Nicoletta leads home Cambridge trifecta

Nicoletta (inside) fighting on gamely to beat fellow Cambridge filly Devise in the Desert Gold Stakes yesterday.

Nicoletta (inside) fighting on gamely to beat fellow Cambridge filly Devise in the Desert Gold Stakes yesterday, while the winner’s stablemate Bonneval fills third spot.

The country’s leading trainers threw all their eggs in one basket at Trentham yesterday and came up with a successful recipe.

Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman took four horses to the Wellington meeting and focused their attention solely on the Gr.3 Wellfield Desert Gold Stakes. The outcome was nearly a quinella with Nicoletta winning the feature and Bonneval finishing third, while stablemates Princess Sapphire and Street Ranger wound up ninth and 13th respectively.

Mongolian Wolf then went on to win the last race at Pukekohe yesterday to take the Baker – Forsman’s stable tally for the season to 55 wins, placing them six ahead of their nearest rivals Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards on the NZ Trainers Premiership.

The Desert Gold Stakes wasn’t the smoothest of races, being a roughly run affair, however it was the Savabeel filly Nicoletta who coped best when capitalising on a cushy run from an inside barrier to outsprint her rivals over the final stages.

Race favourite Devise, from Shaune Ritchie’s stable, made a spirited bid to catch Nicoletta, but she came up a head short while Bonneval completed the trifecta for Cambridge.

Nicoletta was having her first run since finishing fifth in the Gr.2 Royal Stakes on New Year’s Day and Forsman was thrilled to see her gain some valuable Trentham experience.

“It was a terribly run race, a bit of a debacle really, but she just got the soft run,” said Forsman.

“We’ve always thought that Nicoletta is a real Oaks filly so to do what she has done over a mile is very encouraging.

“I thought it might have been a bit sharp for her today, but the way the race was run, it just fell into her hands.”

Rider Michael Coleman was also delighted with Nicoletta’s performance as he is another who believes the filly will be at her best when seen over the 2400 metres of the New Zealand Oaks distance on the same track

“It was a sit and sprint sort of race and she tracked up really nicely,” he said. “She was pretty keen compared to how she went at Auckland last time so she freshened up nicely.

“I had said to Andrew I really liked her as an Oaks filly. She has got a bit of quality and I think there is a lot of upside to her.”

Nicoletta races in the familiar JML Bloodstock colours of Wellington owner Lib Petagna who outlaid $90,000 for her at the 2015 Select session of the National Yearling Sale.

NZ Racing Desk