Speedy Princess Amelie up against it at Ellerslie from outside draw
Drawing barrier 10 of 10 came as a cruel blow to trainer Lisa Latta and Princess Amelie.
Latta has targeted Saturday’s $70,000 Group III Mongolian Khan Trophy at Ellerslie for months, because it is one of the few opportunities for three-year-old sprinters to get black type.
And Latta knows how important it is to dress up the pedigree page of the Snitzel filly who cost Lincoln Farms’ owner John Street $300,000 as a yearling.
But in a quality line-up where there’s a ton of speed inside her, Latta now fears the talented filly might get trapped wide in the running, which would spell curtains for her.
“She has very good gate speed so we’ve got to try to go forward,’’ says Latta. “She’ll get nothing going back and we’ve hardly ever ridden her back.’’
Latta planned for Princess Amelie to dispute the pace on her first, exploratory visit to Ellerslie on Boxing Day when she ran out of her skin for third behind Pretty To Sea and Meteoric Lass on a heavy 10 track.
But instead rider Johnathan Parkes had to go to plan B when the filly began awkwardly.
“She was a bit agitated and lunged at the gates a couple of times and when they did open she propped, instead of jumping,’’ says Parkes.
That saw Princess Amelie back and forced to cover a lot of extra ground as Parkes went forward three wide, with no cover, to sit fifth.
It was a game effort that saw her keep kicking in the run home to finish only three lengths from the winner.
Princess Amelie beat More Wonder in her previous start, running 1:09.45 at Trentham, and claims another win two starts earlier over race rival King Louis.
Latta is in no doubt her filly has the ability to run first four - with a trip - “but I’m just worried about the way the race will be run with all that speed.
“She’s been working very well but she’ll need everything to go her way now.’’
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Saturday at New Plymouth
Race 7: Platinum Volos
“It’s not an ideal race for him and I’m a bit worried about the 1400 metres. We’ll have to ride him back last and look for runs through them to give him the chance to see the distance out.”
Saturday at Kilcoy
Race 5: Lincoln’s Command
4.59pm NZ time
“He looks fantastic and his work has been good. Kilcoy is a very tight track and you need to be up front so we’ll be going foreward even from the wide draw. We rode him back last time and it didn’t work as he’s too one-paced.”