Express on the right track
It has been a long and winding road but finally Nicconi Express appears on the right track to fulfill his potential following a breakthrough victory on the Ballarat Synthetic on Tuesday, July 19.
Starting a well backed $1.60 favourite, Nicconi Express covered ground but still proved too good for his rivals winning the Interpath:4CYTE Health Maiden (1200m).
At the finish, the four-year-old gelding had a length to clear from Wangandary ($31) with Sabaid ($21), a long neck away third.
Trainers Tony & Calvin McEvoy have always had a good opinion of Nicconi Express and he ran an odds-on favourite at Murray Bridge and Morphettville in late 2020 at his first two runs but unfortunately had to be content with seconds, the last time against Group performer Beau Rossa.
Injury sidelined the son of Nicconi until July when he resumed with a midfield finish at Sandown.
At Ballarat, Nicconi Express didn’t jump brilliantly but jockey Dean Holland kept him three wide in the running line early.
Past the 500-metre mark, Holland let him stride and the gelding quickly raced to the lead and a victory.
Trainer Calvin McEvoy was delighted to see Nicconi Express win.
“We have to thank the ownership group,” McEvoy said.
“He promised a lot early on, then fractured his pelvis. He had 18 months or so off, but we are getting there now.
“I thought his win was good today.
“I did expect him to put them away a bit easier in the final stages, but probably he’s a bit green and still learning.”
McEvoy said things had been against Nicconi Express when he resumed at Sandown.
“I said to Dean not to complicate it today, ride him like a nice horse and that is what he is.
“I’m not sure if we will go straight back to town.
“If he had really gone on with it, I would have said yes, but we will see how his fitness is, and I do think he will be better over a bit further as well.”
Winning jockey Dean Holland was very impressed with Nicconi Express.
“He showed what he can do today,” Holland said.
“I thought his run was good the other day, it was a slow run race which didn’t suit him and took his turn of foot away.
“Today, we wanted to be positive and keep him out of trouble.
“The work we have done with him in trials, just to switch off, really helped him.
“He stepped a tad slow, but he settled great behind the leaders and I put paid to them from the 600 (metres).
“He went past them like they were standing still but waited for them in the straight.
“He’s a very nice horse and he is going in the right direction.
“He has always shown quite a bit here in Ballarat, and he did put them away easy, and there was plenty more in the tank.”