Platinum Invador’s victory in the Group 3 SKYCITY City of Auckland Cup (2400m) at Ellerslie on Wednesday was a bittersweet result for trainer Lisa Latta. The Palmerston North conditioner’s other runner Sentimental Miss was late scratched from the race along with race favourite Justamaiz and Roger That after a false start was declared due to the field being released with Pinmedown still at the back of the starting gates, waiting to be loaded.
Platinum Invador’s jockey Leith Innes was aware of the situation and was ready to pull up his charge upon hearing the false start siren, however, other mounts weren’t so lucky. “It is frustrating that you travel the horses all the way up here for that to happen,” Latta said. “You feel for all three horses that did get late scratched. James (McDonald, Sentimental Miss’ jockey) didn’t hear the siren and got all the way around to the 1000m. “Platinum Invador did get pulled up early and it was a good ride by Leith.”
Latta said she was confident with the four-year-old son of Redwood heading into Wednesday after his runner-up performance behind subsequent race favourite Concert Hall in the Group 3 Manawatu Cup (2300m) last month. “I was very confident with both of them. He still had improvement in him from the Manawatu Cup and he is on his way up.” Platinum Invador recorded a comfortable win in the end, running away to a 2-3/4 length victory over Savy Yong Blonk, with a further long head back to The Good Fight in third.
Innes was pleased with the win and said being able to pull his horse up so early in the piece after the false start was a major benefit. “I realised the horse (Pinmedown) wasn’t in the gates and as soon as they hit the buzzer, I was one of the first ones to pull up,” he said. “He has been going some really good races and has been knocking on the door. I was pretty confident heading into today. “He got a little bit worked up before the start, but once he was in the race I couldn’t get in halfway down the straight so I had to drop him back. He got there nice and early (the lead down the home-straight), but he was too good.”
Platinum Invador is now set to return to Ellerslie to tackle some northern spoils in the coming months, including his main aim of the season, the Group 1 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m) on March 7.