Apprentice jockey Carly Frater-Hill is hopeful the race fitness of Nicof ($5 on TAB fixed odds) can give her the edge in the MTC Mad Scramble (1050m) at Wagga today.
Frater-Hill, who has battled some serious injuries which have put her out of racing for extended periods, is looking to build on her career record after riding her 80th winner at Canberra 10 days ago. Reaching her personal milestone means Frater-Hill has no claim in the country, but she still has time on her side with her apprenticeship still to be completed.
She has a strong understanding of Nicof who is right at his peak following a few starts back from a spell. Proven gallopers Wonderbolt ($4.40) and Miss Liffy ($3.80) are both first-up from racing breaks and Frater-Hill hopes this can work in Nicof’s favour.
“He is going into this race nice and fresh after his last run at Gundagai which was very good behind Fox Tales,” she said. “He chased hard all of the way and I was really happy with his run – he hit the line very well.”
Also coming out of the same Gundagai race behind the winner Fox Tales are Kanerupt (second - $3.50 favourite) and Levee Bank (fourth - $5) with Nicof splitting the pair. Levee Bank gave away a start to his rivals and closed strongly while the same can be said of Kanerupt and Nicof. Luck in running will be the key to the outcome and Frater-Hill isn’t discounting any of her rivals, especially Miss Liffy.
“Nicof has race fitness, but Miss Liffy is pretty good. Nicof normally settles just off the speed so it will be a matter of seeing where he ends up and if he can get the leaders,” she said.
Miss Liffy has won six of her 17 starts and has two wins from four first-up attempts. However, she hasn’t won in her past eight starts.
Jockey Richard Bensley has been aboard Miss Liffy in all but one of her starts and from barrier two will be able to try and find the lead although Gentleman Charlie ($13), barrier one, could also try and hold the inside advantage.
Frater-Hill has four rides at Wagga and is looking forward to riding Orrstar ($5) who is also trained by her master Neil Osborne. Orrstar closed off strongly at the Canterbury night meeting to finish third and is one of the main chances in the final race. “He ran a huge race in Sydney last start so he has to be a strong chance,” she said.
The one race every apprentice is trying to win is the heat of the Rising Stars where Frater-Hill will ride the topweight Rockin’ Red Rocket ($5.50). The galloper hasn’t been far away in two starts since winning.
Bondo ($11) is racing in peak form while Itsa Fait Accompli ($4.40 fav) will be fitter after a last start first-up sixth behind Attainment at Gundagai. Frater-Hill can’t wait to contest the series.
“This is my first ride in this series of the Rising Stars which is only for the apprentice riders and Rockin’ Red Rocket looks a good chance,” she said.