Ni­co­letta com­pletes big dou­ble

Sunday Star-Times - - RACING - NZ RAC­ING DESK

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.

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