Five To Midnight rewarded with Waikato Cup victory

  • Sat, 16 Dec 2017
  • Dennis Ryan

So often a minor placegetter on the big occasion, Awapuni stayer Five To Midnight got his reward with victory in today’s $100,000 Skycity Hamilton Waikato Cup at Te Rapa.

The Lisa Latta-trained five-year-old signed off his last preparation by winning the Hawke’s Bay Cup at Hastings in April and today went one better than his last-start second to Maygrove in the Counties Cup.

Five To Midnight was given an economical run by Leith Innes tucked in behind the pace in the 2400-emtre feature and when drawn in to the clear at the top of the straight it was obvious he was in for the fight.

It took the first 200 metres of the straight for the big brown to assert himself, but he then went clear and although lightweight closed late with a bold finishing effort, Five To Midnight hit the line for a comfortable win.

A long neck separated the first two placegetters, with a length to Zambezi Warrior, who was doing solid work at the line ahead of Rock On and Zacada.

“He hasn’t always had the luck so it was good to see him get that win,” commented Latta. “He can go to the Avondale Cup now (at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day), then work through to the Auckland Cup, that’s his main target.”

Five To Midnight, who finished in the Ellerslie two-miler last March, is raced by one of Latta’s major supporters, Kamada Park principal Kevin Pratt.

“It’s great for Kevin, he puts a lot into racing and deserves days like this,” Latta added. “This is one of the horses he owns outright and he’s got shares in a lot of others with me.”

Pratt was on hand to escort Five To Midnight back to the winner’s stall, describing the occasion as “probably the highlight” of his time as a racehorse owner.