Nicoletta completes big double
The powerful Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman stable completed a stakes double for the day when Nicoletta took out the $80,000 Taranaki Breeders’ Stakes (1400m, Group 3) at Hawera yesterday.
Just over an hour after stablemate Deals In Heels had scored in the Matamata Cup, Nicoletta also put her first victory at stakes level on the board, after registering a pair of Group One placings in her previous campaign.
Unsighted since finishing third in the Travis Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa in April, the Savabeel mare paraded in a forward condition courtesy of a pair of trial runs.
A win in an open heat over 1200m at home track Cambridge last month topped her off nicely.
A positive ride from experienced jockey Jonathan Riddell saw the mare dispute the pace throughout, before easing clear entering the home straight. Despite being hotly challenged over the last 200m Nicoletta kicked back bravely to hold out the fast-finishing race favourite, Livin’ On A Prayer, with Art Deco also finishing powerfully to snatch third.
‘‘We thought this race was perfect for her as she has been ready to go first up for a while now,’’ said Forsman.
‘‘The only worry was the 1400m as she is better suited to the mile or beyond, but being on the fresh side meant she could get away with what sounded like a very brave effort.
‘‘We did think the race set up well as the weightfor-age conditions suited a quality mare like her who could sit handy and kick hard, which is what she did.’’
Forsman is convinced his charge is ready for a profitable spring campaign now she has put this win on the board.
‘‘She will only get better as she steps up in distance so there is a lot to look forward to,’’ he said.
‘‘The obvious plan is to pick up as much blacktype as we can so I would expect to see her in some of the better races coming up. I think something like the Zabeel Classic (2000m) at the Ellerslie Christmas carnival.’’
A IF EVER a horse deserved to break through at stakes level it is talented mare Deals In Heels.
Placed on three occasions in black-type events, the Emma Evans bred-and-owned five-year-old finally cracked it in top company when she took out the listed $50,000 Matamata Cup (1600m).
Luck was back on her side as she enjoyed a trouble-free run in the hands of regular rider Matthew Cameron.
Angled off the rail approaching the home corner, Deals In Heels sprinted quickly to hit the front.