By Mark Brassel
Newcastle trainer Steve Hodge believes his grey mare Fancy Nickers can pull the pants down of her opponents at Taree on Thursday.
Fancy Nickers will be primed for the $30,000 Saxbys Soft Drinks Showcase Handicap (1250m) at only her second run for the trainer: “She’s going great – she’s eating well, working well and looking well,” Hodge remarked.
Fancy Nickers was previously with Scone mentor Greg Bennett but came to Hodge’s stable after Bennett took up a position with Aquis Farm. At her first appearance with Hodge, Fancy Nickers motored home from near last for third (beaten 1.75 lengths) to Cannizzaro at Taree over 1000 metres.
“We thought the 1000 metres may be a bit too short for her and that’s how it turned out,” Hodge said. “But the way she attacked the line was very encouraging.
“That was her first run since February but she had been in work for nearly three months. This country showcase race was always going to be her goal as its worth $30,000.
“Her first-up and second-up record is fabulous so she obviously likes to be kept on the fresh side. If she gets the luck in running she should prove hard to beat.”
Fancy Nickers has had six runs first and second-up with the grey recording three wins and three placings: “She’s actually a lovely mare to have around. She’s quiet and sensible; you would not find a nicer horse.”
Hodge said Serg Lisnyy, who rode the four-year-old when resuming, will again partner Fancy Nickers on Thursday.
The Racing NSW Country Showcase meeting boasts minimum prizemoney of $30,000 per race with one of the features the $40,000 New Members Welcome Country Maiden Showcase Plate (1000m).
Port Macquarie trainer Jenny Graham two interesting runners entered for the race, Awesome Pluck and Victorem. Awesome Pluck is unraced but was impressive finishing a close second to Dubai Sights – a three-time winner – in a Taree barrier trial (1000m) when under a throttle hold.
Victorem has raced on one occasion and turned in an excellent effort when fourth to Guissola at Casino (1000m), beaten only three lengths after bucking at the start and losing around 10 lengths. The gelding has since trialled, finishing third in the same Taree heat behind Dubai Sights and stablemate Awesome Pluck.
Dubai Sights is marked down to start in the De Bortoli Wines Class 3 Showcase Handicap (1000m) for local trainer Matthew Robinson. The three-year-old has not started since March but has won races at Taree (twice) and Port Macquarie.
Robinson will also be represented by Sprite Zah and Mosgiel Lucy who will oppose Fancy Nickers in the Saxbys Soft Drinks Showcase Handicap, while Demoralising will contest the Manning River Times Showcase Class 3 Handicap (1400m).