Nicoletta set for strong G2 showing

Conditions are ideal for Nicoletta (inner) in the Gr.2 Windsor Park Stud Japan-New Zealand International Trophy (1600m). Source: Race Images

Cambridge trainer Murray Baker is no fan of set weights and penalties racing but concedes that conditions ideally suit his Group 1-placed mare Nicoletta in Saturday’s Group 2 Windsor Park Stud Japan-New Zealand International Trophy (1600m) at Matamata.

The Lib Petagna-raced four-year-old carries just 53.5kg under the race conditions, her half- kilogram penalty coming through her defeat of subsequent Group 1 winners Devise and Bonneval in last year’s Group 3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) at Trentham.

She finished third in last month’s Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa but that was a penalty-free performance even in New Zealand’s richest weight-for-age contest.

“She’s only got 53 1/2 kilos. I’m against set weights and penalties races but it throws her into it,” said Baker, who trains in partnership with Andrew Forsman.

Baker and Forsman go into the Racing Tauranga feature with a strong hand, with Coldplay and Highlad also set to take their places in the race.

Coldplay trialled at Taupo on Tuesday, defeating stablemate Get That Jive by three-quarters of a length in a 1200m heat.

“She won nicely, as she should have, but it showed she’s going well,” Baker said. “Highlad hasn’t raced for a while and he’ll probably need the run but he needs to kick off again somewhere.”

Sam Spratt rides Highlad, while Johnathan Parkes reunites with his Group 2 Rich Hill Mile- winning mount Coldplay and premiership leading jockey Sam Collect pilots Nicoletta.