Latta hoping for dramatic turn in Oaks build-up

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  • February 17, 2023
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Palmerston North trainer Lisa Latta knows an Oaks filly when she sees one.

Latta has twice won the Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham – with Wharite Princess in 2004 and Sentimental Miss in 2019 – and in recent years twice produced the runner-up through Platinum Witness in 2015 and Charms Star in 2021.

So when she speaks with reverence of her current star filly Diss Is Dramatic, it would pay to take note.

“She’s a filly that’s got a bit of attitude about her. She thinks she’s pretty good and it’s that type of filly that tends to be the better ones,” Latta said.

“She doesn’t have a fantastic turn of foot but she just maintains her speed. We’ve nominated her for the Oaks. We’ll get her through this run and see which direction we head in after that.”

Diss Is Dramatic continues her build-up to the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks at Trentham on March 18 with a start in Saturday’s Gr.3 NZ Bloodstock Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) at the same track.

A winner of three of her 11 starts, including defeating subsequent Gr.2 Wellington Guineas (1400m) winner Cognito in the Gr.3 War Decree Stakes (1600m) at Riccarton in the spring, Dissident filly Diss Is Dramatic has drawn barrier eight for the three-year-old fillies contest with Joe Doyle booked to ride.

Off the back of a gallant second placing to Saturday’s race rival Mazzolino at Pukekohe, TAB bookmakers have Diss Is Dramatic at $8 in a market headed by Best Seller at $3.60, Rocababy at $4 and Mazzolino at $6.50.

“I’m really happy with her. It was a good run at Pukekohe and she’s gone forward nicely since then too,” Latta said.

“There’s a bit of rain in the forecast and that’s only going to help her too. I expect her to be right in the thick of it, especially if we strike a dead track or worse. we’ll be as positive as we can. We’ll get forward and try and get a bit of cover.”

Latta also has $41 outsider Knickerless in the Desert Gold Stakes, the Charm Spirit filly securing her maiden win at Tauherenikau last start.

“She loves the fire out of the ground. We rode her quietly the other day and she found the line strongly. We’re expecting a nice run from her too,” she said.

Latta will also chase the other two Trentham features on Saturday through He’s A Doozy in the Gr.1 Harcourts Thorndon Mile (1600m) and Charms Star in the Gr.3 NZ Campus Of Innovation & Sport Wellington Cup (3200m).

He’s A Doozy had won the Gr.3 Thompson Handicap (1600m) at Trentham and the Gr.3 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m) at Riccarton before a last-start sixth carrying 62kg in a 1600m open handicap at Trentham earlier this month.

“The track was particularly off and he drew in carrying all that weight and dropping back to last. I didn’t take much out of it at all. I thought he may have gone a touch better but the 62 kilos makes it hard to make up that ground,” she said.

“He looks fantastic and I couldn’t be any happier going into this. La Crique looks thrown in at the weights but if he could run in the top three or four, that would be a top run.”

Latta was more upbeat about Charms Star in the Wellington Cup.

“I couldn’t be happier with her. I can’t fault her condition,” Latta said. “She just hasn’t had all favours in her races and she’s drawn the outside which again isn’t ideal but I’m adamant she’ll see the 3200m out.”

Latta revealed Gr.2 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m) plans for proven stayer Platinum Invador, with the Gr.2 Avondale Cup (2400m) at Pukekohe on February 18 his planned leadup race.

While Saturday’s Trentham meeting is Latta’s immediate focus, she will head north on Sunday to procure her next generation of stars at the Karaka yearling sales.

“I’ve had a look through the catalogue and had a look at a few already; not a lot, but we’ll get up there Sunday and see what we can do,” Latta said.

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