Cameron Crockett can’t believe his luck.
The Mudgee trainer watched Nictock run away to his seventh win from eight starts when he took out the TAB.COM.AU Handicap (1100 metres) at Canterbury Park on Wednesday.
The four-year-old gelding by Nicconi from Ready To Rumba jumped straight to the front out of barrier eight and held off a surging In Times of War (Kerrin McEvoy, $1.95 favourite) to win just his second race at the track by a head.
“Hugh [Bowman, jockey] said that was going to be the plan,” Crockett told Sky Thoroughbred Racing.
“Obviously if they go fast and he couldn’t cross them he may take him back but he said he highly doubts that’s going to happen.
“So he’s done a lot of work today. He’s proven himself a little bit today. That’s exciting.”
Nictock ($3.70) sprung well from the outside barrier and Bowman quickly guided him to a length in front, with In Times Of War settling into fourth behind Voilier (Blake Shinn, $13) and Old Man Sam (Winona Costin, $13).
The lead four held firm coming into the bend and it wasn’t until the home straight that In Times Of War made her move.
McEvoy got the four-year-old mare to kick and she quickly reeled in Old Man Sam while Voilier dropped right off the pace.
But Nictock clung on claim the win two-tenths of a length in front of the favourite, with Lady Jivago (Blaike McDougall, $10) a length behind in third.
“He did it easier than I expected,” Bowman told Sky Thoroughbred Racing.
“He led very comfortably over 1000 metres last time and … he’s sort of got that much pace that if a horse tried to sort of use themselves to bring his demise, they’d be bringing their own demise.
“He does want to win and his record speaks for itself. He’s easy to ride and he’s just got tonnes of speed and used it very well and he fights to the end, so he’s a bit of a dream horse to ride to be honest.”
That competitive streak was what made Nictock so hard to beat, Crockett said.
“He just wants it. I think that’s the biggest thing with him, is how much he wants to win,” he said.
“Hugh said that last time after he rode him, he said he will beat better horses just because of the way he races and the way he wants to beat them.”
The best is yet to come, Crockett said, with the four-year-old still “probably six, even 12, months away from the horse we’re going to see”.
“He’s certainly up to better than mid-week and the thing is he makes his own luck,” Bowman added. “Who knows where he’ll end up? Might be in Everest yet.”