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Trentham will really help Platinum Spirit, pictured here after winning on the course as a two-year-old. PHOTO: Peter Rubery.

That’s the Spirit! Lisa finds a Platinum winner for Trentham and gives vital info on her 2yos

A return to the big, roomy track at Trentham could be enough to see Platinum Spirit ($6.50) return to the winners’ circle on Saturday.

The Charm Spirit three-year-old, who holds a nomination for the $1 million New Zealand Derby at Ellerslie on February 29, hasn’t won since taking a two-year-old race on the course seven months ago.

But trainer Lisa Latta says the colt is really improving now and will be hard to roll in the fifth race.

“The big track will suit his style and I couldn’t be happier with him going into the race.”

Platinum Spirit has produced big late runs in both his recent runs at Awapuni, finishing fourth over 2300 metres on December 21 but only half a neck, a short head and half a length behind River Rock.

And just a week earlier he again finished strongly for third to the in-form Proletariat over 2200 metres.

Jonathan Riddell rides Platinum Spirit at just half a kilo above the minimum. PHOTO: Trish Dunell.Jonathan Riddell rides Platinum Spirit at just half a kilo above the minimum. PHOTO: Trish Dunell.Latta says Platinum Spirit’s extreme outside gate won’t matter as rider Jonathan Riddell will be dropping back early anyway. And he gets in nicely at the weights with just 56kg, half a kilo above the minimum.

“I expect him to be hitting the line very hard and figuring right in the finish. He’s definitely the best of the chances on Saturday.”

Lincoln Farms lines up two runners in the two-year-old race, Platinum Dubai and Platinum Rain, where a number of runners are having a last throw at the stumps to try to qualify for the $1 million Karaka Million at Ellerslie on January 25.

Smart debutant Platinum Rain ($13) would need to win to make the 14-horse cut but Latta says, unlike Platinum Dubai, he’s not a two-year-old type, and is unsuited to the helter-skelter of the Karaka feature.

She actually opted to bypass his targeted debut race at Otaki last Monday, figuring the 800 metre scurry would be too sharp for him.

And with a shortage of suitable two-year-old races at present Latta decided to throw him in the deep end on Saturday, where four winners are engaged, with the early defection of Trident.

“He’s quite a big horse who is a real three-year-old type and, while I expect him to go a nice race, because the roomy track will suit him, if he’s just getting home I’ll be happy.

“He’s not wound up to the max, he hasn’t run that way round and it’s his first look at Trentham so it’s a pretty big ask.”

Latta nevertheless really likes the $160,000 Kermadec colt who has looked good in all three of his jumpouts, the most recent at Levin in heavy footing, when he won over 850 metres with plenty in hand.

“His work has been very good and we will get a good line on him on Saturday.”

Platinum Dubai wins on debut at Otaki. PHOTO: Peter Rubery/ Race Images.Platinum Dubai wins on debut at Otaki. PHOTO: Peter Rubery/ Race Images.Crunch time

It’s crunch time, however, for Platinum Dubai ($13), who needs to run first or second to secure a Karaka Million berth.

The Pride Of Dubai filly sits 16th in the entry order for the 14-horse field with earnings of $7375, with the last qualifier Amor Fati on $10,000.

Unlike Platinum Rain, she’s comparatively small and a real runner and Latta says she’s been unlucky not to have won enough prize money already for the $1 million feature.

A winner on debut at Otaki last September, Platinum Dubai has struck slow 8 and heavy 11 ground in both her subsequent starts.

“It will be nice to get back onto a good track. And from her good two draw Leith (Innes) should get a nice soft trip just in behind the speed.

“She’s a real professional and should get her chance in what is an even field.”

Kamanda Lincoln … going better than his form suggests. PHOTO: Race Images.Kamanda Lincoln … going better than his form suggests. PHOTO: Race Images.Kamanda seeks Cup berth

Kamanda Lincoln might be a $51 chance in the Trentham Stakes but Latta expects him to run better than those odds would suggest.

