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

Friday at Otaki

Lincoln light

News in brief

GREEN FIBRILLATES: Lincoln Green had an atrial fibrillation at Otaki on Thursday and will need a vet clearance before racing again. The horse raced keenly early but gave ground quickly near the 600 metre mark and rider Robbie Hannam did not persevere with him in the run home when he suspected there was something amiss.