Stakes quality and quantity for Latta

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Lisa Latta has the distance bases covered in this Saturday's feature events at where she has multiple representation in the stable's quest for black-type success.

The Awapuni trainer will first attack the Group 2 Manawatu Challenge Stakes (1400m) with Old Town Road and and the staying duo of Charms Star and do battle in the Group 3 (2300m).

The consistent Old Town Road is racing to his usual standard this preparation with a resuming success to kick off his campaign before reeling off placings in the Group 3 Red Badge Spring Sprint (1400m), the Listed Classic (1500m) and the Listed Levin Stakes (1200m).

“He's very genuine and the step back up to 1400m is definitely going to suit him,” Latta said. “He has drawn out a bit (gate 12) and that's probably the only concern.

“He always gives his best and we'll wait and see what we do with him after Saturday, he likes the fire out of the tracks so he is weather dependant.”

Old Town Road was formerly prepared by co-breeder and part-owner Ian Wyeth, who trained the son of El Roca to win his first three races before transferring him to Latta's care earlier this year.

His relatively new stablemate Belclare won for the seventh time in her career last time out when she romped home in the Group 3 Breeders' Stakes (1400m).

“I'm really happy with her and she has raced well at Trentham before. She's got a nice draw (four) so we're looking forward to it,” Latta said.

The relocation of the Awapuni features away from Belclare's home track to the capital city is far from a negative as the Per Incanto mare has already won twice over the course and distance this year.

Charms Star is also a daughter of the Little Stud sire and there looks to be a sense of timing about the five-year-old.

She ran third two runs back in the Listed Feilding Cup (2100m) before overcoming a tardy start to finish runner-up in the Listed (2040m).

“It will be nice to see her back at Wellington and I'm praying that the rain stays away, she's very well,” Latta said.

Charms Star ran second at Trentham in the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) and then joined Chris Waller's stable and also finished runner-up in the Group 1 Oaks (2400m) before returning home.

“She holds nominations for the Queen Elizabeth Cup (Group 3, 2400m), the (Group 3, 2400m) and the Auckland Cup (Group 2, 3200m),” Latta said.

“We would probably look to go to the Queen Elizabeth after this and much the same with the other horse.”

Latta was referring to Platinum Invador, fourth last time out in the Wanganui Cup, who won the Queen Elizabeth two years ago when it was known as the City of Auckland Cup.

He was second in his title defence in 2021 and the Redwood gelding also ran third in the 2020 Auckland Cup when it held Group One status.

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