Weather watch on Counties ahead of Cup

Five To Midnight will tackle Saturday’s Gr.3 Counties Cup (2100m). Photo credit: Trish Dunell

Many trainers are keeping a cautious eye on the weather in Auckland ahead of Saturday’s Counties Cup meeting at Pukekohe Park.

The track was rated a Dead 6 on Wednesday, after 9mm of rain overnight and more rain is forecast for the remainder of the week.

Palmerston North-based trainer Lisa Latta is hoping the forecast improves but admits she has a versatile contender in the Group 3 SsangYong Counties Cup (2100m), in last start Listed Feilding Gold Cup (2100m) winner Five to Midnight.

“He’s come through really well and I couldn’t be happier with him,” Latta said “I’m just a bit worried about the forecast especially as he’s carrying top weight (60kgs).

“He won’t mind it a bit wet but I wouldn’t like to see it get real wet and they are forecasting a fair bit of rain but he is pretty versatile and he goes on most tracks.”

The six-year-old son of Domesday has won on a variety of track conditions but his best form has been on Dead to Slow surfaces.

Leith Innes has picked up the ride on Five To Midnight with his regular rider Jonathan Parkes currently serving a suspension for excessive use of the whip on Irish Flame at Riccarton last Wednesday. The Kamada Racing-owned gelding has drawn barrier six.

“The draw gives us good options if the rain does come,” Latta said.

Five to Midnight finished second to Maygrove in the race last year and he faces the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained runner again this year.

Latta also has The Rippa entered in the HR Fisken & Son (1600m) but she has also accepted with him in the McDonalds Palmerston North/ Property Brokers (1400m) at Awapuni and will decide on where he starts later in the week.