TWO of the most promising gallopers in the central west will do battle with each other at Dubbo today when the Don Ryan-trained Kindness and Peter Nestor's unbeaten gelding Shiraz line up in the Western Plains Security Class 1 Handicap (1100m).
Both horses have big wraps on them, however the boom on Kindness was lowered somewhat when she was beaten by Very Sheik at Wellington earlier this month.
A half-sister to Ryan's well-performed duo So Genourous and Our Canny Boy, the four-year-old created a big impression with a five-and-a-half length win in a trial at Dubbo in June before scraping home on debut at Bathurst later that same month.
Kindness resumed at Wellington recently over 1100m but was beaten into second behind Very Sheik but blew hard after the race, indicating she will improve from the run.
Shiraz made light work of his rivals on debut in late October, winning a 900m maiden in good time.
Jockey Kody Nestor was never made to push the Zariz x Moville Slipper gelding too hard and connections have been patient in their chase for another race.
The meeting of the two rising stars will be the highlight of a strong eight-race card at Dubbo, which races on a Thursday for the first time.
“I rode Very Sheik when he beat Kindness the other day but I think she had excuses,” Kindness’ jockey Greg Ryan said.
“Fettler’s Boot led and hung the whole way and Mathew (Cahill) was outside him trying to keep him on the fence.
“I was third on the fence behind them and on the turn the leader hung out and took Kindness with him and I shot up the inside.
“She kicked on despite being buffeted the whole way and, from looking at her, Don had plenty of room to improve her.”
Kody Nestor couldn’t have been more impressed with Shiraz’s win at Wellington, as the three-year-old showed great race sense to put himself into a handy position after beginning tardily.
“He’s got a lot of ability and he did a bit wrong at the start the other day but he picked himself up and got where I wanted him and relaxed well,” Nestor said.
“We’ve drawn awkwardly out in gate 12 where Greg’s horse has drawn six but they both have speed and will go forward.
“Ideally I can see myself settling, stalking Greg in the race and having the last crack at him.
“You can’t take anything for granted in racing and it will be a big field but on form my horse and Kindness look the two best chances.”
Ryan knows only too well the ability Shiraz has.
He rode Report into second place in the same race for Young trainer Chris Heywood.
“Report has run well since and won the other day so the form out of that race is pretty good,” Ryan said.
“Kindness gave me a good feel in that trial win a few months back but probably hasn’t lived up to that in races so far.
“Hopefully Thursday will be the day she does it because she will need to be at her best to beat Peter’s horse.
“It’s always good when you get a couple of horses with obvious ability in a race. That kind of thing makes racing exciting.”