Even more so after race three at the Wyong races held on Thursday 16th May 2019. NICCIROSE a three-year-old bay gelding by Nicconi out of a Rubiton mare in Rubirose left the red-hot ,odds-on favourite, the Waterhouse / Bott - trained Embracer in his wake in the closing stages.
What the owners, a group of ladies including Lucy, wife of trainer Scott and some wives and partners of long time clients also loved was NICCIROSE’s starting price … $31. It was their horse’s best performance of his eight start career.
After the gelding’s last run, Scott identified that a short freshen up might be required. NICCIROSE has spent a fair bit of time swimming, the trainer also decided that a gear change would help, taking the horse’s nose roll off and applying winkers … these decisions certainly produced a fine result.
The Wyong track looked in great order, rated a Good 4, the rail in the true position. The meeting would be held under fine, sunny skies … a perfect autumn day. Jockey Christian Reith was in the saddle and NICCIROSE had drawn one from the outside in barrier eight.
Due to an odds-on favourite being in the race, Embracer ($1.09) and the punters investing heavily late on that horse, NICCIROSE was a drifter in the betting opening at $21 and getting out to $31 when they jumped.
The plan was in place, the favourite would jump and lead, that horse had drawn two gates inside of NICCIROSE and if Christian and his mount jumped on terms, come across and park outside the Waterhouse / Bott-trained horse, keeping that colt aware of your presence, inexperience under race conditions may be their undoing.
Christian followed orders to the letter. NICCIROSE jumped well, as did Embracer and those two horses made their way across to the fence simultaneously. At the 1100 metres mark there was a three length margin to the rest of the field.
With 900 metres still to run NICCIROSE’s jockey eased his horse slightly, just enough to let the bold frontrunner know they were still there and being a bit of a pest. With that marginal drop in tempo the rest of the field were reducing the margin to the leaders.
Passing the 600 metres, Harry’s Comet was making a dash three wide and got within three quarters of a length, 200 metres later that run ended with that horse dropping off sharply. NICCIROSE was beginning to get serious and had drawn level with the short-priced favourite, who was now being pushed along vigorously.
NICCIROSE seemed to be doing it comfortably as Christian issued the challenge. Once balanced in the straight the jockey said go … and go they did, lengthening the leading margin with every stride. The $1.09 shot had had enough, his jockey putting away the whip 200 metres out.
A few brandishes of the persuader to maintain momentum and victory was their’s. With ears pricked NICCIROSE coasted past the post, the official winning margin ? … 4.54 lengths.
Geez !!! that was some performance. Well done to trainer Scott, your owners are so fortunate that you are so in touch with your horses and to Christian for carrying out the plan, a masterful ride.
Of course, many sincere congratulations go to the ladies in the ownership, you’re probably loving a ‘rose’ even more … thanks NICCIROSE for keeping the romance alive.
Despite being seven years old and having his forty seventh race start, stable favourite ART OF DEFENCE put in a performance belying those facts in taking out the first race of the day at the Shoalhaven Turf Club’s race meeting held on the Archer Racecourse at Nowra on April 21st.
There was even thoughts of retiring the Ol’ Boy after an unfamiliar run two starts back at Bathurst over a similar class and distance. However, that didn’t come to fruition as “Doctor” Scott prescribed a six week freshen-up and since returning ART OF DEFENCE has appeared a rejuvenated horse. The way he raced today was like the “Frank” of old and it was a sight to behold.
ART OF DEFENCE’s assignment was the Girls Day Out Is Coming Benchmark 58 Handicap run over the distance of 2200 metres. Jay Ford had been declared as his jockey and the weight to be carried was 56.5kgs, the pair had drawn the outside in the field of nine runners. The race would be held under fine skies and the track rating a Good 4. The moveable rail was located in the true position.
The fluctuations in the betting market saw ART OF DEFENCE’s price shorten from an opening quote of $9.50 a slight drift out to $10.00 then a strong firming into $5.50 at start time. One may say there was a certain confidence of the horse running well.
Positive from the gates, Jay remained wide, summing up the situation and on passing the winning post for the first time had ART OF DEFENCE three out one back and settling into a nice rhythm.
With around 1800 metres to run the jockey has eased slightly to be travelling one off the fence three pairs back. The Matthew Dale-trained City Of Kirkwall then upped his rating slightly and went out to a clear lead.
Nothing much altered as far as positional changes were concerned until the field had gone past the 1000 metres mark. The stable mate of the leader namely No Doubt Ma’am began to drop back, it appeared as if something was amiss with that runner.
Jay had the foresight of noticing this and eased ART OF DEFENCE one horse wider in order to avoid being stuck behind the tiring horse. Shortly afterward things began to happen.
The horses behind the leader were being asked to up the tempo, Jay was attuned to his task at hand and began pushing ART OF DEFENCE along. His mount responded in kind, was travelling well and coming into the race strongly.
The jockey was keeping ART OF DEFENCE’s mind on the job, continuously pushing his mount whilst still maintaining a good rating. Half way round the final bend and galloping strongly, the duo were three wide and looking a danger.
Into the straight and balanced, Jay became a little more vigorous using hands and heels until 300 metres from home. ART OF DEFENCE was hitting his top, it was then his jockey applied several slaps of the persuader to keep the momentum going.
The Gwenda Markwell-trained Chilli Beauty was gaining a run to their inside, while the visitor from Gosford, also a seven-year-old, Coolaminyah Kid was making his run to the outside of ART OF DEFENCE.
With just under 75 metres to go ART OF DEFENCE was holding the challengers at bay, going on to defeat Chilli Beauty by 1 1/4 lengths with 3/4 length to the third horse in the time of 2:18.04.
Heartiest Congratulations the owners who are long time supporters of the stable, also to Jay Ford for his knowledge and experience and for producing a great ride on the old timer.
Once again Scott, your awareness of the horses’ needs under your care is invaluable.
What a huge thrill it was for all concerned to cheer “Frankie” home … a winner once more … there’s still life in them there legs.