It was the case of third time lucky for the Lisa Latta-trained stayer Platinum Invador, who upset calculations in Saturday’s Group 2 Auckland Cup (3200m) to register a deserved big race success.
The seven-year-old son of Redwood had previously placed fourth in the race in 2021 behind Oceana Billy after filling third place behind Saturday’s race rival, Roger That a year earlier.
Sent to Queensland during the winter of 2021, when prepared by Barry Lockwood, Platinum Invador suffered an injury that saw him off the scene for over a year and he has slowly made his way back to full fitness since resuming in November last year.
Latta had poured the work into her charge after he finished an encouraging fifth in the Group 2 Avondale Cup (2400m) on the track a fortnight ago and that worked the oracle as rider Ryan Elliot set him alight from midfield at the 600m, to swoop down the outer of the track and collar game mare Nerve Not Verve in the shadows of the post.
2023 Group 2 Auckland Cup Replay – Platinum Invador
A beaming Latta was finding it hard to contain her excitement as she accepted congratulations after the race.
“This is absolutely fantastic as I’ve tried a few times to win this race and we’ve run a few placings,” she said.
“It’s a race I’ve always wanted to win and I’m just thrilled for John and Lyn (Street, co-owners) and Neville (McAlister, co-owner) as they have been such loyal supporters of mine.
“We packed the work into this horse as he needed his run in the Avondale Cup.
“Jonathan (Riddell) got off him after he worked on Wednesday and said you’ve finally got this horse fit.
“He’s been a very easy horse although he did a tendon in Brisbane and we had to give him twelve months off.
“When they have an injury like that you can be a little too cautious at times and we talked about it and I knew I had to pack the work into him to get him here today.
“He coped with the work really well and he has been swimming and doing everything like a normal horse.
“We’ve had a lean two or three years so to get this today means I’m just over the moon.”
Elliot has an affinity with sons of Westbury Stud stallion Redwood having guided talented three-year-old Sharp ‘N’ Smart to victory in last week’s Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m).
The gifted rider was also aboard Rock On Wood when the son of Redwood won the 2020 Group 1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) for his mother Leanne.
“A lot of dedication has gone into this season to get my weight down and to be able to get on these better horses at the light weights is paying off,” Elliot said.
“Jonathan Riddell has been riding this guy but when the weights came out he had 55kg which meant Jonathan couldn’t make it and as I’ve ridden him a few times before, it gave me the confidence to pick up the phone.
“I worked him the other week and he felt like his old self and I’m just so thrilled to get an Auckland Cup for everyone involved with this horse.
“He jumped away better today and landed in a nice spot and I got the drag up behind the favourite (Aquacade).
“When he let down, he just roared home.”
Raced by the Streets along with McAlister, Platinum Invador was purchased by Latta for $25,000 from the Westbury Stud draft during New Zealand Bloodstock’s 2017 Festival Yearling Sale at Karaka and has now won five of his 39 starts and over $757,000 in prizemoney.