Go Nicholas delivers in style

Go Nicholas and Mark Du Plessis returning to scale after a well-deserved win last Saturday.

Go Nicholas and Mark Du Plessis returning to scale after a well-deserved win last Saturday.

Shelley Hale breathed a sigh of relief when her promising galloper Go Nicholas recaptured his best form at Ellerslie last Saturday.

Go Nicholas won three of his first five starts last season, but had to settle for a string of five placings this campaign before breaking through in the Colgate Optic White 1400.

Ridden by Mark Du Plessis, Go Nicholas trailed fifth or sixth, three-back on the inner, and looked to be travelling like the winner a long way from home.

Du Plessis angled him off the fence on the turn and, though held up briefly, he soon got into the clear and finished resolutely to score by three-quarters of a length from Hiflyer.

“He’s a horse who has got a real turn of foot and the secret is to get him to relax early,” said Hale. “It was a lovely ride by Mark.

“I did try him at 1400 once before and he didn’t quite see it out, but there were no worries today.”

That first 1400-metre start was at the end of his first campaign when third behind Prince Of Passion during last year’s Auckland Cup carnival.

Going into last Saturday’s race, Go Nicholas hadn’t raced since finishing second to Julius at Ellerslie on January 14.

“He’s had a couple of little niggles,” said Hale. “Only minor things and that’s why he hadn’t raced since mid-January.

“The way he strung them together last season I expected him to carry on, but now that he has got this one on the board we’ll go forward from here.”

Du Plessis has a long and successful association riding winners for Hale and he was thrilled with last Saturday’s win.

“He’s had bad luck in his last three or four starts and he deserved to win,” said Du Plessis.