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Kentucky nicks off

Lightly raced three-year-old Kentucky Nick outclassed his rivals for a debut win at Ballarat on Sunday, February 19.

Backed from $3.70 into $3 favourite, Kentucky Nick unleashed a powerful sprint to take out the Brandt Maiden (2000m) for trainers Tony & Calvin McEvoy.

Ridden by Dean Holland, the gelding settled midfield of 12 runners before looming up on the home turn, then putting his rivals away to score by 3-1/2 lengths, eased down.

Chihuly ($2.80 fav) was second, a half-length in front of Arctic Princess ($21).

Kentucky Nick began well from gate five but drifted back to midfield with others keen to be up in the lead.

Holland allowed the gelding to balance up before starting to improve past the 800m going wide, with cover.

Once in the straight, Kentucky Nick quickly gathered in the front runners and established a winning break.

Trainer Tony McEvoy said it had been a fabulous win.

“I was very proud of the horse,” McEvoy said.

“To do that fresh up shows he has the capacity.

“I was also proud of my team at home, the staff. It is hard to do that, to get a horse ready, and all the team have presented him beautifully today.

“He really impressed me for a horse on the up.

“We’ve got so much variety here (at Ballarat), he’s done a couple of laps staying work, occasionally up that big hill, you can get them on the poly here doing some circle work, a couple of laps with them, we can get the course proper and we’ve even got the old back hill track open now.

“The variety here is excellent and really gives us the chance to get these horses as could as they can be.

“I backed off him and freshened him up because I think he is a young stayer of the future and we want to try and get him to the Derby in Adelaide in May so we will weave our path towards that.”

Winning jockey Dean Holland was impressed with the sprint of Kentucky Nick.

“Madison Lloyd galloped him the other day, and I was on So Unusual, and I couldn’t split their work,” Holland said.

“Both pulled up clean winded and it gave me a lot of confidence as the other horse (So Unusual) won good over 2400 metres the other day.

“The map today panned out perfect, I was able to get one off the fence.

“I got a nice drag up from the 1000 (metres), had three wide with cover and keep the horse out of trouble.

“The leader kicked but I was never in doubt.

“When I first asked for an effort he really quickened.

“He’s a very nice stayer and a good effort by the team to have this horse fit enough first up over 2000 metres, after eight weeks off, even though there was a trial in between.”