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Robbie Hannam has eased down on Platinum Invador at the line yesterday. PHOTO: Race Images.

Rapid improver Platinum Invador sneaky chance to make the derby

Smart Otaki winner Platinum Invador could give trainer Lisa Latta a third string to her bow for the $1 million New Zealand Derby in March if he keeps on improving at his present rate.

Platinum Invador gave Latta a nice training double yesterday after the early win by Lincoln Sky, mounting a big run in the home stretch to score decisively by a length and a quarter.

Rider Robbie Hannam snagged back to second last early from his outside draw, was forced three wide when improving at the 800 metres, and was giving the leader five lengths at the top of the home straight.

But when he cleared heels, the gelding really picked up and he had the race in the bag 100 metres out when Hannam was able to clock off.

Platinum Invador will only get better with more time and distance. PHOTO: Race Images.Platinum Invador will only get better with more time and distance. PHOTO: Race Images.It was a terrific pointer to the future given it was only the colt’s fourth start and Latta has deliberately taken him along quietly.

“He always showed a bit as a two-year-old. He’s not that strong yet but he just keeps getting better and better.

“I don’t want to line him up in anything too big too quickly but he does hold a nomination for the derby.

“I’ll take a soft option with him next time but so long as he keeps stepping up, we’ll work towards the derby.’’

The 2400 metre derby is run at Ellerslie on March 2 and Latta, who already has Lincoln Falls and Sir Nate set for the race, says the Redwood three-year-old will only get better with more time and distance.

Unlike Platinum Invador, Lincoln Sky scored his win from in front, rider Madan Singh punching him out fast from his wide draw in a race-winning plan devised by Latta.

“I thought there was a bit of on-speed bias early so I told him to go forward.

“There didn’t look to be a lot of speed in the race and he’d won a jumpout from in front. I thought it was the only way to beat the favourite.’’

Lincoln Sky is too good for red hot favourite Kapinos at Otaki. PHOTO: Race Images.Lincoln Sky is too good for red hot favourite Kapinos at Otaki. PHOTO: Race Images.The heavily backed $1.50 elect Kapinos had Lincoln Star in his sights turning for home but the little gelding held on strongly by half a length.

“He’s doing it on raw ability at the moment,’’ says Latta of the learner who was having his third start.

“He’s not a big horse and will only get better with time. None of that family are very big.’’

Lincoln Sky, beautifully bred by by Savabeel out of Dating, is a full brother to Lincoln Star, who won on the course five days earlier.

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Lisa Latta

Lisa’s comments

Thursday at Woodville

Race 3: Authentic Charm

“She has drawn perfectly in barrier seven so Robbie (Hannam) should be able to possie up just behind the pace, which is an advantage at Woodville. Her work has been very good since her last run and she should strike the perfect track for her, a dead 5. This is a very even line-up and she should be right in the finish.’’

Lincoln light

News in brief

TOP TIP: Trainer Lisa Latta was right on the money about $35 starter Lincoln Hills who ran a terrific fourth in very strong company at Awapuni. “He would have run even closer had he not pulled himself into the ground,” Latta said. Follow him on April 25.

INVADOR HOME: Platinum Invador is back in the country and will go straight to the spelling paddock after failing in the A$2million Australian Derby. Trainer Lisa Latta says in hindsight the three runs in two weeks he had on his NZ Derby camapign left him a tired horse.