Belmont specialist to target Ascot features

Image: RWWA

The drive to end the Ascot hoodoo brought a change of plans for Nerodio

After setting up Nerodia in the Black Heart Bart Stakes (1200m) at Belmont, trainer Stephanie Bakranich suggested an alternative program for the seven-year-old.

Bakranich is determined to test Nerodio’s sprints at Ascot at the Pinnacles Carnival, despite his best results coming on rain-hit ground at Belmont.

All 11 of Nerodia’s wins have come at Belmont, including the three listed events: the Beaufine Stakes (1000m) twice and the Belmont Newmarket (1200m).

The Playing God gelding is yet to prove himself at Ascot but has come desperately close to breaking through with six placings from seven attempts.

Bakranich says with Nerodio fit and in top form, Ascot has no worries and deserves a crack at Group 3 sprint events

Nerodia has set the Prince Of Wales Stakes (1000m) in October and the Colonel Reeves Stakes (1100m) three weeks later as her main targets.

Bakranich is convinced that Nerodio can measure up at Ascot.

“Because I want to try the few races at Ascot, we have to take him out for two weeks now and freshen him up so he can come back,” Bakranich told The Races WA.

“He’s done a lot more this year than I thought he would, and he’s very healthy this prep, probably the best he’s ever been.

“The blacksmith believes his legs have never looked so good.”

“He will go to those two races and if he gets through them OK then hopefully Winterbottom.

“There are three that I have marked, but I only ever pick one.

“I’d hate for me to not go at them at all and he doesn’t get any younger.”

“He raced so well this season and held his own for most of the year.

“My focus is on him winning one race at Ascot, he can’t keep the seconds in the running.

“But it’s really the first race I’m aiming for, anything else is just a bonus.

“And he is so good at 1000 meters and he is fresh; I’m really focused on the first race.

“Now that he’s so healthy and well, he deserves to go to Ascot.

“I know he’s great in the Belmont, but I think he can still be good at Ascot.

Nerodio did not finish outside the top three in this preparation.

He ran second to Resortman in the Idyllic Prince Stakes (1300m).

Six of his 11 career wins have topped 1,000 and he has two wins and the third in five first attempts.

The Prince Of Wales Stakes takes place on 29 October and the Colonel Reeves Stakes on 12 November.

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