home stretch wanderings also saw Platinum Invador blocked again 100 metres later, the horse going to the post untested.

Trainer Lisa Latta is delighted with the way Platinum Invador has come through the race, which is only to be expected, she says, given he hardly had a race.

“He is holding his condition well. This is a tidy field of three-year-olds and four-year-olds but he gets in well at the weight scale and he is a past winner at Otaki over this distance so I am expecting a top run from him.’’

Platinum Invador is carded to carry the minimum of only 54kg, with the top five in the handicap on 59.5kg. He will again be ridden by Chris Johnson.

Kamanda Lincoln, at left, scoring at Riccarton. Rider Sam Collett wants to see some rain to dampen the track. PHOTO: Race Images.Kamanda Lincoln, at left, scoring at Riccarton. Rider Sam Collett wants to see some rain to dampen the track. PHOTO: Race Images.Winnable weight

Kamanda Lincoln also gets in with a very winnable weight in the sixth race, the Ruakawa Cup.

With just 56kg, he will be getting 2.5kg from All In Vogue, 3kg from Rock On, 5kg from Alinko Prince and 6.5kg from Sampson, all of whom are using apprentice allowances.

Most important of all, Kamada Lincoln has barrier two, meaning rider Dylan Turner should be able to sit closer to the pace than the horse did when drawing badly in the Wellington Cup.

“His work this week has been excellent and I could not be happier with him heading into Saturday,’’ says Latta.

The dicey weather forecast, with the approach of Cyclone Oma, also gives Latta plenty of confidence.

“Sam (Collett) said after the cup that he really needs a dead to slow track and with that moisture around he might just get it.

“He might be 12 months way from winning a big cup but if he won well on Saturday he’d deserve his shot at the Auckland Cup.’’

Failing a cup start, Latta says Kamanda Lincoln would head to the $50,000 NZ St Leger (2600m) at Trentham on March 16.

Lincoln Farms’ other two runners at Otaki both have each way chances, Platinum Mam’selle facing just six rivals in the opening race and Lincoln Fury boasting the form to be right in the hunt in the fourth race.

Latta says you can put a line through Platinum Mam’selle’s last two runs at Trentham when fifth both times.

“There was such an on-speed bias you can’t read too much into those runs.

“She’s better ridden from the back and given time to get into her rhythm.’’

Platinum Mam’selle has spent more time with physiotherapist Nikki Lourie recently to ease her jarring up problems but returned to the stable at the end of last week.

“She gets a bit funny in behind but she galloped well on Saturday and again this morning. Hopefully this will result in a better run from her and there is no track bias like we struck at Wellington.

“She meets a tidy and very competitive field but has come up with the one draw.’’

Lincoln Fury … ran the fastest last 600 metres at Wanganui last time. PHOTO: Royden Williams.Lincoln Fury … ran the fastest last 600 metres at Wanganui last time. PHOTO: Royden Williams.Latta is tipping a good run from Lincoln Fury who went a much-improved race at Wanganui last Friday despite not getting the rub of the green.

When rider Chris Johnson couldn’t get in he was forced to ease back to eighth and, just when he was mounting his run, he copped a bump entering the home straight.

The horse picked up nicely again and was only 1.7 lengths from the winner Marietta Lane, unleashing the fastest last 600 metres in the race of 35.53.

“He ran a great race at Wanganui but I have decided to give him another mile before stepping him up to a middle distance.

“The Wanganui run doesn’t appear to have worried him and, while his draw (eight) is not ideal, I am expecting another good effort from him.’’

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