The return of consistent Chris Waller-trained mare In Times Of War has Cameron Crockett cautious about Nictock’s ability to prolong his winning streak at Canterbury.
After six wins from sevens starts, Nictock faces his stiffest opposition in Wednesday’s TAB.com.au Handicap (1100m), according to the Mudgee- based trainer.
“Chris’s horse obviously has a stack of ability,” Crockett said.
“I dare say Chris has picked out this sort of a race to kick off to get her ready for something in the spring.
“She definitely seems to have Saturday class ability.”
Crockett hopes the race will also indicate whether Nictock is ready to return to Sydney for a Saturday race at some point during the spring carnival.
Nictock experienced his only defeat at Randwick in June when third in a Highway Handicap behind Clipper and Conniving.
The Highway races are now out of bounds because Nictock has raced his way out of that class so Crockett will need to select another target at Randwick or Rosehill.
“Whether it’s the time of year to do it now while all the top class horses are in, I don’t know,” he said.
Hugh Bowman will ride Nictock for the third time and Crockett says Sydney’s premier jockey will be consulted before the four-year-old’s immediate future is mapped out.
“He’ll have a fair guide on how he’s improved from one run to the next,” he said.
Crockett said In Times Of War, the $2.50 joint favourite with Nictock, would also have a bearing on his next move.
“I watched her beat a horse that I broke in for Les Bridge one day and I know Les thinks that horse (Zonk) goes very well,” he said.
In Times Of War has another win and six seconds on her record, from eight starts.
“Nictock’s up to a level now where you’re always going to run into horses of that type of ability. He’s got to beat these sorts of horses to keep progressing,” Crockett said.
“In another six months you’re going to see a horse that can race at Listed level if he keeps improving.”