Victory Stakes: Niccanova makes a winning return to earn another crack at the Stradbroke Handicap
It was a case of so close but yet so far for Niccanova in the Stradbroke Handicap last year but jockey James Orman believes Saturday’s Victory Stakes winner can now give him the Group 1 he has been craving.
Orman wasted hard to ride the Steve Tregea-trained galloper in last year’s Stradbroke and it almost paid dividends when finishing an unlucky third behind Tyzone.
Niccanova finished less than half a length off the winner and Orman felt he should have won.
Niccanova ($12) wasn’t among the fancies when resuming in the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) on Saturday but Orman zoomed up along the inside to pinch the $250,000 race.
Favourite Trekking ($2.05) looked like he was cantering halfway up the straight but failed to finish with gusto and wound up in fifth.
Vega One, fourth in last year’s Stradbroke, ran well to finish runner-up after a wide trip in transit but there was no taking away from the win of Niccanova.
A win for the locals! Niccanova causes an upset in the G2 Victory Stakes for trainer Steve Tregea and jockey Jimmy Orman @BrisRacingClubpic.twitter.com/u08me9kE69
Orman knows it will be a stronger Stradbroke Handicap this year – given last year’s winter carnival was all but wiped out and many top interstate horses didn’t travel due to the COVID pandemic – but thinks he is a live chance in Queensland’s most prestigious race.
“Hopefully we can finally win a Group 1 this year,” Orman said.
“He’s come back better this time I think.
“He’s going to need a lot of luck to win a Group 1 Stradbroke but if he can get that luck he’s going to be very hard to beat.”
Tregea will now most likely deploy Niccanova in the Group 1 Kingsford-Smith Cup in a month, before zooming into the Stradbroke a fortnight later.
“We will definitely get into the Stradbroke now, if he didn’t run well or up to what we hoped I was worried his rating might go down and he might not get in,” Tregea said.
It was a dramatic day at times at Eagle Farm on Saturday, with a massive downpour striking just before the running of the 3YO Quality Handicap (race four) won by Georgie’s Pride.
It was almost impossible for viewers to make out the horses in the race on the Sky Racing broadcast, although Des Forster’s frontrunning winner could be spotted.
A soaked Georgie’s Pride and jockey Jim Byrne at Eagle Farm. Picture: Picture: Grant Peters/Trackside PhotographySource:Supplied
Visibility during race four was a nightmare for many jockeys, with gun NSW hoop Brenton Avdulla complaining: “I couldn’t see a thing during the race” after finishing fifth on Starosa.
Regular Brisbane racegoers and course officials said it was one of the heaviest downpours seen on a raceday in the Sunshine State capital.
Chief steward Peter Chadwick called jockeys into the stewards’ room and told them had the rain struck any earlier before race four he would not have allowed them out to ride.
The Eagle Farm track has often been much maligned for being too hard, but it proved itself a wet weather specialist on Saturday as if the races had been across the road at Doomben they may have been called off.
There was something for everyone at Eagle Farm on Saturday – including the once in a blue moon occurrence of a triple dead heat (for second) in the Class Six Handicap behind Slow Hands.
TAB MARKET REPORT
RACE 7: QUEENSLAND GUINEAS
Private Eye was a very popular result with TAB customers in the Queensland Guineas (1600 metres). The Joe Pride runner was easily the most popular runner in terms of money held, going around with nearly three times the amount of money than the eventual favourite, Apache Chase ($2.30).
Private Eye ($2.40) had been favourite at one stage of the day but a late rally for Apache Chase saw it head the market. The pair were responsible for 71 per cent of the total investment.
BETS: Private Eye $3,000 @ $2.40 TWICE, $2,500 @ $2.40, $2,250 @ $2.40, $2,000 @ $2.40, $2,500 @ $2.30
RACE 8: VICTORY STAKES
Late money for Niccanova was spot on in the TAB Victory Stakes (1200 metres). The Steve Tregea-trained galloper firmed $15-$12 pretty late in betting and with Jimmy Orman driving through on the inside lanes, the pair scored the upset.
Favourite backers were left empty-handed after Trekking ($2.10-$1.90-$2) and Fasika ($3.60-$2.80) were unplaced. Between them they held 77 per cent of the total investment.
BETS: Niccanova $1,000 e/w @ $13/$2.60, Trekking $75,00 @ $2, $6,723 @ $2, $4,000 @ $2, $2,000 @ $1.95 MULTIPLE TIMES, Fasika $5,000 @ $2.80, $1,000 @ $2.80 MULTIPLE TIMES
Originally published asNiccanova sets course for Straddie after Victory salute
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