Monaro Mia and Sailesh Abernethy, in a previous Palmerston North victory. Photo: Royden Williams.
Nicky Chilcott doesn’t know what to expect from newest stable acquisition Monaro Mia at Alexandra Park on Friday night.
But based on her work at home, she’s setting the bar pretty low.
“I hope it races a lot better than it works at home because she hasn’t shown me a hell of a lot,” said the Cambridge trainer.
Chilcott took over the New Zealand Trotting Oaks place-getter when her previous trainer, Blenheim’s Graham Neill, retired abruptly at the end of March.
With three wins and a Group 2 placing behind Luby Lou on her record, there were high hopes for the daughter of Imperial Count.
But after a month, Chilcott is none-the-wiser and just hopes she’s a lazy trackworker, like another three-year-old in her stable by the same sire, Phoebe Imperial.
“He works shocking; doesn’t get out of his own way.
“And Juice Brogden is slower than my worst unqualified in training, but we know how good she is on race day.
“So, I’m assuming it’s the same with this filly.”
A trip to nearby Raglan Beach on Monday gave the Cambridge conditioner enough confidence to at least put Monaro Mia in at the races.
“I took her out to the beach on Monday and that seemed to perk her up; it was the brightest she’s been since she got here.
“I just let her run that last little bit and she did it well enough.”
She’s off 25 metres over the longer trip of 2700 metres this week, a distance that she has shown suits her previously.
But Chilcott says even if the horse is just foxing in training, she is still short on fitness and regular driver Sailesh Abernethy will be instructed not to give her a gut-buster.
“I’ll be a lot wiser after Friday night, but Sailesh will be under instructions to follow them and drive her for luck from the handicap.
“I was going to drive her this week as I know she is short, but Sailesh knows her better than anyone.
“Whatever it does, it will improve on it.”
A Harness Jewels tilt on her new home track on June 2 is the target for Monaro Mia, a $125,000 stake on her back doorstep too much for Chilcott to ignore.
It’s a bright spot for the trainer who has recently lost Razor Brogden, God’s Choice and For Tony overseas, Phoebe Imperial to sickness and The Crown Jewels to injury.
Juice Brogden disappointed from the one draw in last week’s New Zealand Messenger Championship but subsequently found to have an abscess in a foot and she is back on track for the 4YO Diamond on Jewels day.