Race Images - Gallops

With blinkers back on the speedy Princess Amelie would have given her Taupo rivals something to think about.

Terrible barrier draws put the kibosh on Latta’s Taupo hopes on Friday

Trainer Lisa Latta was looking forward to Taupo on Friday where she planned to use the good footing to launch the campaigns of Princess Amelie and Platinum Road.

But today’s barrier draw has put the kibosh on that with Princess Amelie now a doubtful starter and Platinum Road all but out of contention from the outside gate of 13.

Taupo, which had a track rating of a dead 5 today, with a fine forecast, would have been an ideal springboard for the speedy mare Princess Amelie.

But she is a go-forward horse, who has never performed when taken back in the field, and when the marbles came out she had gate 15.

One drawn further out, Farm Boy, has already been scratched and every one of the four ballots left have drawn inside her, so more scratchings will only worsen her starting position.

Latta says if that happens she will not be starting the mare and will wait for a race at Waverley in two weeks.

That would be shame given how well Princess Amelie trialled at Foxton a couple of weeks ago, only her laziness without blinkers costing her a win.

Platinum Road … trialled strongly at Foxton.Platinum Road … trialled strongly at Foxton.Latta says she really has to run Platinum Road in the fifth race, even though he’s drawn 13 of 13.

“I want to kick him off on good footing and the forecast for next week isn’t great. I think we’re better off starting so we can get a run into him and get a line on where he’s at.

“Taupo’s not an easy track, especially from out wide, and there’s a fair bit of unexposed form in the race, but he needs to run.

“His work has been good but his coat is still not quite there so he will improve with it.

“He’ll get over a bit of ground as the season progresses.”

The Declaration Of War colt raced with distinction in his first two races earlier in the year, running fourth and sixth in two-year-old stakes races at Trentham and Te Rapa.

He trialled strongly at Foxton on September 3, hampered most of the way up the home straight and finishing hard held in third place.

Rider Robbie Hannam reported he could have won the heat with a clear run.

Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them

Lisa Latta

Lisa’s comments

Saturday at Trentham

Race 1: Lincoln Valley

“He didn’t have all favours last start- he was three wide without cover the trip and the effort told in the last bit. He also got squeezed up a little late. From the six draw we will go forward and I’m sure Lisa will have learned a lot from him in his last run. His work has been really good and I have added a nasal strip as he is quite a noisy breather and it may help. It’s not an overly strong field and the big roomy track will suit.”

Race 7: Platinum Spirit

“We are racing him out of his grade so he gets in at a nice light weight. Carrying 60kg last start was a really big ask and he got there a touch too soon. He has drawn awkwardly at 12 but he has the ability to put himself in the race if there’s a lack of speed. He looks fantastic and still holds a nomination for the Wellington Cup next week but might need to gain a few more points to get into the field. Chris Dell rides.”

Race 8: Father Lenihan

“The outside draw is tricky but Robbie knows him well - he’s ridden him in three of his four wins - and I’m sure he will make him jump and put him on the speed. He’s been out of the winner’s circle for a while but he went a great race last start and this field is nowhere near as strong. We were going to step him up over ground but he sits so awkwardly in the ratings at 76 that he would be carrying the top weight of 62kg in a R74 2000m.”