Jockey Danny Nikolic says he is working “as hard as I ever have” in an attempt to get back in favour of bigger stables.
Despite being on the outer, the polished hoop showed he still has the goods when bringing up a day-night double aboard Royal Mail at Moonee Valley last night.
Nikolic scored just his sixth city winner for the season when the five-year-old gelding won the Greenedge Hcp (2040m).
The 36-year-old, who has been subject to well publicised trouble with racing officialdom and the law, was seen at his very best.
Nikolic had Royal Mail seventh on the fence for much of the race led by Sambora with Te Jay on its outside after it worked for the first 1000m three wide.
Favoured runners Seeking Chi settled third on the outside of Jeuney’s End – Royal Mail followed Jeuney’s End.
Down the side the two leaders faded and Dwayne Dunn on Seeking Chi moved around them.
Nikolic, aware, jumped straight onto its back as other horses went three and four wide including Skystreamer who made a move for the lead.
Jeuney’s End was left stranded and lost three lengths at a vital stage when held up behind the tiring leaders.
At the turn, Seeking Chi hit the lead with Skystreamer under pressure a length away.
Nikolic railed through on Royal Mail and then pulled to the outside of Seeking Chi.
Royal Mail ran away impressively from Seeking Chi and the unlucky Jeuney’s End who finished well for third.
“It worked out good, there was good speed going out of the straight and I was able to pop behind the two favourites,” Nikolic said.
“From the 600m, I was always going to be hard to beat.
“I was told not to go inside horses but I just trekked up so well, he made his own luck.
“He won a race quiet well at Sale a few starts back and they told me he didn’t handle the heavy last start.
“He looks well and is racing very well, he is doing his job.”
Earlier in the day Nikolic won at Mornington aboard Out Of The Fire for trainer John McArdle.
Royal Mail is trained by Dean Howard, a Cranbourne trainer with 11 horses.
“I am working as hard as I have, I haven’t got the stables I used to have,” Nikolic said.
“I am trying to go everywhere and make every post a winner.
“There has been a lot of support from a lot of little trainers.”
The win was Royal Mail’s third in just 11 starts.
He has had a troubled past as well.
“He had his back stifles operated on and had 12 months off,” Howard said.
“He has had a few other bits and pieces go wrong.
“We sort of worked our way through them.
“I was confident because when he ran third at Sandown (behind Full Peal) it was a tad too heavy for him that day.”
|1||8||ROYAL MAIL||Dean Howard||Danny Nikolic||7||54kg (cd 54.5kg)||$5|
|2||5||SEEKING CHI||Anthony Freedman||Dwayne Dunn||3.5L||5||55.5kg||$2.60F|
|3||2||JEUNEYS END||Allan Fitzgerald||Brad Rawiller||5.5L||1||58.5kg||$3.50|
|4||3||SKYSTREAMER||Tony Vasil||Peter Mertens||6.25L||4||58kg||$14|
|5||4||AIGLON||Fran Houlahan & Brian Johnston||Ms Michelle Payne||12.25L||6||56.5kg||$15|
|6||10||MAGNETIC EAST||Byron Cozamanis||Michael Rodd||13.25L||3||54kg||$71|
|7||1||HIPHOPOPOTAMUS (NZ)||Michael Moroney||Jamie Mott||13.45L||8||59kg||$9|
|8||9||SAMBORA||Karen Fox||Dean Holland||28.45L||2||54kg||$13|
|9||6||TE JAY||Jim Mason||Dean Yendall||29.45L||9||55.5kg||$15|
|7||KAPU STAR||Bill & Symon Wilde||Chris Symons||0|