Nettoyer clear for take-off in Cup
WARWICK Farm trainer Wendy Roche has Nettoyer ready to break through with a win in Saturday's Listed Lord Mayors Cup (2000m) at Rosehill, but a proven performer is standing in her way.
The four-year-old Sebring mare has been a model of consistency her entire career but has managed to win only once from nine starts with four placings.
Her only win was a 10-length romp at Randwick over 2000m to end her first preparation, and in six starts this time in she has raced at Group level on each occasion and measured up to top-liners Dixie Blossoms, Alizee and Prompt Response.
Nettoyer is coming off a second placing to Tally in the Group 3 JRA Plate (2000m).
She followed the winner up the inside that day and couldn't peg back the advantage he had on her, but she was taking ground off him late.
Roche said she was as confident as she had ever been with her mare heading into a big race.
"I think she should nearly win the race when you consider the way she's been running," she said.
"She's had a strong preparation and I don't think I could get her going any better for this race. She came home in 33.10 seconds (over 600m) last start and that's pretty good from a horse that gets back and needs to get clear running."
Nettoyer will again race in the back half of the 10-horse field.
Leading jockey Brenton Avdulla has stuck with the mare, and Roche just wants him to give her a clear path to the line.
"There will be fewer horses for us to go through this time but these small fields can also be tricky," she said.
"I've leave it up to Brenton but I just want him to get out at the 600m and not have an impaired run.
"Brenton was offered to ride a few others but from the first time he rode her he said she's showed a lot of progression. She has to take on the more seasoned and stronger horses on Saturday like Ecuador, who is so tough, and he's in good form."
Ecuador is the horse Roche believes is the main threat and his regular jockey, Adam Hyeronimus, has said the galloper will provide his usual stiff challenge after running second in last weekend's Group 3 Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m).
"He's going fantastic. I'm very happy with the way he's going and he's my best chance on the day," Hyeronimus said. "His first two runs this preparation have been very good and getting out to 2000m is only going to enhance his chances.
"He's a free-striding horse and he's at his best when he can find that rhythm and he can sustain a much stronger run than anything in the race, that's for sure."
Despite being trained out of Randwick by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, Ecuador has won six from 12 at Rosehill and it's the type of track that suits his frontrunning style.
"He's trained that way and that's how he's been shaped from a long age and he can win there again," Hyeronimus said.
"This is his sought of level. He's competed in the Group 1s at weight-for-age level and not been disgraced. He's definitely a handicap horse but it's hard to find those races."
Hyeronimus will also ride Vega De Lago earlier in the day in the Highway Plate (1500m).
It will be the third time he's been on the Geoff O'Brien runner who was unlucky not to qualify for the Country Championships Final in the Muswellbrook Wild Card race when he was just behind Don't Give A Damn.
"He went well last start too at Tamworth, carrying a big weight," Hyeronimus said.
"He's a funny horse. He needs to get into a rhythm and he can show a good 250m sprint if things go right for him in the early stages of the race."
The Cowra native also rides horses for Clarry Conners (Bolero King) and Kris Lees (Kool Vinnie).
"They're stables I don't generally ride for but they're both good rides and I want to have some success with them," Hyeronimus said.
"It would be good to start a bit of a partnership with them. Kris is a very good trainer and he continues to train winners in town and have multiple runners."