The stage looks set this weekend for the capable stayer Nymph Monte to return to his best form.
The Tavistock six-year-old races well at Hastings where he will attempt to bag the second black type win of his career in Saturday’s Listed Royston Hospital Hawke’s Bay Cup (2200m). Trainer Grant Nicholson believes Nymph Monte, whose record features a victory in the Listed Metropolitan Trophy Handicap (2500m) at Riccarton, will strip at peak fitness for the feature.
“I’m very happy with him and that last run has topped him off nicely,” part-owner and trainer Grant Nicholson said.
“There looks like there will be a bit of pace in the race and he needs that to get over the top of them.” Off the back of a trial win, Nymph Monte finished sixth at his most recent appearance in the Group 2 Awapuni Gold Cup (2000m).
“He got back off them a bit at the 600m and then he picked it up and his last 150m was very nice,” Nicholson said. “He’s definitely improved with the run.”
Past visits to Hawke’s Bay have rewarded Nymph Monte with a pair of middle distance victories. “He always seems to go well there and a little bit of moisture will help him, he likes to get his toe in the ground these days,” Nicholson said. “It’s always been the plan to have a go at the Cup.
There are a few options for him afterwards, but we’ll get through Saturday first.” Nymph Monte’s half-brother Artaxerxes will also be in action at the meeting, resuming in the Stella Artois Mile (1600m).
“He’s been waiting for an easing of the ground,” Nicholson said. “I think he’ll go a nice race, but he will improve with it.”
Artaxerxes has been patiently handled and has a win and a couple of placings from seven appearances.