Consistent mare NICCONITA heads to Canterbury on Wednesday where she will link up with top jockey Brenton Avdulla.
John has been pleased with NICCONITA’s progress since running on resolutely first-up at Randwick on August 3 when ridden by another champion hoop in Hugh Bowman.
“She’s coming to hand really nicely and she took a lot of benefit from that first-up run. She was only beaten 1.9 lengths that day and I think two and a half weeks between runs will be perfect,” John said.
“Brenton has been on her before, so he knows her and I trust he will make the best decision from barrier nine.
“I’m not sure if I want her going back to last. We’ve tried looping the field in the past and she’s loomed to win but just peaked on her run the last 50m.
“So if we can slot in somewhere midfield or closer that would be preferable.”
The five-year-old daughter of NICCONI has amassed $145,240 in prizemoney from 16 starts but incredibly, has been unable to capitalize on Racing NSW’s Highway races, finishing in the minor placings on five occasions.
Should she win Wednesday’s benchmark 70 event she will no longer be eligible for the Highway series but will have secured a valuable metropolitan scalp.
“It’s a bit of shame she hasn’t been able to break through in a Highway because it’s great prizemoney but she’s proven more than above average and I think will ultimately be a city class horse anyway.
“Whilst a Highway is yet to come to fruition, I don’t see an issue with taking her through the grades like any other horse.”
Victory on Wednesday would also prompt John to consider a potential start in the $1.3 million Kosciuszko (1200m) at Randwick in October.
“I think it’s something that’s worth looking at. If she happens to win on Wednesday we could keep her fresh and hope she gets enough public support to gain a start.”