Wyong’s Kristen Buchanan unearthed another highly promising galloper in Niccobelle (Paul King) which scored a debut win in the Book Now – Christmas At The Races December Three Year Old Maiden (1100m) at Wyong today.
The win came as Buchanan puts the final touches to the unbeaten Echo Effect as she prepares him for his city debut at Randwick on Saturday.
“Niccobelle is a promising horse and we have been working him with Echo Effect so we came here today with some confidence,” Buchanan said.
“He is a nice animal and he may need a break now but I will wait until we get him home and see how he pulls up before making any decisions.
“There is a lot of racing ahead of him.
“Paul is riding in such good form and I liked the way he let the horse settle back early.”
In fact Niccobelle was second last early in what was a hot maiden field, was the widest runner on the turn and finished down the outside.
He wanted to hang in at one stage and King had to stop riding and straighten him but he still proved too strong, beating Palladian by half a neck.
The Bjorn Baker stable had a big day with a winning treble and another winner at Bathurst.
Baker’s Wyong winners were The Reverend Demon (Carlton Mid Maiden), To Be Sure (Go Electrial Raceday September 29 Class Two (1100m) and Perfect Season in the Christmas At The Races November 24 Book Now Maiden (1600m).
Baker’s opinion of The Reverend Demon was finally vindicated when he grabbed the lead late to win and rob Mark Newnham of his first winner as a trainer.
Tye Angland attempted to lead all the way on the Newnham trained Posmaster General but was caught near the line.
“Mark is a good friend of mine and I know I have robbed him of his first winner but it is good to see this horse break through,” The Reverend Demon’s rider, Blake Shinn, said.
Foreman Jack Bruce said Baker had always had an opinion of the Hinchinbrook colt.
“Bjorn thinks he will get further but we just take it one step at a time,” Bruce said.
Last preparation The Reverend Denon ran sixth in the Group Two Pago Pago behind Souchez.
The colt was having his fifth start and his second this preparation.
The second leg of Baker’s double came with To Be Sure (Jason Collett) and while Bruce described her as a lovely mare Collett wasn’t quite so sure.
“She is a funny mare to ride, she is a bit odd,”Collett said.
“I didn’t get a confident feel from her when we turned for home.
“She certainly has a bit more to do.”
To Be Sure went into the race second up after running fourth at Kembla last month.
Collett sat her in second place behind the leader Viatrix then went on to beat that horse.
James McDonald rode a masterful race to lead all the way on Perfect Season for the horse to break through at his fourth start.
“You can see why James is the best rider in the country,” Bruce said.
“Bjorn always thought the horse needed 1600 metres and he got up to his right distance today.”
The Godolphin team and John O’Shea started the day well when Submissive resumed to win The Property Market Maiden (1350m) courtesy of a good ride from Brenton Avdulla and finished with a double when the promising Cottage won the Wyong Magic Millions December 22 Benchmark 65 (1350m) to give James McDonald a double.
Avdulla settled Submissive in sixth spot early, tracked Penny Fling when she went forward then finished down the centre of the track to beat that horse.
“I was talking to John this morning and he said she was not fully wound up so I decided to ride her nice and quiet,” Avdulla said.
“We got a nice cart into the race so it all worked out well.”
It was Cottage’s first run since an impressive maiden win at Newcastle in May but she had been prepared for this return with two trials.
“She is a lovely mare and will go to Rosehill in a couple of weeks for a fillies and mares race,” Bruce said.
McDonald settled Cottage off the fast pace set by the tear away leader Grande Castagno but she quickly moved up out wide from the top of the straight to win easily.
Joe Pride may look to step Lothario up in distance, possibly to 2000 metres, after the horse missed the start then was forced to race wide before winning the www.tab.com.au Benchmark 60 (1600m).
Apprentice Blaike McDougall branded it an ugly ride but said he no option after the horse missed the kick from a wide barrier.
“The plan was to go forward and be just behind the pace but when he was slowly away I had to come up with another plan,” McDougall said.
“However I knew I was on the best horse.
“I think there is a lot of upside to him after that win.”
That was Lothario’s fourth run back from a break after two unplaced runs and a last start third at Goulburn.
“I put him over the jumps to sharpen him up and it certainly worked,” Pride said.
“We may look for something a little further now, maybe even 2000 metres.”
Kris Lees sent one horse to Wyong for one winner with Beretta (Kerrin McEvoy) leading all the way to win the Toukley Golf Club Benchmark 73 (1600m).
The five year old appreciated being back on a good track after running third at Warwick Farm on a heavy 10 at his previous start.
“He has won on a heavy track before but he does best when he is on top of the ground,” foreman, Phil Burns, said.
“Kris made sure he had taken no harm from that last run and he is probably racing in the best form of his career.
“He was a big, slabby, weak horse when he first came to us then he had a few viruses but he has furnished into a really nice horse now and is probably 40kgs heavier.”
Beretta beat the favourite More To Gain (Peter Wells) which missed the start and was back last to the turn before flying home.