Craig Williams steers Bella Nipotina to Giga Kick Stakes win

Bella Nipotina has lifted herself off the canvas to upstage defending titleholder Private Eye and Everest winner Think About It in the $3 million Giga Kick Stakes at Rosehill.

Chasing his tenth win in succession, Think About It was sent out an odds-on favourite with bookies but after working hard to get the better of his less fancied stablemate Coal Crusher, he was reeled in by fellow barn mate Private Eye.

The latter quickly sailed to the front and looked set for victory, only for Craig Williams to extricate Bella Nipotina ($10) from a sticky position and bring her with a barnstorming late finish to nail Private Eye ($2.70) by a nose.

Think About It battled on for third, other 1-1/4 lengths away.

Trained by Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, Bella Nipotina had been a model of consistency but with her Group 1 Manikato Stakes win coming on a heavy surface, many had her pigeon-holed as a wet tracker.

She defied that theory on Saturday to down a high-class field on a firm track in a race that held plenty of significance, if not black-type status.

“It feels like a Group One because she toppled The Everest winner and some smart horses behind her,” co-trainer David Eustace said.

“It’s quick ground out there, she won the Manikato very impressively last year on wet ground and she was probably billed as just a wet tracker, but I think she proved that wrong this prep.

“She has had her foot on the till, and she’s got the job done.”

Bella Nipotina was one of the smartest to jump but Williams was happy to hand the lead up to Coal Crusher and take a trail.

While he had to ride for luck in the straight, he was able to find it and bring the mare with a perfectly timed winning run.

“We had a plan if she jumped to go forward, we didn’t think there was a lot of speed in the race,” Eustace said.

“Craig rode her beautifully, she got the split just at the right time. If it was any later, she wouldn’t have got there.

“She has just been racing so well this prep and we came into the race really confident of her running a massive race because she had been building and building and building.”

Eustace said Bella Nipotina was likely to continue her campaign, either in the Winterbottom Stakes in Perth or at the Hong Kong International meeting.

Joe Pride produced the two placegetters and was disappointed not to get the win.

“Honestly, I’m pretty gutted,” Pride said.

“You can never take it for granted that you’re going to win, but it looked an easier assignment than The Everest.

“That’s racing and it can happen, they can all get beaten and we saw that today.”

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