Father Lenihan grabs The Bandito right on the post at Awapuni. PHOTO: Race Images.

Winter Cup long term goal for improving Father Lenihan

Gutsy Awapuni winner Father Lenihan will have only one more run this campaign before being set for the Winter Cup at Riccarton in August.

The little prizefighter once again stepped up to the mark last Saturday when he got up in the last stride for Robbie Hannam to nose out The Bandito after never looking likely to catch him down the home straight.

“He’s so laid back, he only does what he has to,’’ says Latta.” And that’s why it’s hard to get a line on him in training.’’

The win was Father Lenihan’s second this spring and summer and with a second, a third, two fourths and a fifth in his six other runs, he has bankrolled a tidy $44,125 this time in.

But Latta is reluctant to chance her arm too much longer now the tracks have dried out.

“Robbie said we wouldn’t want to give him too many more on those conditions,’’ says Latta.

Luckily Father Lenihan’s race at the weekend was the first on the day when the track was still rated a dead 4, with the fire just out of it, but it was quickly upgraded to a good 3.

There’s no doubt, however, the O’Reilly four-year-old is at his most competitive when the ground is slow and that’s why Latta is keen on the Winter Cup as his long term goal.

“He’s improved a lot this time in but he’ll have only one more before we give him a let-up.’’

That’s almost certain to be at Trentham on Wellington Cup day, January 19.

“Trentham rarely gets too hard,’’ says Latta.

Our runners this week

Monday at Otaki

Authentic Charm, Lincoln Fury, Ajay Lincoln, Alesha Lincoln, Port Lincoln, Master Lincoln, Lincoln Dreamer.

Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them

Lisa Latta

Lisa’s comments

Saturday at Trentham

Race 1: Platinum Mam’selle

“There appears to be a lot of speed in the race which will suit her pattern of racing which is to get back and finish over the top of them. She has trained on well after her unlucky run at Stratford and is back against her own age group on Saturday in a small field.’’

Race 2: Miss Oahu

“It was a very average ride at Hastings last time which saw her caught four wide in the running. She has trained on well and has good gate speed so we will look to go forward and hopefully end up right behind the speed. I am expecting another bold run from her.’’

Race 3: Platinum Invador

“He has come up with another good draw in three and gets in with a nice weight of 56.5kg. He is up another rating band, however, and this field is a lot stronger field than the one he beat at Otaki. I am very happy with the way he has come through that race and also with his work this week.”

Race 6: Lincoln Sky

“He came through last Saturday’s race really well but I want to see how he does over the rest of the week before committing to a start on Saturday. Madan (Singh) said last week that he felt the horse was looking for a mile as he is so laid back.’’

Race 9: Kamanda Lincoln

“Unfortunately he has drawn wide (18) in the Wellington Cup which means we will probably have to ride him for luck, which is always more difficult in these big races. I am happy with where he is at but we are going to need a magical ride from Sam Collett.’’

Race 10: Father Lenihan

“He galloped well yesterday morning but pulled up sore in his near front. He had a pulse in the foot so we poulticed it for 24 hours and the blacksmith came this morning and said he had a bit of bruising. He was about 95% right today and providing we keep on top of it I am reasonably confident we will get him there on Saturday. If he is not 100% he will be scratched.’’

Race 10: Lincoln Raider

“I’ve engaged Leith Innes to ride him and he has freshened up nicely after his Ellerslie run. After watching that race you can see him bounce off the rail two or three times. I think he is a better horse left alone early and given one clear run at them and that is what we will aim to do on Saturday.’’

Lincoln light

News in brief

Dreams Of Platinum … sold to Aussie.

Dreams Of Platinum … sold to Aussie.

LOST DREAMS: Dreams Of Platinum has been sold to Australia. The four-year-old mare won one race and placed seven times in 21 starts, earning nearly $35,000.

TOUCH FLAT: Rider Robbie Hannam told stewards he thought Platinum Touch was feeling the effects of her debut run and felt flat after beating only two home at Trentham.