Nymph franks form with classy win

Nymph, ridden by Kelly McCulloch, unleashing an irresistible finish to win at Ellerslie yesterday.

Nymph, ridden by Kelly McCulloch, unleashing an irresistible finish to win at Ellerslie yesterday.

Form students reaped a healthy reward with Nymph at Ellerslie yesterday, but not without a few anxious moments.

Prepared by Stephen Marsh for owner-breeders Windsor Park Stud, Nymph was having her third start when contesting the Dunstan Feeds 1600 and, though her lead-up form promised a top showing from the four-year-old daughter of Thorn Park, she was allowed to start at the generous odds of almost 8/1.

Nymph had shown potential at the trials with her four educational runs resulting in a win at Cambridge last June and three placings, the latest being a second at Te Awamutu last October.

She made her debut at Te Awamutu on November 8 and after being trapped wide she battled on well for fourth, just over two lengths from the winner, Marissa. But it was her second start which had astute punters climbing aboard yesterday.

That second-up run was at Te Aroha on November 23 over 1400 metres and she ran on well to again finish fourth and, although beaten seven lengths, she went down to three smart horses.

Speedy Grey, prepared at Cambridge by Lauren Brennan, won that Te Aroha race on debut by two and three-quarter lengths and the second and third-placegetters, also trained at Cambridge, were Sacred Shot and Camino Rocoso.

Sacred Shot, from the stable of Tony Pike, went on to win his next start at Ellerslie on December 11 and the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained Camino Rocoso was also a next-up winner, scoring decisively at Ellerslie four days earlier.

Having raced over 1150 and 1400 metres in her first two starts, Nymph appreciated the step up to 1600 yesterday and she needed every bit of the distance to get her win.

Ridden by Kelly McCulloch, she was last and about three lengths behind her nearest rival for much of the race after jumping from the outside barrier. She was improved around the field with 600 metres to run, but even then she was still standing the leaders up a huge start when ninth 300 out. She then unleashed a big finish to grab victory by a neck.

It was an all-Cambridge finish with Blackmagicwoman, from Shaune Ritchie’s stable, filling second berth and Master Of Speed, prepared by Brennan, completing the trifecta.

Now out of maiden class, Nymph looks set to continue to improve and judging by yesterday’s performance she should go on with the good work and could be even more exciting when she steps up over more ground.