Underrated Bendigo mare All About Nicci claimed her third metropolitan success with victory in last Saturday’s $125,000 Darren Gauci Handicap (1100m) at Caulfield.
While it was the seventh win of the mare’s career, her other two city successes had come in South Australia. Last Saturday’s win was young trainer Kym Hann’s second Melbourne triumph.
All About Nicci was sent out a $26 chance, but Hann was confident of a forward showing third up from a spell and on to soft ground.
“I was happy with her Morphettville run second up — she did hit the line well,” he said. “I was just worried they may not have gone quick enough for her to run on but a few kicked up and a soft track certainly helped.”
The win was the mare’s sixth on rain-affected ground and she was assisted by a masterful James Winks ride.
“She’s always had a lot of ability,” Hann said.
“I’ve always had a lot of time for the horse and we’ll target some black type now before the breeding barn.”
Purchased for $30,000 at the 2014 Inglis sales, the daughter of Nicconi has now earned $202,458.
The win more than made up for Hann’s disappointment at having to scratch impressive jumpout winner Like to Think So from the third at Caulfield. He was found to be lame during the week.
Hann is gearing up for a big Swan Hill Carnival with up to nine runners.
“Bendigo Bullet” to race on
Miss Leonidas will have the final race of her autumn campaign this Saturday at Flemington but will race on next season, Bendigo trainer Shaun Dwyer has confirmed.
The mare’s connections have opted to race on as opposed to retiring the valuable I Am Invincible mare, a recent winner of the listed Bel Esprit Stakes.
Miss Leonidas will tackle the straight course over 1000 metres in the $125,000 Victorian Sprint Series final after a creditable third in the VOBIS Gold Sprint on April 27.
Miss Leonidas will be aimed at the Group 1 Moir Stakes and Group 2 Caulfield Sprint in the spring. A light autumn is planned ahead of the 2020 breeding season.
The stable’s other Flemington runner will be lightly raced New Zealand-bred maiden filly Chilula. Dwyer hopes she can earn her ticket into the Queensland Oaks (June 1) with a positive showing on Saturday.
Shaun Dwyer was in the winner’s circle at Echuca last Sunday when Heavenward lugged 61.5 kilograms to an all-the-way victory in the $22,000 bet365 BM58 Handicap (1400m).
The victory was the second of the four-year-old’s career, his maiden win having come at Kyneton 13 months earlier, but he was sent out $3 favourite after recent placings at Wodonga and Wangaratta.
Jockey Nikita Beriman took luck out of the equation and held a half-length margin at the finish.
Bred and raced by stable client David Israel, Heavenward has earnings of $52,995 from 12 starts.
Dwyer also has an unraced half-brother by Moshe in his stable named Moshaven.
Several Goldfields gallopers took to the Tatura trials on Monday, where a number of runners were preparing for the coming Swan Hill Carnival. Below are a few to follow.
• Hi Stranger: Zofany gelding from the Shane Fliedner yard who was beaten for early speed and quite green but closed strongly at the end of 850 metres.
• Travail: Another unraced Shane Fliedner galloper, he was back and wide but his last 50 metres was his best.• She’s Nic’n Off: Has not been sighted for 36 weeks but returned with a handy trial under light riding in a high-quality heat.