Love affair continues.
October 18, Nistaan
Trainer Tony McEvoy’s love affair with the new Murray Bridge racetrack at Gifford Hill continued when Nistaan won the first hometown cup run at the circuit.
Nistaan, a $7.50 chance, ridden by Jason Holder, drew clear to score a 2-1/4 length win in the Listed Carlton Draught Murray Bridge Gold Cup (1600m) beating Borris In Ossory ($20) with Hussbay ($13), a half-length away third.
McEvoy trained the first winner at the new Gifford Hill track on July 24 this year and went on to prepare six winners at the meeting.
Now training in partnership with his son Calvin, McEvoy is a strong supporter of the track.
Nistaan was perfectly handled by Jason Holder settling fourth early before coming with a well-timed run in the home straight.
The winner tended to hang in over the final stages, but Holder kept him under control while maintaining a strong sprint to the line.
The jockey previously teamed with the McEvoy stable to win the 2014 Balaklava Cup on Longshoreman.
Co-trainer Calvin McEvoy said it had been great to see Nistaan win the Cup.
“He had a long time off and actually ran at the first meeting here,” McEvoy said.
“He ran out of puff at the finish and came home second.
“He was a victim of circumstances at his last run in a slowly run race.
“They just got away from him and nothing could make ground.
“It was terrible today, I had my heart in my mouth.
“He was travelling up so well but Jason (Holder) couldn’t actually ask him to come off the bridle because he was hanging in too bad.
“We made a gear change of a one-eye blinker on, I wasn’t convinced it made much difference, but I am now.
“Luckily he got in on the minimum today and beat them on class.”
McEvoy said he would have a talk with his father Tony to plot a future program for Nistaan.
Jockey Jason Holder was delighted to win another feature race for the McEvoy Mitchell team.
“It was nice to win the first cup at the new track, and it was also my first winner since Calvin became co-trainer,” Holder said.
“He (Nistaan) was a real handful late.
“I thought I had the horse on the inside beat over the final stages but had to be careful not to be careless.
“I thought he did enough on the line.
“He travelled into the race beautifully and was strong on the line.
“His last 200 metres was good considering he was hanging in.”