Sir Nate will be back for a second crack at the principal share of $1 million as part of a three-pronged attack on the prestigious Karaka Million meeting by Lisa Latta.
Sir Nate finished an unlucky seventh to Avantage in last year’s Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) after being held up in the home straight and on Saturday at Ellerslie he will contest the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m), another restricted Listed feature.
Following on from Secret Allure’s stylish win in the Gr.3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) at Trentham, Latta will also be heading north with Five To Midnight for the Collinsonforex Karaka Cup (2200m) and the promising filly Princess Amelie for the Gr.3 Mongolian Khan Trophy (1200m).
Latta is expecting a bold showing from Sir Nate this weekend and if all goes to plan the son of Nadeem will be set for a tilt at the Gr.1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m) in March.
‘’I’m very happy with him,’’ she said. “The 1200m was a bit sharp for him when he went up to the Karaka Million 2YO and he’s better-suited in this one.”
Sir Nate has won four of his 11 starts and been placed on three occasions. He won the Listed Wellesley Stakes (1200m) at Trentham in his second juvenile start and ended that season with a strong-finishing third to Avantage in the Gr.1 Manawatu Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni.
His latest win came three starts ago over 1600m at Trentham and he followed that with a brave third behind Madison County and Dawn Patrol in the Gr.1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton on November 10.
‘’It was always the plan to freshen him after Riccarton as it’s a long way through to the (New Zealand) Derby,’’ Latta said.
Sir Nate resumed with a second to Miss Labasa over 1400m at Awapuni earlier this month and, provided he acquits himself well in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic, Latta will use either the Gr.2 Waikato Guineas (2000m) at Te Rapa on February 9 or the Gr.2 Avondale Guineas (2100m) at Ellerslie a week later as a final lead-up to the New Zealand Derby.
Five To Midnight is also headed for the Auckland Racing Club’s major carnival in March with a third attempt at the Gr.1 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m).
He finished fifth to Chenille in the Cup two years ago and was beaten a nose by Ladies First last year. He has won twice this season, including the Listed Feilding Gold Cup (2100m) in November.
He followed up a third to Mongolian Marshal in the Gr.3 Waikato Cup (2400m) with a last-start fifth to Prince Jabeel in the Gr.3 City Of Auckland Cup (2400m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day, giving away 5.5kg to the winner.
“It was a huge run in the City Of Auckland Cup,’’ Latta said. “He came from the back and ran the fastest last 600m.
“He’s done well since then and he gets into the Auckland Cup this year with a nice weight. He should go well on Saturday.”
Princess Amelie will face strong opposition in the Mongolian Khan Trophy, but has amassed a good record of three wins and two placings from seven starts. Her most recent effort was a third to Pretty To Sea over 1200m in her first right-handed start at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.
‘’She’s a smart filly and she didn’t like the wet track last time so she did well to finish third,’’ Latta said. ‘’She was caught three-wide and kept trying.’’ - NZ Racing Desk