Play the Platinum card at Awapuni - both Spirit and Rapper will revel in the mud
With just one notch on his belt, trainer Lisa Latta can already see scaredy cat Platinum Spirit is showing signs of overcoming his fears.
And faced with only seven rivals and a very testing track that should see them spread out like Brown’s cows, Latta promotes the colt as the best winning chance of Lincoln Farms’ five runners at Awapuni on Saturday.
“He’s been very bright since his last-start win and has grown in confidence with it,’’ says Latta. “You can see around the stables and in his work he’s not as scared of the other horses as he used to be.
“But we’ll ride him the same as at Trentham, and keep him away from the other horses.’’
It was a plan which worked a treat on June 8 when apprentice Sam O’Malley angled very wide when making his run and the Charm Spirit colt kept finding all the way to the line as his rivals struggled to handle the deep ground.
With 21mm of rain overnight and another 13 ml predicted today, Awapuni will be a heavy 11+, conditions which Platinum Spirit will relish.
“He’s the only winner in the field and I am expecting a top effort from him.”
The stable and rider Johnathan Parkes could go back to back in the second race when the talented filly Platinum Rapper resumes from a short break, though Latta has one reservation, the 1200 metres.
“She’s not really a 1200 metre horse but she is fit and will be doing her best work late.’’
Platinum Rapper has easily the best form credentials in the race, her brave long neck and nose third to Dolcetto and Rosewood in the Listed Challenge Stakes (1600m) at Wanganui a beacon in the field.
Before that she looked very good in winning a Pearl series race over 1400 metres at Trentham.
Latta gave the filly two weeks in the paddock after her Wanganui run, when the extremely deep footing took a toll on a majority of the runners.
“She’s freshened up very well,’’ says Latta who is using the race as a run-up to the $100,000 Winter Cup at Riccarton on August 3.
“This race works in well with her programme to get to the Winter Cup with her next run being at Taranaki on July 20 in either the Opunake Cup or the three-year-old 1400m.”
Platinum Rapper has only six rivals but it’s a tidy field with several in-form up-and-comers.
Latta worries the very heavy ground will be against Johnny Lincoln in the final race.
“I don’t believe he’s a genuine wet tracker but this race will be more like a middle distance than a 1550 metres, he’s drawn in the right place, out wide, and he gets into it with a good weight.’’
Johnny Lincoln shed his perennial bridesmaid tag when he scored fresh-up at Awapuni on May 30, refusing to quit after leading from the 600 metre mark.
Latta says Ajay Lincoln and Lincoln Dreamer will need the outings in the third race, both looking for more ground than 1400 metres.
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Our runners this week
Saturday at Trentham
Platinum Invador, Platinum Dubai, Princess Amelie, Johnny Lincoln, Lincoln Dreamer, Platinum Bordeaux.
Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them
Thursday at Woodville
Race 2: Ajay Lincoln
“He has a wide draw but will come in a lot when the ballots come out. The track looks like it will be more suitable, in the dead range. It will be good to get this race into him and then step him up to a middle distance as Robbie has always felt he would be better over a longer distance. I am expecting a far better run on an improved track.”
Race 3: Lincoln Star
“He has trained on well since his good run at Hastings. The outside draw doesn’t help but we will be positive, go forward, and try to get some cover. He has continued to work well and, with luck, he should be in the finish.”