Lisa Latta forms the 1000th New Zealand winner
A late barn run by a three-year-old Platinum Star filly that led her to a first win at Woodville on Sunday also marked a special milestone for trainer Lisa Latta.
The victory was Latta’s 1,000th career winner in New Zealand after being encouraged to become a full-fledged coach following the death of her boss and mentor Malcolm Smith in 1998.
Latta trained five winners in his first solo season and built an enviable record over the past 24 years thanks to the acts of quality gallopers such as Wharite Princess, Fort Lincoln, Mikki Street, Platinum Witness, Platinum Invador and Sentimental Miss .
Winning the title of premier national coaches in the 2013/2014 season is one of the many highlights for Latta, finishing second the following season ahead of Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman.
Coach Awapuni has groomed the winners of 62 high-stakes races across the country, in addition to winning black-type races in Australia with Platinum Kingdom and Zennista.
Reaching the 1,000-win milestone is something Latta never considered when she made the decision to enter the coaching ranks on her own.
“I guess it’s been a long time coming and it’s more of a relief feeling than getting rid of the monkey rather than anything else right now,” she said.
“I don’t know how long I was on 999, but it seems like forever.
“It was great to get the 1000 wins with a horse bred and partly owned by Neville McAlister because he has played such a big part in my career.
“Neville, John and Lynne Street were right behind me when I started and have been huge supporters all the years that I train.
“I have just been fortunate to have great and loyal owners, as well as great staff, who have all played their part to get to where we are today.”
Although loath to name the best horse she has trained, Latta reserves a special mention for the 2011 Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) winner, Fort Lincoln.
“Fort Lincoln winning the Karaka Million was a very special day for the team,” she said.
“I would also say that horses like Wharite Princess (Group 1 New Zealand Oaks, 2400m), Platinum Witness (Group 1 NZ 1000 Guineas, 1600m) and Authentic Paddy, who won eleven races, are some of the others who come to mind. ”
Latta hadn’t planned any special celebrations to mark his achievement, preferring a quiet evening after a long day at the Woodville reunion.
“I hadn’t really thought about what I would do if we were to win, but I know it’s been a very long day with eleven races at the meeting,” she said.
“It might be nice to get home and rest before getting up early tomorrow morning to start all over again.”