Ask Nikki Blatch if she is excited about having a runner in the Wellington Cup at Trentham tomorrow, and the Tapanui trainer has a refreshingly honest answer.
“Excited? I get bloody nervous.”
Luckily for Blatch and training partner-husband Barrie, they have done pretty much all they can do ahead of the $200,000 group 2 staying test.
The rest is up to Sureas-youwereborn and her jockey, Robert Hannam. The pair combined for an excellent fourth behind Nashville in the Trentham Stakes last weekend. Blatch said the 2100m journey topped off the Lucky Unicorn mare nicely.
“We were stoked with the run,” she said. “Although it was earlier on in the day, they were coming [best]down the outside and she was on the inside. She was probably in the worst part of the track, but she was under half a length of the winner and she was finishing well, so we were really happy.”
Sureasyouwereborn has been in Wellington since last week, and the mare is enjoying her surroundings at Trentham. “She’s settled in really well. “As long as her mate is with her, she’s pretty happy. She’s a bit clingy to her mate but apart from that, she’s as good as gold.”
Sureasyouwereborn will leave the gates from barrier 11, with plenty of time to find a spot before the field leaves the home straight for the first time.
“She’s got a bit of gate speed so she should be able to jump out then just hopefully have plenty of time to pick her spot,” she said. “Just hopefully something goes forward and puts a bit of pace in to the race and makes it a genuine staying race.”
And if it turns in to a staying race, Sureasyouwereborn’s fourth in the New Zealand Cup proved she can handle the extreme flat racing distance of 3200m. “If she goes anything like she did at Riccarton, it should prove not to be a problem,” Blatch said.
“She should definitely see it out – I don’t have any concerns about that. But it’s a nice field and some of those lightweights are a bit of an unknown and you just never know, but we’re more than happy with her. It would be nice to be down on the 53kg, but that’s not the way it goes.”
New Zealand Cup winner Jimmy Mac is a deserved favourite after his impressive Marton Cup win a fortnight ago, while rising staying star Pentathlon was second-favourite at $5 yesterday.
Sureasyouwereborn was a $23 win hope. Libetto has taken no harm from her incident at the barriers last week when she was a late scratching after getting her front legs over them.
She was brought north as a travelling companion for Sureasyouwereborn, so Blatch said there was “really no pressure on her” in the rating 65 1600m.
The Wingatui-trained Wild Bill, who has been troubled with a hoof problem since going north earlier this month, has been scratched from the Wellington Cup.