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Wooly Niccanova bids for second Recognition Stakes

Wed 24 November 2021

By Glenn Davis

Trainer Steve Tregea is hopeful a wooly Niccanova can be a thorn in the side of rivals The Harrovian and Tambo’s Mate when the gelding attempts to maintain a perfect Gold Coast record in the Listed Recognition Stakes on Saturday.

Toowoomba-based Niccanova has been widely travelled throughout his 42-start career venturing as far north as Rockhampton and south to Sydney.

But he has only ever started once at the Gold Coast when he won in three-year-old grade in May, 2017.

While it’s been almost four years since he last raced on the tricky Gold Coast track, Tregea can’t fault the eight-year-old.

“He’s racing much the same now as he did a few years ago,” Tregea said.

“His condition is good although his coat needs to improve.

“He looks like a hairy goat at the moment as it’s been a bit cool up here (in Toowoomba).”

Niccanova made his return for the TAB Queensland Summer Racing Carnival with a close up fourth to the Tony Gollan-trained Tambo’s Mate in the Listed Keith Noud Stakes at Doomben on November 14.

“It was a good run and he’s improved since then,” Tregea said.

“He had a good blow after the Keith Noud but he was pretty wound up for that race after having a couple of trials beforehand.”

Tregea rates The Harrovian and Tambo’s Mate as the main dangers and isn’t concerned by the track’s current Heavy 9 rating.

A clash with Tambo’s Mate could be postponed, having also accepted in the Listed Starlight Stakes over 1100 metres at Rosehill.

Niccanova excels in the wet and has won two of his three starts in heavy going while he has four wins from nine starts on soft tracks.

The Harrovian, Tambo’s Mate and Niccanova are all chasing their second wins in the Recognition Stakes.

Niccanova claimed the Recognition Stakes when it was run over 1350 metres at Doomben in 2018 while Tambo’s Mate won the feature in 2019 when he was trained at Caloundra by Stu Kendrick.

Lasty year’s Recognition Stakes winner, The Harrovian, is aiming to become only the second horse to claim the feature in successive years since Bold Endeavour completed the double in 1985-86 when it was run over 1600 metres at Eagle Farm.

The Harrovian has recovered from a minor setback which ruled him out of the Keith Noud and has since trialled well behind the David Vandyke-trained Weona Smartone at the Sunshine Coast last week.

The Harrovian has not started since finishing sixth to Tofane in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm last June and is being aimed at the $5 million All Star Mile at Flemington next March.