The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
The Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained Bella Nipotina was enormous overcoming a horror run to pick herself back up and charge home the final 50m in an impressive 2023 Giga Kick Stakes upset.
Nothing looked to go right for the brilliant daughter of Pride Of Dubai who copped a check, balanced herself back up and then was hampered again just 80m from the line in Saturday’s $3 million Giga Kick Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens.
The classy chestnut looked like she was going to run fourth, but somehow she found a way with Craig Williams pulling out all the stumps to fly home up the inside and defeat the Joe Pride-trained stablemates Private Eye and Think About It.
It was all eyes on Private Eye a furlong out with the last start The Everest third place-getter looking every chance to go back-to-back in the Winners Stakes having won the event, known in 2022 as the Nature Strip Stakes, last spring.
Private Eye hit top gear down the outside and took up the lead before Bella Nipotina charged in the final stride lunging to force a photo finish that had her finishing a half-head in front right on the line.
Pride’s The Everest hero Think About It had his winning streak cut at nine on the trot as he finished third as the beaten odds-on favourite.
Bella Nipotina and Williams, who is gearing up for his Group 1 $8.41 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) ride on lightweight mare Lastotchka at Flemington on Tuesday, did all the work early to get across.
Despite looking a beaten horse in the run, she was so tough in the end charging through the line in a career best performance.
“I’m so proud of her and so pleased for the ownership group. We had a plan if she jumped to go forward, we didn’t think there was a lot of speed in the race,” co-trainer David Eustace told Sky Thoroughbred Central.
“Craig (Williams) rode her beautifully, she got the split just at the right time, if it was any later she wouldn’t have got there.
“She has just been racing so well this prep and we came into the race really confident of her running a massive race because she had been building and building and building. The team have had her in great order, it’s the best she has looked for a long, long time. It’s a big thrill.”
She became the first mare to take out the Winners Stakes since the event’s inauguration in 2019.
“She walked in the yard and she just looked amazing today,” winning hoop Williams said.
“Her performance last time I said would warrant that she’d run top four or five in The Everest, that’s how good she was and we still only ran third.
“They came here to 1300m and we still draw a wide barrier. I’ve never ridden the 1300m start before so I rang a really good friend of mine, Rodney Quinn, and asked him what to do. And apart from giving me some heads up – I don’t want to tell everyone what he told me, he said pray a little bit.
“But again, I can only do what I do as a jockey providing I have the horse and Bella Nipotina, I was lucky enough to win a Group One on her, very dominant, 12 months ago.”
2023 Giga Kick Stakes Results & Finishing Order
|1||6||BELLA NIPOTINA||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Craig Williams||7||56.5kg||$10|
|2||4||PRIVATE EYE||Joseph Pride||Nash Rawiller||0.03L||5||57.5kg||$2.70|
|3||1||THINK ABOUT IT||Joseph Pride||Sam Clipperton||1.23L||3||58.5kg||$1.90F|
|4||7||COAL CRUSHER||Joseph Pride||Tyler Schiller||1.64L||8||56kg||$61|
|5||3||MAZU||Peter & Paul Snowden||Tommy Berry||2.15L||6||58.5kg||$16|
|6||9||ZAPATEO||James Cummings||Damian Lane||2.5L||2||55.5kg||$26|
|7||2||CASCADIAN (GB)||James Cummings||Ben Melham||3.17L||1||58.5kg||$19|
|8||5||SURF DANCER (IRE)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Regan Bayliss||4.08L||4||57.5kg||$101|
|8||LOVE TAP||Richard & Will Freedman||Michael Dee||0|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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