Jockey Danny Nikolic is back in the headlines for all the right reasons after a commanding ride aboard Mosheen in today’s $1m Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington.
Nikolic, in the past two years, has suffered a much publicized war with racing officialdom and a split marriage.
He also had to given evidence in the investigation of his murdered former father-in-law Les Samba.
But today the fickle fortunes of racing finally fell Nikolic’s way.
The only reason Mosheen was in the Oaks was because of the injury to Atlantic Jewel on Saturday after the Wakeful Stakes.
That filly was scratched by her trainer Mark Kavanagh which was enough for Mosheen’s trainer Robert Smerdon to redirect plans.
“We were always going to avoid Atlantic Jewel and when she came out we thought we would have a go,” Smerdon said.
Mosheen had a unusual Oaks lead up in the open class Myer Classic (1600m) on Saturday due to connections thoughts of missing the Oaks.
She finished sixth to Hurtle Myrtle but had to jump from 1600m to 2500m in five days.
The distance doubt focus was more on her than any other horse.
“I am a bit of a profit of doom when comes to these sort of things, I was fearing the worst, I was hoping she would relax enough (to get the distance),” Smerdon said.
“Danny said the other day if I can put her asleep for 2000m, they can’t beat her because she will quicken better than any of them.”
Until the Crown Oaks, Nickolic’s Flemington Spring Carnival was going nowhere but he produced a front running riding gem.
He stacked the field and simply sprinted away from rivals Mosheen ($5) to win running away by an impressive nine lengths.
Dowager Queen (3.50fav) had a perfect run behind the pace but couldn’t finish on while Roma Giaconda ($26) came from the tail to grab third another length and a quarter away.
“She gave 110% today, they were all saying she couldn’t run the trip but I knew if I could get away with an easy lead she would win’” Nikolic said.
“She has been an underrated filly since the day I started riding her, she ran second to two of the best horses we have going around in Sepoy and Atlantic Jewel.
“There was no way they could beat her from the 600m as we went too slow (in front).
“I know what sort of turn of foot she has, I worked her on Tuesday morning without the blinkers and she felt fantastic.”
Mosheen added to Nikolic’s Group 1 wins – the 2003 Caulfield Cup and 2004 Caulfield Stakes on Mummify, 2006 Turnbull Stakes on Sphenophyta and the 2009 Rosehill Guineas on Metal Bender.
Mosheen’s win was also the best of her trainer Robert Smerdon’s career.
|1||1||MOSHEEN||Robert Smerdon||Danny Nikolic||2||55.5kg||$5|
|2||2||DOWAGER QUEEN (NZ)||Graeme & Debbie Rogerson||Hugh Bowman||9L||8||55.5kg||$3.50F|
|3||5||ROMA GIACONDA||David Hayes||Steven Arnold||10.25L||6||55.5kg||$26|
|4||7||VITTORIA (NZ)||Michael Kent||Craig Newitt||10.55L||4||55.5kg||$11|
|5||6||GIOE||Michael Kent||Brad Rawiller||12.05L||9||55.5kg||$41|
|6||11||PENTIMENTO||Michael Kent||Corey Brown||15.8L||7||55.5kg||$13|
|7||3||GLIDING||Bart Cummings||Darren Beadman||18.55L||10||55.5kg||$7|
|8||4||RAHVEEL||Leon Corstens||Damien Oliver||19.8L||11||55.5kg||$6|
|9||8||FALLEN ONE||Grahame Begg||Brenton Avdulla||22.55L||1||55.5kg||$61|
|10||10||LADY JOUSTER (NZ)||Anthony Cummings||Dean Yendall||34.55L||3||55.5kg||$41|
|11||9||FLAME OF LANKA||David Hayes||Dwayne Dunn||38.55L||5||55.5kg||$21|