“He’s settling a lot better now and Jonathan (Riddell) was really happy with him the other day.”

From the outside gate of 12 at Awapuni, Kamanda Lincoln finished strongly to be only three lengths from winner De Koning.

Kamanda Lincoln is pressing for a spot in Saturday week’s $250,000 Wellington Cup, a race in which he ran ninth last year after finishing fourth in the Trentham Stakes.

“If he misses out he can run on the last day in the Summer Cup which looks a good race for him.”

Of the other starters for Lincoln Farms, Latta says Lincoln Hills ($9.50) could be a threat in the fourth “if everything goes right for him.”

“He didn’t beat much last time and this is a very good field but hopefully Johnathan (Parkes) can get a nice sit just in behind them and burst through late.”

Lincoln Hills drops 3kg on the 59kg he lumped last start.

Lincoln’s Gal ($15) also looks a chance in the ninth race.

“She will enjoy the step-up to 1400 metres and has improved immensely with two runs under her belt.

“This is an even but not premier quality field and she has run second and fifth in her two runs at Trentham so she likes the track.”

Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them

Lisa Latta

Lisa’s comments

Saturday at Trentham

Race 3: Lincoln Raider

“He has come through his last run at Awapuni well and meets a handy line up with Sinarahma, who beat us last time, the danger. While the inside is not an ideal draw for him we have one of the best aboard in Opie Bosson and I’m sure he’ll find a path through them. This race looks well within his capabilities and he will enjoy being back on the roomy track where he has won three of his four races.”

Race 6: Platinum Road

“He won his first race here in December and ran a top third at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day. He has pleased me with how he has come through the trip away and I’m very happy with him. He gets in on the minimum weight of 54kg and meets a field of older horses that has some form in it. But this race fits in well with his derby programme and I’m expecting another top run from him.”

Race 9: Kamanda Lincoln

“I’ve changed his gear and gone back to the ring bit. I’ll be instructing Darryl (Bradley) to try to get handier to them as he’s been giving the opposition too big a start. Over 3200 metres there’s no reason why he can’t be closer. He ran ninth in the cup last year after starting from barrier 17 so I think the better draw is the key to his chances. He gets in on the minimum of 53kg.”

Race 9: Johnny Lincoln

“He’s been running very honest races and keeps grinding away so I feel the distance will suit him. He has continued to please me in training and, while I would have preferred a better draw, we will look to roll forward with him and hopefully Robbie (Hannam) can get a nice spot. These races are won by horses who can run out the 3200 metres strongly and I am really looking forward to seeing how he performs.”

Race 10: Lincoln Star

“I have brought him back in distance after his last run over a middle distance on Boxing Day. He has drawn well and should be able to get a nice, economical trip in midfield. The big track will suit him and has run some very good races over 1600 metres so, if he can reproduce his best form, he is capable of being right in the finish. His recent work has been good.”

Lisa Latta

Lisa’s comments

Monday at Otaki

Race 3: Lincoln Town

“He was disappointing in his jumpout when ridden in behind. His trackwork since has been only fair but he is an average track worker anyway who only does as much as he has to. All his form has been on rain-affected tracks so we will see on Monday whether he can go on top of the ground.”

Race 5: Benny Lincoln

“He ran a cracking race last time at Otaki and will appreciate the step-up to 1600 metres. He will also be against his own age group here. His work has been good and this looks a very winnable race for him.”

Race 6: Lincoln Lane

“He’s first-up after a long break but has improved a lot since his jumpout and has a good draw to use. I will be happy to just see him doing his best work at the finish.”

Race 7: Master Lincoln

“He ran a very good fourth when resuming and has trained on very well since. He has an awkward gate to overcome but it’s only a moderate field. Any give in the track will help his chances as his best form appears to be on dead surfaces.”