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 New Zealand Gallops News 
Thursday, March 30 2017

Unexpected rain that fell in Palmerston North on Wednesday night has thrown a spanner into the works for Lisa Latta ahead of premier day racing on her home track of Awapuni on Saturday.

Mighty Solomon - Race Images Palmerston North

Latta has nine runners entered for the meeting but said some were now doubtful starters.

"They just got the forecast so wrong. We got 30mm of rain overnight and it's close to a heavy track now. It's thrown us into disarray to be frank," Latta said.

Two horses still set to run are Mighty Solomon and Henree Winkler. Latta is desperate to get a run under the belts of both gallopers with an eye to next month's Gr.2 Manco Easter Stakes (1600m) at Ellerslie.

Group One performer Mighty Solomon will contest Saturday's Listed Cafe Cuba Flying Handicap (1400m) at Awapuni as his Easter Stakes leadup, just as he did two years ago when fifth in the Ellerslie feature, but Latta warned that rain-affected track conditions would dull his potency.

"He doesn't like it this wet but he'll have to run to have him ready for the Easter," Latta said.

A winner of seven of his 27 starts, Mighty Solomon placed in the 2015 Gr.1 Thorndon Mile at Trentham and while he has missed a placing at his last three starts, all three have been in Group One company and culminated in a fourth placing to Kawi in the Haunui Farm Weight-For-Age Classic (1600m) at Otaki.

"He was just feeling the ground a bit but it was a really good run. We freshened him up a bit hoping for a bit of easing in the tracks but we definitely didn't want this much," Latta said.

Kelly McCulloch takes the ride on Mighty Solomon on Saturday, with Jonathan Riddell riding Speech Craft, trained by his wife Trina.

Latta, who won't saddle a runner in the first four races on Saturday, has Henree Winkler, China Star and Captain Lincoln in the Hong Kong Jockey Club Trophy (1550m), with much riding on Henree Winkler's performance.

"We're trying to get to the Easter with him, so we have to get the race into him and hopefully he can show us he's on the right track," Latta said.

Authentic Paddy, Five To Midnight and King Kamada give Latta a strong hand in the Gr.2 City Of Palmerston North Awapuni Gold Cup (2000m), though Latta said King Kamada was a doubtful runner on anything worse than slow.

Authentic Paddy, three times placed at Group One level this season, looks well placed under the set-weights and penalties conditions in what will be his leadup to his title defence of the Gr.3 Canterbury Gold Cup (2000m) at Riccarton on April 22, after which he is set to spell for winter.

Five To Midnight is also close to a winter break from racing, having produced one of the runs of this month's Gr.1 Auckland Cup (3200m) at Ellerslie when finishing fifth.

"That was an enormous run in the Auckland Cup. He was still second-last with 500m to go," Latta said.

Latta's day rounds out with O'Reilly's Dancer and Hawl Bawl slated to contest the John Turkington Forestry Premier (2100m).

Posted by: Racing Desk AT 02:37 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email