Nahema will commence her first full racing campaign with trainer Tim Donnelly and he is hopeful of a forward showing from the mare in the Estella Rise Cup (1200m) at Wagga on Saturday.
The five-year-old joined Donnelly late in her preparation towards the end of last year winning consecutive races over 1600 metres at Echuca and Seymour.
Back after a spell and first-up following a full preparation with Donnelly, Nahema is the query runner in the feature race at the popular Kurrajong Waratah race meeting which traditionally attracts one of the largest crowds outside of Wagga Cup day.
Donnelly feels Nahema should be unbeaten for him in three starts after finishing second at Goulburn at her latest start.
“She likes to be front and bowling along over 1600 metres. Whether she can do that over 1200 metres remains to be seen,” he said. “I started training her mid-preparation and all of her runs were good over a mile. She has had five runs over 1200 metres for a placing so it will be interesting to see how she goes.”
Jockey Rebeka Prest will be back aboard Nahema having ridden her twice for as many wins.
While there may be some doubts over Nahema first-up over 1200 metres, there isn’t any questioning the credentials of Blue Valour. The five-year-old’s form line tells the story of his current campaign that reads three wins, a second, two fourths and a fifth from seven starts.
Blue Valour is prepared by former premiership-winning jockey Allan Fitzgerald who remains upbeat about the gelding’s prospects after an impressive last start victory at Wangaratta.
“He jumped from barrier eleven, was running second outside of the leader and was just too strong,” he said. “He is better going into this race than he was then.”
Fitzgerald rates Blue Valour “well above average” and believes he can add to his Wagga record with leading apprentice Patrick Scorse aboard: “Pat has won a couple on him at Wagga and he gets into the race well with 54 kilograms,” he enthused.
Blue Valour is raced by Fitzgerald’s son, John, along with Bill McGrath who have seen the horse already produce three wins this campaign with bigger weights of between 57 and 59 kilograms.
Meanwhile, Donnelly is also keen to see debutante Jodhpur perform in the Maiden (1200m). The two-year-old is giving away age and experience and has only had the one trial.
“I thought the distance might be a bit too short for him. He missed the start a bit in his trial, but he is going to make a nice three-year-old over a bit of distance,” he suggested.
Jodhpur is raced by Sandy Tait and Jill Nivison who have owned numerous champion racehorses including Tie The Knot.