Small field will help at Taranaki but Platinum Volos might struggle to see out the trip
Trainer Lisa Latta is the first to admit that Saturday’s race at New Plymouth is not ideal for Platinum Volos.
But coming back from Riccarton’s straight six sprint with its long run home to the more on-pace Pukekura Park track isn’t her only worry.
For while the unpredictable grey unleashed a strong run for fourth from near last 300 metres out last time, suggesting he would like another 200 metres, its the 1400 metres on Saturday that is likely to be his biggest hurdle.
“We’ll have to ride him back last and look for runs through them to give him the chance to see the distance out,” says Latta.
Platinum Volos has placed only once in six runs at 1400 metres or further, contradicting his apparent full-of-running finish over 1200 metres at Riccarton.
The five-year-old looked like he was going to run last that day, rider Charlotte O’Beirne continually held up while trying to get out wider on the track.
But when he did see clear air in the last 250 metres he closed strongly to be only 3.5 lengths from Suggestive Loox, only the winner running a faster last 600 metres.
That style of running seldom reaps dividends at New Plymouth but Latta says she needs to take full advantage of the heavy tracks while they last “because he’s a wet tracker.”
Platinum Volos took a few days to get over his trip home from Christchurch after playing up in the float and rubbing his hips.
But Latta says the “softy” is fine now and ready to take on his seven rivals on Saturday, two of which are her own.
And in Rock Island Line, who has won on the course, and Yin Dragon, she thinks she has two better chances than Platinum Volos.
Topweight Yin Dragon might be 10 but he will enjoy a 3kg weight relief with Hazel Schofer on board. And Latta says he picks himself after a last start fourth in an open handicap at Otaki behind Mauna Kea, Taurus and Dr Watson.
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Expect dramatic improvement from Father Lenihan in better footing at Wanganui
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Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them
Thursday at Wanganui
Race 7: Father Lenihan
“He strikes a strong field for a mid-week race but I have seen good improvement in his work in recent weeks. Robbie Hannam has been galloping him and has been very happy with his work. He will strike a better track (slow 8 today) and there is no rain forecast so it should improve further. I expect a much better run from him.”
Friday at Taupo
Race 5: Platinum Road
“He has come up with the outside draw of 13 but we really have to start him on a better track to get a line on where we are with him. We will ride him where he lands but he is obviously going to need luck in the running. His work has been good but his coat is still not quite there so he will improve with this run.”
Race 6: Princess Amelie
“She’s drawn very wide and if the ballots get a start it will take her out of play being out there as she has to go forward, she’s no good going back. There’s a race at Waverley in a couple of weeks that we might run in instead.”
Saturday at Hastings
Race 9: Lincoln Hills
“He has drawn a touch wide in 11 in a very good field. We are going to have to go back from that draw and ride him for luck. His work has been good but I do have a reservation about him on a good 3 track as I think he is better with the fire just out of the ground. It looks like there’s reasonable pace in the race, which may help our cause, and hopefully he can get a nice run through them.”