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Debut 'Trial' Win Ideal Stepping Stone To Wagga For Olive's Diva

By Ray Hickson

Trainer Nick Olive is treating unbeaten filly Nephradiva’s debut win as essentially a barrier trial for her assignment on Day 1 of the Wagga carnival on Thursday.

Trainer Nick Olive (Pic: Bradley Photos)

It can be tricky to assess a horse jumping from a 900m outing at their first start into an event such as the Audi Centre Handicap over 1200m but Olive sees it as little concern for the promising youngster.

Nephradiva was sent out as a $1.75 favourite at Albury on April 26 and coasted to a four length win with Olive thinking if she performed as expected Thursday’s race was the logical step so it was more or less a trial.

“She had one jump out going into that and she wasn’t knocked around in it,’’ he said.

“We put her in the paddock for a few days after and she’s put some good weight back on and seems in good nick.

“She doesn’t have to lead but I do believe 1200m will suit her better. She can bound and be there and just run along at a nice tempo, and probably quicken off it.

“And the rail is always an advantage for the young ones.”

The corresponding race last year has proven to be a nursery for some handy three-year-olds in this current season – Group 1 Randwick Guineas winner Lion’s Roar made his debut in the race and downed Country Championships Final runner-up Another One, who was also on debut.

Third in the race was Mr Moppett who has won three races since then plus been placed twice in metropolitan races.

The Canberra trainer would be happy with any of those outcomes for the filly, who was $1.90 favourite on Tuesday, in 2021-22 and while he expects her to be hard to beat at her second start he’s not getting ahead of himself.

“With horses that win well first-up you always hold your breath about what they are going to do next start,’’ he said.

“She has a bit more weight but you’re always looking to see your horse take the next step up.”

Olive purchased Nephradiva for $40,000 at the Classic Yearling Sale because after laying eyes on her he just couldn’t leave the sale without her.

He retained a share in her ownership and has been patient since her only previous public appearance in a Canberra trial back in November.

“I loved the way she moved when I bought her, she was very athletic,’’ he said.

“I liked what I saw and was pretty keen to get her, and I was pretty happy with what we paid for her.

“There’s not much of her but she’s definitely got a motor. I put her out after the trial, she was pretty immature and I wanted to let her mature more.

“She’s not a very big horse but she definitely knows what it’s about now.”

Nephradiva wins at Albury on April 26

Honest staying mare Maid Of Ore lines up in Friday’s $200,000 Harvey Norman Wagga Gold Cup (2000m) and Olive said she won’t be out of place in the carival’s feature.

The six-year-old, runner-up in last year’s Albury Cup, broke an 18 month run of outs two starts ago and was beaten 1.7 lengths by Mr Dependable at Randwick on Anzac Day.

“I’ve been really happy with how she’s been going,’’ Olive said.

“It’s a big step up in class but she won the Gundagai Cup two starts back and she ran a nice race in Sydney on Anzac Day.

“I feel she’s primed to run a really nice race.”

All the fields, form and replays for Thursday's Wagga meeting

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