Apprentice Leah Kilner will be out to maintain her perfect winning record aboard Murwillumbah galloper Chloride when he steps up in class but drops dramatically in the weights at Ballina on Monday.
Kilner is unbeaten after four rides on Chloride, most recently when the seven-year-old put up a tremendous performance first-up at Grafton on October 30.
Having his first start for Murwillumbah trainer Paul Nipperess, Chloride was a betting-ring drifter ($12 to $19) but bravely shouldered 62.5kg to victory in a Benchmark 58 Hcp over 1200m.
Previously trained by Liam Munro, Chloride has now won 10 of his 40 starts and this year has discovered the best form of his career, winning four of his past six starts.
After Kilner takes her 1.5kg claim on Monday, Chloride will drop a whopping 9.5kg and carry only 53kg in the Northern Star Open Hcp (1255m).
“He’s certainly earned a crack at this Open Handicap on Monday and I think he should race well again with the benefit of that huge weight drop,” said Nipperess.
“Leah rides him very well and is four from four on him. Hopefully she can extend that record on Monday.”
Chloride has only been with Nipperess a few months, but he wasn’t surprised he was able to win first-up with the 62.5kg.
Chloride's first-up win at Grafton on October 30
“I’ve only had him about 10 weeks, but I set him to win first-up and had him ready to roll. It was obviously a fantastic effort with the 62.5kg,” said Nipperess.
“And looking back over his form, that’s the best time he’s ever run over 1200m, so I think he’s obviously come back in great shape.
“Leah had to take a sit on him the other day at Grafton when one of the favourites (Princess Elle) cut him off early, but I expect him to lead in Monday’s race.”
During Chloride’s previous preparation for Liam Munro earlier this year, Kilner rode the gelding to three consecutive all-the-way wins at Lismore (first-up over 1300m on March 17) and at Grafton (over 1410m on April 20 and again over 1610m on May 20).
Kilner made way for senior riders at his next two starts when he stepped up in distance for a fourth in a Benchmark 70 over 1900m at Canterbury on June 6 and 11th in a Benchmark 70 over 2240m at Doomben on June 27.
Nipperess has another trip to Brisbane in mind in the coming weeks, but over a shorter trip this time.
“He’s won up to the mile (1600m) but his record is better over the shorter trips,” he said.
“I’m considering taking him to Doomben for a Saturday meeting in about two weeks (December 8). There are two 1350m options – a Benchmark 70 and No More Than One Metro Win race.
“I’ll see how he goes on Ballina on Monday and decide from there.”
Chloride’s main rivals on Monday include Brisbane sprinter Kievann, who carries the 60kg topweight, Gold Coast galloper Powerful Saga, Coffs Harbour mare Florelle and the locally-trained sprinter Siroccan Lad.
Kievann, trained at Eagle Farm by Laura Herne, will certainly be suited if the track remains in the soft range (currently rated a soft5), and his recent form suggests he’ll be hard to beat.
He carried 61.5kg to victory two starts back on September 28 in a Benchmark 75 at the Sunshine Coast. Five runs back, he finished second in the $100,000 Cleveland Bay Hcp in Townsville on July 28.
Nipperess will also saddle up another ex-Liam Munro galloper in Call The Captain who tackles Monday’s Slipway Hotel Benchmark 66 Hcp (1405m) from an outside barrier draw (17).
Call The Captain is having his second start for Nipperess after resuming for an eighth to track specialist They Call Me Rose at Grafton on October 30.
“I was happy enough with his first-up run – he was only beaten about four lengths by that mare of Trevor Whittington’s (They Call Me Rose) who loves it at Grafton – but he wants a bit further and whatever he does on Monday he will improve on,” he said.
Nipperess has been based at Murwillumbah for about 15 months after taking over the Ballina stable of his late father Kevin, the leading Northern Rivers trainer who passed away in 2015.
“Unfortunately I couldn’t get any trackwork riders at Ballina, so I moved here about 15 months ago,” he said.