Ni­eta au­di­tions for spring stage

The Sportsman Weekend - - News - By RAY HICK­SON

TAL­ENTED mare Ni­eta has three races in the com­ing weeks, start­ing at Rand­wick to­mor­row, that will serve as an au­di­tion stage for loftier goals in the spring.

Trainer John Thomp­son has a high opin­ion of the lightly raced four-year-old, who took some big steps for­ward in the lat­ter part of 2016, and be­lieves the Ran­vet Hand­i­cap (1000m) is an ideal start­ing point.

Ni­eta hasn’t raced since a game sec­ond in the Listed Starlight Stakes (1100m) on De­cem­ber 3, race that showed Thomp­son she’s a po­ten­tial car­ni­val sprinter.

“She still has to keep mak­ing those steps but she showed she the abil­ity to do it,” Thomp­son said.

“We’ve planned on go­ing to Scone and she needed a lead in run.

“She’ll prob­a­bly only have three runs this prep and a freshen up to come back for the spring.

“If she does take the next step we will aim her at some good races.”

The i mme­di­ate tar­get will be the Listed Orten­sia Stakes (1100m) at Scone on May 13 and, all go­ing well, the June Stakes will fol­low.

What Thomp­son has learned about Ni­eta in the past cou­ple of prepa­ra­tions is that she’s very much a short courser.

He de­lib­er­ately missed the au­tumn, though be­ing up from June to De­cem­ber had a bit to do with that de­ci­sion.

“She had have a spell, she was up for very long time which ruled her out of the car­ni­val,” he said.

“She had a wind prob­lem early and op­er­a­tion

since we’ve kept her to short, sharp, dis­tances she’s been out­stand­ing.”

With two tri­als un­der her belt, an un­beaten fresh record, and a proven abil­ity to han­dle all con­di­tions, Thomp­son said she’s pretty ready to fire first-up.

“She prob­a­bly could have won ei­ther trial if asked to,” he said.

“Blake (Shinn) gal­loped her on Tues­day and was pretty happy with her.”

A drying Rand­wick track would be to lightly raced four-year-old Dream­force’s ad­van­tage in the au Hand­i­cap ( 1400m) but 4.4mm on Wed­nes­day night wasn’t ex­actly wel­comed by Thomp­son.

He said Dream­force had come back in great fash­ion, ev­i­denced by his close firstup sec­ond at New­cas­tle, but doesn’t want an­other heavy track.

“He was a lit­tle bit stiff (at New­cas­tle), I think with clear run­ning he would have won,” said.

“He’s im­proved with that run un­der his belt.

“I think the only worry with him is track. His form very good on firm sur­faces but in his sec­ond trial this prep he went ter­ri­bly on a heavy track.

“If it’s a soft 5 or 6 we are sweet.”

Stayer Dan­jeu makes his 2017 de­but in the ATC Mem­ber­ship Hand­i­cap (1600m) fol­low­ing a third in the Christ­mas Cup back De­cem­ber.

While the six-year-old has had two bar­rier tri­als Thomp­son is to the point about his prospects.

“He’s come back well, there are some Listed stay­ing races com­ing up but a mile will be too short for him,” he said.

She still has to keep mak­ing those steps but she showed she has the abil­ity to do it. – John Thomp­son

The John Thomp­son-trained Neita is tick­ing over nicely ahead of Satur­day’s Ran­vet Hand­i­cap

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