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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

Thursday at Waipukurau

Miss Oahu, Authentic Charm.

Saturday at Rosehill

Platinum Invador.

Lincoln light

News in brief

STEPHEN POSITIVE:

AUTUMN PREP: Trainer Lisa Latta may consider an autumn campaign with Lincoln Falls if he comes through his gelding operation well, kicking off with the Group III Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) at Te Rapa on April 27. The horse, who did not see out the derby trip last Saturday, went out to the paddock today for a freshen-up before visiting the vet.

RETIRED: Bush Whacked has been retired. Despite showing promise at trials the Sepoy three-year-old showed in three starts for Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh that he simply didn’t want to be a racehorse.

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.

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.