By Glenn Davis
A $100,000 summer carnival bonus could entice Toowoomba trainer Steve Tregea to send Prioritise or stablemate Niccanova to Sydney for next month’s Group 2 Villiers Stakes at Randwick.
Niccanova and Prioritise are set to clash in the Listed Tattersall’s Recognition Stakes (1350m) at Doomben on Saturday as the Queensland TAB Summer Carnival hots up.
Niccanova was a last start winner on a heavy track at Doomben on October 6 while Prioritise recorded his fourth successive win at his last appearance over 2020 metres at Doomben on September 29.
“I won’t make any decision about the Villiers until after Saturday,” Tregea said.
“At this stage Prioritise is more likely to go but I want to see how they both go on Saturday.”
Tregea is also aiming both gallopers for the Listed Bernborough Handicap (1600m) at Doomben on December 29.
A bonus of $100,000 is on offer if the Bernborough winner also claims the Villiers Stakes two weeks earlier.
A $50,000 bonus is also available to the Bernborough winner if it places or finishes fourth in the Villiers.
Tregea has given punters a strong pointer to his Recognition Stakes claims with Niccanova and Prioritise.
“I probably favour Niccanova as there’s more upside to him,” Tregea said.
“But Prioritise is such a quirky horse I wouldn’t be surprised to see him win.”
Tregea had not planned a seven-week break between runs with Niccanova.
“I was going to run him over 1600 metres at Doomben after he won last start but it was the day of the strike,” he said.
“He’ll be better once he gets to 1600 metres but he’s been working and trialling well.”
Tregea has such a good opinion of Niccanova he aimed him for the Group 1 Doncaster Handicap in Sydney during the autumn.
“I was all set to run him in the Doncaster but he got a niggling injury,” he said.
“After this race both of them will run in the Brisbane Handicap in two weeks.”
Niccanova won the 2017 Group Three Fred Best Classic before finishing third in the Group Two Queensland Guineas.
Tregea thought Niccanova was a genuine winter carnival horse this year when he resumed with an impressive Doomben win in March but he missed the winter with a series of minor hiccups.
Tregea has knocked back several big offers for Niccanova who has won six of his 11 starts.
Tregea said Prioritise also was pleasing him in his trackwork and has benefitted from a recent jump out in Toowoomba.
Tregea also has a strong hand with Conquering Lass in the Listed Legacy Fillies & Mares Classic (1200m).
Conquering Lass has won five of her 14 starts and is chasing a hat-trick of wins following her victories at Toowoomba and Ipswich.
Racing Queensland webnews November 21