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Robbie Hannam has ridden talented stayer Platinum Invador in two of his three wins . PHOTO: Peter Rubery/Race Images.

Tight track against Invador in Wanganui Cup and it’s just a stepping stone anyway

Saturday’s Wanganui Cup is just a stepping stone for talented stayer Platinum Invador as trainer Lisa Latta prepares him for the Auckland Cup in March.

Last season’s New Zealand Derby placegetter has had three runs this time in, all at 1600 metres or less, and steps up to a more suitable middle distance for the first time on Saturday.

But while he gets 2040 metres, Platinum Invador won’t be suited by the tight, turning 1700 metre Wanganui circuit.

Wanganui’s turning profile doesn’t suit Platinum Invador.Wanganui’s turning profile doesn’t suit Platinum Invador.“Those corners are pretty tight and there’s often a front-running bias there,” says Latta.

“But this race is just a means to an end. We’re looking at the Manawatu Cup (2300 metres, December 21) as his first target.”

Latta says she is really happy with how Platinum Invador is progressing. He was just completely run off his feet last time at Awapuni, finishing 7.6 lengths behind Beauden but still clocking a swift 1:32.82 for the 1550 metres.

“The inside track at Awapuni and the distance just did not suit him and the step-up to a middle distance will be a big advantage as it will allow him to get into his rhythm.

“He has drawn nicely in barrier three which is also a big help. Hopefully Robbie (Hannam) will be able to ride him a tad closer in midfield.

“I expect him to be hitting the line very hard.”

Platinum Invador, who opened eighth favourite at $14, could contest the $200,000 City Of Auckland Cup (2400m) on January 1, but his main mission is the $500,000 Auckland Cup (3200m) on March 7 for which he is at the lucrative quote of $41.

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.”