Million-dollar milestone in Nashville's reach

Durable galloper Nashville will attempt to reach $1million in career stake earnings when he...
Durable galloper Nashville will attempt to reach $1million in career stake earnings when he starts at Riccarton tomorrow. PHOTO: RACE IMAGES
Evergreen galloper Nashville should finally cross the $1million barrier at Riccarton tomorrow.

The 10yr-old will race in the $35,000 1600m open handicap and needs less than $5000 in stakes to become New Zealand's latest millionaire thoroughbred.

To say Nashville is perfectly placed to tick off the accomplishment could be considered an understatement. He takes on five rivals who have won just $573,509 between them.

Nashville also gets 3kg off his back, down to 57kg with Kate Cowan's apprentice claim. That means he will carry .5kg less than his main rival, Elfee, the ride of Chris Johnson.

It seems all Nashville needs to do is show up in good order for tomorrow's race and his Hunterville trainer, Adrian Bull, is confident he will do that.

Though he finished only ninth, Nashville went a cracking race in strong company behind Charles Road at Hasting last weekend.

After getting far too far back to a long last on a strong race tempo, he wound up strongly in the home straight and was only beaten by 4½ lengths.

"They just went a bit quick for him and he got too far back," Bull said.

"He should get his chance on Saturday and the wetter track, too, will help."

Elfee returns to her home track for trainers Michael and Matthew Pitman for the first time since her third in the Winter Classic at the Grand National Carnival.

"She got beaten by two really good horses [Dez and Platinum Command] at her last start in the Winter Classic and it looks a nice race for her," Michael Pitman told NZ Racing Desk.

She comprehensively beat Nashville in that race, but he had a horror run when trapped three wide.

The versatile Elfee, who is effective in a range of track conditions, had been working well, Pitman said.

"We are very happy with her."

The Pitman stable has three runners in the open 1000m dash.

Michael Pitman favours Saber ahead of Dynamic and Morse Code.

"Saber has gone some really good races at Riccarton. He loves it wet. He's probably the best chance of my three.

"Morse Code has come up really good. We only had a couple of runs with her last prep where she won first-up for us over 1000m."

Topweight Irish Excuse looks the main danger to the Pitman trio. He went a good race in behind the in-form Finbarr over 1400m at the Grand National Carnival.

The only query for the Ellis Winsloe-trained 8yr-old is whether 1000m will suit him so far into his campaign.

Wingatui gelding William James will have his second start tomorrow, in a 1000m race for 3yr-olds.

He caught the eye with a big performance to win his first start at Riccarton in June.

Trainer Joanne Hillis gave William James a quiet run at the Wingatui jumpouts last week in preparation.

Te Akau filly Quattro Katie appears to be one of the leading chances in the race. She was sharp at the Te Teko trials before heading south from Matamata for trainer Jamie Richards.

The Te Akau stable trainer looks to have several winning chances on the Riccarton card. They include Devil May Care (race 3), Conclusion (race 5) and Richard Of Yorke (race 8).


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