By Ray Hickson
Form around Villiers favourite Sky Boy has trainer Jason Coyle confident it’s Nicochet’s turn to stand in the winner’s stall at Canterbury on Friday night.
The consistent gelding ran Sky Boy to a neck when they met at Rosehill a month ago then had excuses for his failure when they met again on November 24.
Coyle warned against using that last run as any pointer to his chances in the Phil Gilbert Kia Evening Star (1550m).
“You can put a line through his last run, he got left three deep with no cover over 1800m,’’ he said.
“The way the race was run he had no chance, the backmarkers in that race failed to make an impression on Sky Boy who goes into a Villiers as a leading chance.
“He was just working the whole way, it was a forgive run given his consistent form before that.
Nicochet runs Sky Boy to a narrow margin at Rosehill on November 10
“A little bit of luck around Canterbury and he looks a genuine chance.’’
Nicochet’s last win came at Kembla Grange back in April and Coyle said the three week break and drop to his preferred distance range are big pluses.
The five-year-old is third favourite with TAB at $5.50.
“His best form has been around a mile and it’s been three weeks since his run,’’ Coyle said.
“We didn’t do a lot after that last run because it probably took a bit out of him. He’d come off what was a peak performance over 2000m for the first time so we backed off as best we can and freshened for the mile.’’
Coyle said he’ll decide before scratching time whether River Bird is given her chance to post an overdue win in the Member Get Member Handicap (1200m) or he waits until next week’s Kensington meeting.
The filly, narrowly beaten at her last two starts at Canterbury, has 59.5kg on Friday and is $4 equal favourite but Coyle said there’s a set weights fillies maiden next week that is very tempting.
That decision aside, he said River Bird will post that elusive win soon.
“She’s not far from breaking through and I’m sure she’ll progress to a nice level of racing when she does,’’ he said.
“It’s not so much where she lands in transit it’s having that bit of luck inside the 600m. Her last couple of starts she was on the back of a horse that didn’t take us as far as we’d like.’’