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NICCANOVA ON TRACK FOR STRADBROKE BID

Thu 29 April 2021

By Glenn Davis

Godolphin’s star Trekking may have the weight-for-age experience over his rivals in the Victory Stakes at Eagle Farm on Saturday, but Toowoomba trainer Steve Tregea is looking for an upset from stable star Niccanova.

Niccanova will be ridden by Jimmy Orman when he makes his return in the 1200-metre Group 2 feature, ahead of another Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap mission at Eagle Farm in June.

The seven-year-old, who ran third in last year’s Stradbroke behind Tyzone, hasn’t started since finishing second to Soxagon in The Buffering over 1400 metres at Eagle Farm on January 2.

“He’s been in work a long time to get ready for this campaign and he’s had a couple of jump outs at Toowoomba,” Tregea said.

“His first jumpout two weeks ago was just an easy gallop but he was a lot more serious when he won his second one on Tuesday.

“He’s going well but he’s still a little fat.”

Niccanova finished second at his only weight-for-age start when sixth behind eight-time Group 1 winner Verry Elleegant in the Winx Stakes at Randwick in August last year.

The Victory Stakes is normally run at weight-for-age, but it was a set weights and penalties race last year when Niccanova ran second to Victorem.

In contrast, Trekking is a veteran of 10 weight-for-age starts but has been successful only once in the Group 2 Schillachi Stakes at Caulfield in 2019.

“Niccanova hasn’t won at weight-for-age yet but his last run at weight-for-age in Sydney was very good behind Verry Elleegant,” Tregea said.

“On the downside, Trekking has the same weight but it’s better for us than having to carry more than 60kgs in a handicap.”

Tregea will give Niccanova one more start in the Group 1 Kingsford Smith at Eagle Farm on May 29 before the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap over 1400 metres at Eagle Farm on June 12.

“I’m very happy with the way he’s going for the Stradbroke,” Tregea said.

“Jimmy (Orman) thought he would have won the Stradbroke had he not struck trouble early on in the back straight."

“He had four races in Sydney last campaign and went well in two of them.

“He went down for the Epsom but he over-raced and was forced to lead when there was no speed on and finished near last.”

Trekking will be reunited with Hall Of Fame jockey Hugh Bowman, who will ride the gelding for the first time since the pair finished third in the Group 3 Red Anchor Stakes at Moonee Valley in October, 2017.

The multiple Group 1 winner tuned up for his Victory Stakes assignment with a five-length win in a 1000-metre barrier trial at Hawkesbury on April 19.

The James Cummings-trained six-year-old hasn’t raced since finishing fourth in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes in Perth in November last year.