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Platinum Invador won the Auckland Cup the last time he raced at Pukekohe. PHOTO: Megan Liefting/Race Images.

Platinum Invador in great nick for Pukekohe weight-for-age - he just needs a decent tempo

Only the likely lack of tempo in the race is against Platinum Invador when he tackles the $150,000 Balmerino Stakes (2050m) at Pukekohe on Tuesday.

The eight-year-old is suited by the small field and weight-for-age conditions, he is in top form and will appreciate the drying track.

But trainer Lisa Latta worries that with no obvious pacemaker, Platinum Invador won’t get the genuine speed he needs to power over the top of his rivals late like he did last time at Hastings.

Latta described as “great” Platinum Invador’s effort to claim all but Ladies Man in the $450,000 Livamol Classic (2040m) when there were ample challengers for the early lead and Times Ticking and Callsign Mav eventually ensured the stayers in the race got their chance.

Thanks to a 10 out of 10 ride by Vinne Colgan, once angled wide, Platinum Invador unleashed one of his trademark home stretch sprints at Hastings, his last three closing splits of 35.52, 23.21 and 11.98 the fastest in the race.

But with the horse’s best form over 2400 metres and further, Latta knows “things could be a touch tricky” over 2050 metres if no one takes up the early cudgels.

Everything else about Platinum Invador gets a big tick. “He came through the Hastings run extremely well and his gallop on Saturday morning was excellent. I couldn’t be happier with him.

“I expect him to be competitive and, if they run along at a genuine speed, he should be right in the finish.”

Platinum Invador ($4.50), who has been giving away plenty of weight to his rivals since his Auckland Cup win at Pukekohe in March, meets his seven rivals on terrific terms at weight-for-age on Tuesday.

Hot favourite Aquacade ($1.70), for example, goes up 4kg on the 53kg she carried when second fresh-up in the Matamata Cup last month. QEII winner Dionysus ($10) goes up 6kg on the 53kg she carried when fourth in the Metric Mile.

Billy Lincoln debuts for Stephen Marsh on Tuesday.Billy Lincoln debuts for Stephen Marsh on Tuesday.Promising debutant

Lincoln Farms’ will be represented earlier in the day by promising debutant Billy Lincoln, who was scratched from Te Aroha on Friday after rain turned the track heavy.

In a field full of chances, bookies have the Belardo three-year-old a third equal favourite at $7.50 behind dual trial winner Choose ‘Em Big ($4.50) and Truro ($6.50).

Billy Lincoln is the third foal out of Lincoln Farms’ fine broodmare Princess Maryanne and follows Lincoln Rocks, sold for big money to Australia in May, and Lincoln Lady who has won four of her five starts for trainer Stephen Marsh.

He looks to have inherited the family ability too, showing speed when winning a 1000 metre trial at Matamata.

While that trial was run in soft 7 ground, stable foreman Rhys Milson said he expected the horse to favour better conditions.

Pukekohe was reported to be a soft 5 this morning with drying conditions forecast.

Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them

Lisa Latta

Lisa’s comments

Friday at Awapuni (synthetic)

Race 5: Lincoln Towers

“I couldn’t be happier with him at the moment. His work on the synthetic has been fantastic and he has come up with a great draw of two. He is going to land in a lovely position and I am expecting a much improved run. Ace Lawson-Carroll rides with a 2kg claim.”

Race 6: Lincoln’s Kruz

“The step up to 1400 metres is going to be interesting but for him to qualify for the $100,000 synthetic final he needs to have three starts on the synthetic. From his lovely draw of three he should position up nicely just in behind the leaders. This isn’t the strongest of fields and I am expecting another very honest run. Ace Lawson-Carroll rides, bringing his weight down to 61.5kg.”