MAURITIUS-BOUND jockey Danny Nikolic hopes to leave Sydney on a winning note with in-form Melbourne mare Miss Maren awaiting in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Nikolic confirmed he would take up a riding contract in Mauritius having considered his options this week when news of the possible move came to light.
"Everything looks good, I’ll be riding for a good stable over there," he said yesterday. "It will be something different, but I’m looking forward to it."
Nikolic said Miss Maren was entitled to her chance of snaring a group 1. "She is up in class and up to weight-for-age but winning form is good form and she has plenty of that," he said.
Nikolic links with trainer Anthony Cummings when riding Solo Flyer in the All Aged Stakes and he is on Imananabaa for David Payne in the Emancipation Stakes.
"Imananabaa ran great in the Queen Of The Turf when third at her last start and this is an easier race for her," he said.
The jockey said he was likely to head to Mauritius late next week and his stint would end in time for him to be back in Australia for the spring carnival. Quinn confident
Jockey Rod Quinn is relying on trainer Guy Walter to provide him with success at today’s carnival-ending Sydney Cup meeting at Randwick.
While Quinn has only three rides, two are for Walter with talented mare Bernicia out to return to form in the Emancipation Stakes. "Her first couple of runs back from a spell were pretty good then I rode her in the Coolmore Classic and she came in near the rear there," Quinn said.
"Last time she didn’t get through the heavy track at Rosehill so forget that run. She is good on her day and if she was to put her best foot forward then she’d be a huge chance in the Emancipation."
Quinn rides the Walter-trained filly Balmont in the opening race. The three-year-old is coming off a last-start second, beaten a nose by Purrpurrlena on the Kensington track.
"She shows some talent and while this is a harder race on Saturday it wouldn’t surprise me if she measured up," Quinn said.
Quinn’s other ride today is the Les Tilley-trained Feorlan, which runs in the Tabcorp Handicap. With a Bullet
The Queensland carnival is gathering pace with southern raiders heading north.
Included among the invaders is 2007 Stradbroke Handicap winner Sniper’s Bullet, which gears up for another assault on Queensland racing’s premier event in today’s Sir Byrne Hart Stakes at Eagle Farm.
"He is a little bit new, hasn’t trialled, a bit bouncy," Sniper’s Bullet’s Mudgee-based trainer Tracey Bartley said yesterday.
"I’ve never had him as fresh as he is, he might have a good turn of foot. Greg Ryan said he worked enormous on Sunday at Mudgee and he did."
Sniper’s Bullet must overcome trainer Mick Mair’s group 1 winner Swiss Ace and Gai Waterhouse’s Gamble Me.
In the final event at Eagle Farm, Bartley has Sniper’s Bullet’s full-brother Slick Sniper returning from a spell.
"He has improved out of sight," Bartley said. "He goes head and head with Sniper’s on the training track but the penny hasn’t dropped in a race yet. I’m hoping it does up in Queensland."
Bartley’s Frederick Clissold Stakes winner Marchinski was sold to Hong Kong connections through the week.
"It wasn’t a loss because I owned 40 per cent of him," Bartley said. "It’s why we get up early in the morning and the good part is we’ve got the full-brother at home. We’ve also got the dam."