After five years of training independently, John Bateman believes he has finally found the horse that can win him the Spendthrift Guy Walter race at Goulburn on Sunday.
It is a race Bateman would dearly love to win, as it is named in honour of his late mentor whom he worked under for 14 years.
Programmed as the undercard to the $200,000 Goulburn Cup, Bateman has always been on the lookout for a suitable horse to run in the race and believes NICCONITA fits the bill this year.
“This has been a target race for her ever since I turned her in September,” Bateman said.
“I couldn’t be happier with the way she has been training. Her last two lots have work have been second to none.
“I’ve never had a chance in this race until now so I’m pretty excited.”
NICCONITA tackles the 1300m contest first-up off a seven-week freshen-up with Christian Reith to do the steering.
One significant gear change is that she will be racing in bar plates. Normally trainers are reluctant to race their horses in bar plates but Bateman is confident it won’t worry his mare on Sunday.
“Whilst it’s not ideal I’ve been working her in them and it hasn’t been a problem – if anything she’s been working better,” Bateman said.
“She had a foot abscess a little while back and feet have become very flat so the bar plates are necessary in this case.
“She’s never worn them at the races before but I wouldn’t swap her for any other runner.
“She looks beautifully placed in a country class 3 for fillies and mares.”
The Bateman stable will also be represented by THE BLUESMOBILE and GREENSPAN at the showcase meeting and Bateman believes both can belie their double-figure odds.