Platinum Invador will take a step closer to his Gr.1 Barfoot and Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m) aspirations when he lines-up in the Gr.3 Powerworx Taranaki Cup (1800m) at New Plymouth on Saturday.
The Central Districts stayer put in an eye-catching run to win the Gr.3 City of Auckland Cup (2400m) by 2-3/4 lengths at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day and trainer Lisa Latta has been pleased with his progress since.
The son of Redwood has made steady improvement throughout his preparation, with placings in the Listed Wanganui Cup (2040m) and Gr.3 Manawatu Cup (2300m) prior to his Auckland triumph.
“When he ran second in the Manawatu Cup it was an off track, and he would have been better on a better track, but he still had a bit of improvement in him and showed that on New Year’s Day,” Latta said.
“He has come through that run in Auckland really well, but the 1800m may be a touch short for him on Saturday.
“As long as he is finding the line well, we will be happy.”
All going well, Platinum Invador will return to Ellerslie on February 15 to tackle the Gr.2 Avondale Cup (2400m) as a lead-in to the Auckland Cup on March 7.
On the same New Plymouth card Latta will be hoping to snare some more black-type with two-year-old filly Amosia who will contest the Gr.3 Woburn Farm Classic (1200m).
The daughter of Squamosa has had four starts as a juvenile for two placings, including a third in the Listed Wellesley Stakes (1000m) at Trentham in October.
Latta is pleased with the filly ahead of Saturday where she will jump from the outside gate in the eight horse field, however, she believes Amosia will be suited over more ground.
“We put in a late nomination for her just because it was a Group race,” Latta said. “She had a little freshen-up after her last start and she has done well.
“She has been running on and I think once we get her over 1200 and 1400m she will get better.
“We would be rapt if she could run in the first four on Saturday.”
Latta will also take Sir Nate north to New Plymouth on Saturday where he has drawn the ace barrier in the Coca Cola 1400m.
The four-year-old gelding heads into the race off the back of a fresh-up third placing over 1400m at Trentham earlier this month after a disappointing southern campaign.
“We gave him a month in the paddock after being down south where he was disappointing,” Latta said.
“It was a good run first-up in quite a strong field. The New Plymouth track may not suit him, but his form has been really good over 1400m.”
While looking forward to Saturday, Latta has been busy at New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale looking for her next stable star.
She went to $140,000 to secure lot 91, the So You Think colt out of Flying Spur mare Min River, from Haunui Farm’s draft and also acquired a Foxwedge colt (lot 100) and a Tavistock filly (lot 468) to train for Go Racing.