New Zealand trainer Lisa Latta once operated a Riccarton stable but that hasn't stopped the Palmerston North trainer from getting visitor's draws with her promising two-year-olds Diss Is Dramatic and Cheveux.
The pair started from barriers 13 and 15 respectively in last month's Ladies Bracelet (1000m) at Riccarton when they finished second and third behind Defiant.
That trio will again clash in Saturday's Listed Berkley Stud Champagne Stakes (1200m) and again Latta's duo have been allotted the outside two gates, with Dissident filly Diss Is Dramatic set to jump from barrier 10 and Belardo filly Cheveux from 11.
“They drew outside last time and it's the same again this week. It just doesn't make things easy for them,” Latta said.
While the barrier draws aren't ideal, Latta is happy with both horses heading into the last black-type two-year-old race in the South Island for the season.
“Diss Is Dramatic just got held up when she went for an inside run the other day and lost her momentum and had to switch out but Tina (Comignaghi, jockey) was really happy with her,” Latta said.
“Cheveux just felt the ground a bit. It was particularly firm. But she's really tough and she'll improve from that run too. I expect them both to run well again but Defiant is definitely the one to beat.”
Bookmakers have Defiant as a +130 favourite for the race, with Diss Is Dramatic a +300 second favourite and Cheveux, to be ridden by Lisa Allpress, at +1200.
Both Latta juveniles remained in Christchurch after the Ladies Bracelet, stabled with her former assistant trainer Andrew Carston.
“Andrew and I have been friends for a long time, ” Latta said.
“Cheveux has been doing a bit of work on the water treadmill. It was pretty firm a fortnight ago and we just wanted to take the weight off her legs but she came in and had a gallop yesterday and went well. And Diss Is Dramatic is going well too. Andrew has been happy with them both.
“Obviously we'd like some easing of the ground. Hopefully they've put a bit of water on the track so it's not as firm as what it was the other day.”
Latta said Cheveux, a NZD$40,000 Karaka yearling, would head to the paddock after the Champagne Stakes but she was open-minded about late autumn and winter plans for Diss Is Dramatic, who cost Go Racing NZD$60,000 at Karaka.
“There are a couple of stakes races up here but she has been up a while so we'll just see what happens,” Latta said.
“Having the trip away and getting to know the environment, it does them wonders, especially if they do get back down there in the spring.”