Manikato stakes a goal for Bella Nipotina

Image: Bruno Cannatelli

Bella Nipotina gave Ciaron Maher and David Eustace their fourth win of the program at The Valley

Bella Nipotina completed a stakes race double for the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace stable at Moonee Valley while completing a race-to-race quartet for her trainers.

After Fast Witness narrowly won the Listed McKenzie Stakes (1200m), Bella Nipotina had to show her class to win the Listed Carlyon Stakes (1000m) on Saturday.

The two wins completed a quartet of winners for Maher and Eustace, with Mayfair Spirit and Mankayan splitting the pair.

Bella Nipotina, sent the $2.60 favorite under Craig Williams, beat Mileva ($11) with Extremely Lucky ($2.80) by three-quarters of a length in third to claim her fourth win of the race.

Now a five-year-old with five wins under her belt, Eustace said the plan was to try and get a Group 1 win with the mare.

Eustace said the Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on the eve of the Cox Plate was the logical target.

How Maher and Eustace get the mare to that goal will be determined after they evaluate Bella Nipotina’s performance in Saturday’s first race.

It was Bella Nipotina’s first outing since fifth in the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettvile in May.

“She is incredibly tough. She’s really danced every dance in the last 12 to 18 months,” Eustace said.

“Maybe he’s improving again and eventually, hopefully, he can come back here for the Manikato Stakes, which has been the plan for a while.

“She has an awful lot of racing coming up in the spring, here in Melbourne, up in Sydney.

“She can travel, she’s incredibly brave and it’s great to start the campaign like this.”

Eustace said the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) back at The Valley in two weeks could be on the cards if the mare recovers well.

“You have to make plans with her, but at the same time she stays at 1,200 meters, she’s effective over 1,000 meters,” Eustace said.

“He handles the surface well, he handles the wet, he races well right-handed and left-handed.

“There are plenty of opportunities.

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