By Ray Hickson
Trainer Wendy Roche would love a wet track for talented mare Nettoyer at Rosehill on Saturday but since that’s not going to happen she’s looking to other positives for a breakthrough win.
The four-year-old has only one win from nine starts to date and that was by 10 lengths on a heavy track at Randwick back in June.
Roche said the Listed $150,000 Lord Mayors Cup (2000m) is an ideal race for Nettoyer on paper and is rapt jockey Brenton Avdulla is sticking with her following their closing second in the Group 3 JRA Plate two weeks ago.
“Brenton rode her a treat the other day,’’ Roche said.
“He’s ridden her over a distance that is suitable to her and that extra ride, and the fact he’s sticking with her, has to be taken into consideration.
“And it’s part of the reason I stayed in Sydney to have someone that knows how to ride her.’’
Neyttoyer runs a close second to Tally at Randwick on April 21
Nettoyer, who opened $2.50 favourite with TAB on Wednesday, is a classic backmarker and Roche says that’s just the way she is. And she faces an interesting challenge - she'll receive 7kg from 2016 winner Ecuador, on the back-up from last week's Hawkesbury Cup, but will concede him a start.
Roche believes there’s more chance the Lord Mayors Cup will provide an opportunity to make ground than around the tighter Gold Coast as she had considered running the mare in the Hollindale Stakes.
“This race turned out to be on paper a lot easier, though every race isn’t as easy as it looks,’’ she said.
“I lived in Murwillumbah and the Gold Coast can be a leader’s track and she gets back. You can be more aggressive out of the gates but she still settles where it suits her.
“I was hoping for a wetter track but I don’t think we are going to get it. I guess I convinced myself and (part-owner) John (Crowley) that Sydney was the better option on a bigger track.
“If she acquits herself well and happens to win, like I think she deserves, we’ll go to Brisbane then.’’
While Nettoyer has that penchant for wet ground, Punters Intel data regularly highlights her ability to reel off smart sectionals and she did it again in the JRA Plate.
She ran the second fastest 600m-400m (11.14) and clearly produced the best last 200m running 11.15 for a final 600m of 33.18, again the race best.
Roche said although the mare has had six runs since that injury enforced break, from a fractured pelvis, there’s plenty of upside to come.
“She’s always been tall and gangly and she’s put on 50kg since she won. She was 477kg and she weighs 523kg now,’’ she said.
“She maintains her weight whether you back her up or give her time between runs. I’d love to say she’s easy to train but she’s not, she’s very difficult and cantankerous.
“She’s still learning, she’s improved since her last start and I think she will improve for her next three or four starts.’’