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Kisukano on trial for Flight Stakes in Sydney

By Glenn Davis

Star filly Kisukano faces her acid test when she steps up against older horses for the first time in her career in the Pink Ribbon Cup at the Gold Coast this Saturday.

Kisukano blew away her on rivals over 1200 metres in three-year-old company last start, scoring by almost two lengths over the Kelly Schweida-trained Acrobatic at Eagle Farm on August 29.

The daughter of Bel Esprit was on her best behaviour and carved out a new track record with a blistering 1:08.69 seconds, with a final 600-metre sectional of 33.01 seconds.

Kisukano has been racing against her own age and trainer Michael Nolan concedes the Pink Ribbon Cup on top of a step up in distance will be a test.

“She’ll be out of her comfort zone going up against older mares for the first time and stepping up to 1300 metres,” Nolan said.

“I thought her last win was outstanding and it took a couple of days for her to get over it but she was entitled to after breaking the track record.”


An interstate trip is back on the radar for Kisukano if she wins for the seventh time in nine starts after Nolan ruled out the Toowoomba Guineas on her home track on September 26.

“A lot will hinge on Saturday’s performance but if she wins well, she’ll go down for the Flight Stakes,” he said.

“If it’s only a fair run, she’ll have some time off and come back for the summer races.”

Nolan admits stepping up further in distance to 1600 metres is a query for Kisukano.

“There’s always a concern going to 1600 metres the first time but unless we have a go we’ll never know,” he said.

The 1600-metre Group 1 Flight Stakes will be run at Randwick on October 3.

Nolan originally planned to head to Sydney last month but was forced to scrap a trip away when Kisukano was barred from racing because of her bad barrier manners after proving difficult to load.

An old-fashioned blindfold proved the key to successfully loading the filly in her recent victory.

“It’s an old trick to use a blindfold on horses to go into the barriers and it was suggested to me by the stewards,” Nolan said.

“I only wish I had tried it much earlier.”

Kisukano is the only horse to claim the scalp of rising star Rothfire, who she beat in the $500,000 QTIS Jewel at the Gold Coast in March.