Long-standing partnership celebrate Auckland Cup victory

By Dennis Ryan

15 Mar 2023

Long-standing partnership celebrate Auckland Cup victoryOwners John and Lynne Street and Neville McAlister (immediately to right of dress rug) join in the c

After close to 1,000 wins as an owner in the gallop and harness codes, John Street is well tuned to the thrill that goes with success.
However, last Saturday at Pukekohe Park was special, made up of a winning double and a long-awaited victory in the $500,000 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup.
The Street-owned longshot Lincoln Star got the day off to a perfect start by winning the first race and his Lisa Latta-trained stablemate Platinum Invador completed a meticulously planned comeback with a last-stride win in the big two-miler.
For Latta and owners John and Lynne Street and Neville McAlister, the Redwood gelding’s dogged victory over Melbourne raider Nerve Not Verve was the culmination of months, if not years, of planning.
Their story with the now seven-year-old began when McAlister selected and Latta signed for him at $25,000 from the Festival catalogue at the 2017 National Yearling Sale. By the middle of his three-year-old season Platinum Invador was starting to look the part and after a winning double either side of Christmas 2018/19 he was set for the New Zealand Derby.
Third place in the Ellerslie classic was a more than satisfactory result and he was back at Ellerslie nine moths later for victory in the Gr. 3 City of Auckland Cup. It’s almost incredible that he was not to win another race between that and last weekend’s career highlight.
There was any number of placings, however. Second in the 2020 Avondale followed by third in the Auckland Cup, third later that year in the Herbert Power Handicap at Caulfield, second in the 2021 City of Auckland Cup and then fourth in the Auckland Cup.
In the second of two Queensland winter carnival starts later that year he strained a tendon and wasn’t sighted again until the spring of 2022. I recall discussing plans with Latta after his fresh-up third at Hastings in November, when she named the Auckland Cup as his ultimate target.
And why not? It was a race that had eluded her tantalisingly. Even closer than Platinum Invador’s two placings, Latta had come painfully close in 2018 with Five To Midnight, nosed out by Ladies First after having his head in front one stride before and one stride after the line.
“We knew how much Lisa wanted to win the race and we always thought Platinum Invador could do it,” John Street told RaceForm earlier this week. “Things didn’t look good though when he blew a tendon in Brisbane, but we were determined to give him every chance of making it back.
“After the vets had dealt with him we sent him to Bryce Newman and he looked after him for about 12 months, he did a great job taking him through the various stages. Since then it’s been a matter of Lisa getting him fit and keeping him going – plenty of swimming and a variety of work, so it’s fantastic to finally knock off a race like the Auckland Cup.”
In his working life, Street did well in the supermarket trade and he and his wife have been able to indulge their hobby in both racing codes.
“I got to know Lisa through her old boss Malcolm Smith, who we had horses with, but when he passed away unexpectedly in 1998, I told Lisa that if she wanted to take over the stable we would support her.
“It’s been a wonderful relationship since, she’s a great lady who tells it like it is and really knows what she’s doing.”
The Auckland Cup isn’t the Streets’ biggest win, that honour belonging to Fort Lincoln’s Karaka Million victory in the season before Latta’s 2012-13 trainers’ premiership win.
In the harness code the Streets have enjoyed even greater success, headed by Sir Lincoln’s 2012 Auckland Cup win, while their Lincoln Farms training operation in Pukekohe is a daily focus.
“I love heading out to the farm more or less every day, pottering around on the mower, talking to the guys and just enjoying myself with all the people involved,” Street said.
Central to that is highly respected trainer Ray Green, whose stable star Copy That is actually owned by Melbourne couple Merv and Meg Butterworth. Green, well on the road to recovery after a near fatal kick from a horse in November, was part of the group who joined the Streets and McAlister last Saturday.
“We had a couple of wins at Cambridge on Thursday night, so to get another two at Pukekohe and one of them the Auckland Cup – it really couldn’t be any better!”