By Ray Hickson
Trainer Cameron Crockett is well aware rival jockeys may try to bring his talented sprinter Nictock undone at Canterbury on Wednesday.
But he’s fired out a warning to those keen to test out the four-year-old’s fighting qualities in the Tab.com.au Handicap (1100m).
“If he gets a soft lead he’s going to be hard to run down so I have that feeling they’ll boot up inside us,’’ Crockett said.
“He’s probably got a bit of a target on his back now.
“If they do it they will bring themselves undone more than my bloke. If something does make a bit of pace then Chris Waller’s horse (In Times Of War) is going to get the last shot at everybody.’’
TAB Fixed Odds is finding it hard to split Nictock and In Times Of War (both $2.50) and Crockett has a healthy respect for the mare.
While there’s a string of ‘1s’ next to Nictock’s name, In Times Of War has the same amount of ‘2s’ albeit more recently in Saturday company.
“I rate that horse, I watched her win her maiden against a horse called Zonk who I broke in,’’ he said.
“But if we can get across she’ll have to be pretty good to mow him down.
Nictock makes it six from seven at Warwick Farm - August 23
“He was a touch slow away at Warwick Farm last time but if he gets away like he did at Canterbury last time I don’t think there’s anything that can hold him out.’’
Nictock made it six wins from seven starts – his only defeat coming in a Highway on a heavy 10 – with a gutsy win at Warwick Farm under 61kg on August 23.
The Punter’s Intel data from that race showed after burning early on Nictock was still able to produce 11.28 and 11.15 in the middle stages to gain a break then run 11.66, second best of the race, for the last 200m.
Crockett revealed the gelding went into that race underdone having spent 10 days in the paddock following his Canterbury win a month earlier.
“He’d only had two or three gallops so there was improvement there. This time he stayed in the stable and has done a little more work,’’ Crockett said.
“With the benefit he took from that run he’ll be able to handle the extra pressure.’’
How Nictock performs under the pressure Crockett expects at Canterbury will help shape his future runs though he’s adamant in six months time he’ll have a much more mature horse.
He’s been trying to teach Nictock to settle a little better without affecting a racing pattern that jockey Hugh Bowman regards as his greatest asset.
“I would never want to take his brilliance away because that’s what makes him a winner,’’ Crockett said.
‘’Hugh said don’t be scared to take on the better horses because the way he races is how a lot of races are won.
“We looked at the Concorde the other day with the four runners then I thought he’d try so hard to win you might knock the wind out of his sails. I don’t want to throw him in the deep end too quickly.’’
Crockett said a race like the Ortensia Stakes (1100m) during the Scone two-day carnival in May could be an ideal race for Nictock to tackle stakes company down the track.