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One of the progressive youngsters from the small team of Steve Tregea-trained horses out of Toowoomba stole the show in the last on Kingsford-Smith Cup Day with Niccanova onto the 2017 Queensland Guineas after winning the Fred Best Classic.
A well-bred son of Nicconi, the up-and-coming gelding only made the line-up in the $150,000 Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1400m) at Eagle Farm as the third emergency after a host of early scratchings from the race.
Tregea had debated scratching the horse all week, but eventually decided to roll the dice and was thrilled to see the youngster take his impressive record up to four wins from five career starts.
“There was just a query with the track…I kept telling myself that the [wide] barrier shouldn’t matter on a Heavy track,” Tregea said post-win.
“In the end, I thought it was worth rolling the dice.”
A winner over the Doomben mile back in late February, Niccanova was last seen taking out a 1200m sprint at the Gold Coast by over two lengths as the odds-on favourite a fortnight ago.
The Fred Best Classic was a notable class rise for the horse that has already attracted some big offers from Hong Kong connections.
“We decided not to sell him and as far as I’m concerned, he stays,” Tregea added.
Niccanova handled the Group 3 company of better tried three-year-olds as well as the Heavy-rated Eagle Farm track without issue, jockey James Orman coming aboard for the first time since riding Niccanova for his debut win at the Sunshine Coast in January.
“He’s a nice horse,” Orman said.
“I won his maiden on him and they thought he was going to be alright then and they weren’t wrong.
“He’s got a heart, he tries and that’s what you want.
“He just keeps coming.”
The field was led around by Critical Thinking with the likes of Calanda, Sylpheed and Tessera also up on the pace throughout.
Coming around the bed, Tessera got up into second on the outside and the Toby Edmonds-trained Real Saga filly from the Gold Coast Sylpheed moved to third.
On the back of a second to Good Standing in the Listed Queensland Day Stakes (1350m) at Doomben, Sylpheed hit the front on the straight as the challenges came.
Running on from the back hard down the outside was Niccanova who turned it into a two horse battle to the line, moving into the lead just 50m out and holding off the brave filly to win.
In third rounding out the trifecta was David Pfieffer’s So you Think colt I Thought So, improving on his eye-catching fifth to Savanna Amour earlier in the month in the Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas (1200m).
Tregea confirmed plans to return to Eagle Farm on Stradbroke Handicap Day, June 10, with Niccanova to step back up in distance for a shot at the $350,000 Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1600m).
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2017 Fred Best Classic Results & Finishing Order
Eagle Farm Race 8 – 27/05/2017
|1||21e||NICCANOVA||Steve Tregea||James Orman||–||16||57kg||$12|
|2||16||SYLPHEED||Toby Edmonds||Jeff Lloyd||0.2L||15||55kg||$9.50|
|3||13||I THOUGHT SO||David Pfieffer||Corey Brown||1L||3||57kg||$19|
|4||14||RIVER RACER||Les Ross||Robbie Fradd||1.5L||10||55kg||$13|
|5||9||OINK||Kelly Schweida||Paul Hammersley||3.3L||14||57kg||$26|
|6||2||MORTON’S FORK||Darren Beadman||Brenton Avdulla||4.6L||12||57kg||$16|
|7||20e||VOLPINO||Les Kelly||Blake Shinn||5.1L||5||57kg||$91|
|8||12||BILLY THE KID||John Meagher||Luke Dittman||5.1L||1||57kg||$13|
|9||7||CALANDA||Peter & Paul Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||5.6L||2||57kg||$12|
|10||18||ASTARA (NZ)||Peter & Paul Snowden||Dwayne Dunn||6.9L||7||55kg||$31|
|11||5||DREAMS APLENTY||John Zielke||Ms Tiffani Brooker (a)||7.3L||6||57kg||$6|
|12||10||CRACK ME UP (NZ)||Liam Birchley||Jim Byrne||11.2L||8||57kg||$26|
|13||19e||BELLA GIOIA (NZ)||Shaune Ritchie||Leith Innes||12.5L||9||55kg||$41|
|14||23e||CRITICAL THINKING||Brent Stanley||Noel Callow||17L||11||57kg||$81|
|15||8||TESSERA||Darren Beadman||James Doyle||20.3L||4||57kg||$5.50F|
|16||4||FRANCE||Peter & Paul Snowden||Hugh Bowman||20.7L||17||57kg||$9.50|
|17||22e||SOCIAL CONQUEST||Chris Munce||Ronnie Stewart||95.7L||13||57kg||$101|
|–||1||GOOD STANDING||James Cummings||Damian Browne||–||0||–||–|
|–||3||HEROIC VALOUR||Stephen Autridge & Jamie Richards||Opie Bosson||–||0||–||–|
|–||17||SIREN’S FURY||Jason Coyle||–||–||0||–||–|
|–||11||SALSONIC||Jason Coyle||Mark Zahra||–||0||–||–|
|–||6||HALL OF FAME (NZ)||Stephen Autridge & Jamie Richards||Damian Lane||–||0||–||–|
|–||15||MISS DEBUTANTE||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Tommy Berry||–||0||–||–|
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