Trainer Jenny Graham is on the lookout for her next contender for the Kosciuszko, the world’s richest race for country-trained horses.
She believes three-year-old Nicci Trix has the potential to earn her way into the $1.3 million country feature. But whether that happens this year or next, depends on how the lightly-raced filly progresses.
Graham will get her first indication of that progress in the Class 3 Handicap over 1000m at Taree this afternoon (May 11).
The Port Macquarie trainer won the 2018 Country Championships with her stable star Victorem, who was runner-up in the Kosciuszko 18 months later.
Graham told Hatch that Nicci Trix still needs to make progress to reach Victorem’s heights, but is already showing plenty of potential.
“You always have to think positive, you know, and I think she’s the type of horse that, going forward, if she keeps stepping up, she will [make the grade],” Graham said.
A winner of two of her five starts, Nicci Trix will be looking to make amends today for her first up defeat, which saw her sent around a short-priced favourite before going down by just over two lengths over 1000 metres at Port Macquarie on April 16th.
“She’s going really good, she’s a nice filly going forward,” Graham said. “She’s come through it really well, she’s good. I was happy with her work, she’s pulled up good, she’ll be thereabouts.”
The trainer added, looking ahead to the Taree race: “Tough race though, tough race. I suppose they have to step up, don’t they?”
Graham (R) with her daughter Mel. (Photo: Supplied)
Among Nicci Trix’s opposition today will be favourite Patino Ruby, a lightly raced filly trained by Brett Cavanough, who is a winner of two of her first three career starts.
After Nicci Trix broke her maiden over 1200 metres by a widening four lengths on her home track at Port Macquarie last preparation, Graham is confident her filly will cope with the month between runs, second up from a spell.
“I don’t think it’ll worry her, I think she’ll be fine. She pulled up a bit stressed on the last run, but I think she might have been a bit underdone on me,’’ she said.
“I went a bit easy on her between that and the trial.”
Tasked with a wide draw at Taree, Graham is confident that her filly is more adaptable this campaign.
“I’ve been working her off a horse a bit to try and get her to know that part as well, because you need them to be adaptable,” she explained.
“I don’t want them being one-dimensional; they need to know how to come back underneath and be forward if you land there.”
Ashley Morgan, a former Welsh jockey based in Australia as of two years ago, will retain the ride today after riding the filly in her past two starts.
“Ash will ride; he has ridden her before, he wanted to ride her, so I didn’t want to take him off,” Graham said.
Ahead of today’s race, Nicci Trix posted a $2.80 second elect behind Patino Ruby.