Lisa Latta may not have come away with the results she was after at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day, but the Awapuni trainer was happy enough with the performance of her two stakes runners.
Two-year-old stakes winner Sir Nate finished fifth in the Group 3 Eclipse Stakes (1200m), but Latta has put the run down as a learning experience for the Nadeem colt ahead of his tilt at the Karaka Million (1200m) later this month.
“He was just a little bit slow away, but he was doing his best work on the line,” Latta said.
“It will be good experience for him. He is one of those horses that is pretty laid back and he takes a little bit to learn so I think he will really benefit from the run.”
A $65,000 purchase out of Little Avondale Stud’s Select Yearling Sale draft at Karaka last year, Sir Nate won his two previous starts, including the Listed Wellesley Stakes (1000m) at Trentham in October.
Meanwhile, Latta’s other stakes runner on the day Five to Midnight continued his consistent form of late when placing in the Group 2 Avondale Cup (2400m) despite trying conditions.
“It was a good run,” Latta said. “The rain just came at the wrong time for us, he wasn’t that comfortable on it.
“He will come back for the City of Auckland.”
The Group 3 Windsor Park Stud City of Auckland Cup (2400m) will be run at Ellerslie on January 27 as part of a revamped Karaka Million twilight meeting.
The six-race programme will feature the Karaka Million (1200m) and the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m), plus a further four stakes races on New Zealand’s richest raceday.