Platinum Invador fit but thunderstorms today could sink his QEII Cup chances on Monday
The biggest threat to Platinum Invador’s chances in Monday’s $220,000 QEII Cup at Pukekohe is the weather.
For the first time this campaign, Platinum Invador steps up to his favoured 2400 metres, and his opposition is down a rung or two on previous years, but he is now at the mercy of the one thing trainer Lisa Latta can’t control.
The condition of the Pukekohe track was a soft 5 this morning but Metservice is prediciting more than 50mm of rain today with persistent heavy showers and possible thunderstorms into the evening.
That much rain would virtually sink Platinum Invador’s hopes as, while he is credited with two heavy track wins, they were when he was a progressive three-year-old, meeting low grade opposition at Otaki.
He would then be reliant on dramatic drying over the weekend as it’s been nearly five years since he has won on a surface any worse than a soft 5, the rating of his career-defining win in March’s Auckland Cup at Pukekohe.
Platinum Invador, now a veteran of eight, battled bravely in soft 7 conditions at Pukekohe on Boxing Day but found the opposition and 2050 metre distance of the Zabeel Classic against him.
Latta wasn’t too perturbed by his ninth placing that day in what was always designed as a prep race for the stayer.
“His sectionals were very good - he ran home his last 600 metres in 34.08.
“He came through the race well and we know he will really appreciate the step-up to 2400 metres in a race he has won before.”
Platinum Invador won the race in 2020 and finished second in 2021 when it was held at Ellerslie and called the City Of Auckland Cup.
When run the reverse way round at Te Rapa last January, he could manage only fifth behind Dionysus, carrying top weight of 58kg when flushed widest on the home turn.
Platinum Invador has 58kg again on Monday, 1kg less than he has lumped in his last four starts but five kilos more than the rest of the field.
“I don’t think the QEII Cup is the strongest field but Terra Mitica looks the one to beat at the weights,” Latta said.
The imported Irish-bred mare will start a warm favourite, dropping 2.5kg on the weight she carried to an impressive last start win on the course over cup rival Ess Vee Are.
Platinum Invador’s recent formline might not earn a second glance but he has not run at a suitable trip since his brave second to Ladies Man in the Livamol Classic (2040m) at Hastings in October.
If Auckland’s fickle weather plays ball, punters could yet see why he is ranked as one of the country’s best stayers with a bankroll of $883,860.
Jonathan Riddell takes the mount.
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Our runners this week
Wednesday at Hastings