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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Thursday at Hastings
Race 6: Lincoln Town
“He’s drawn the outside but with the rail out 10 metres they’re only starting twelve horses and he has the gate speed to go forward so this will negate the draw. He worked nicely this morning and has continued to hold his condition well. I expect him to be right in the finish.”
Race 8: Ajay Lincoln
“He has a nice draw and the step-up to 1650 metres will suit. The track has come up a slow 8 and hopefully it will stay in that range as he will appreciate that better than the heavy ground he struck at Awapuni. He is finally starting to do things right and seems a lot more switched on. I’m expecting a better run from him.”
Saturday at New Plymouth
Race 1: Manhattan Street
“There’s a lot of rain in the forecast so the track should be very wet and loose track which is what he wants. We’re trying to get some miles into him so we can eventually run him in a hurdle. There are a couple of smart types in the race in My Gift and Obsessive but I’m expecting a better run from him.”
Race 6: Platinum Rapper
“She needed the run at Awapuni last time and her work has been very good since. We decided on going for the cup as she gets in on the minimum and it’s another chance to get black type with her. When she met Rosewood at weight-for-age at Wanganui there was a 1.5kg difference but she gets 5.5kg this time. We know from the Wanganui run that she is up to this company and, while this field is slightly stronger, I feel she can be right in the finish. The track conditions will suit her.”