NinePoint Six-Nine pulled off a giant upset Tuesday in the Happy New Year Trophy (Handicap) on the first race day of 2017. The six-year-old gelding, trained by Hayden Nicholls, was out front from the start of the ten furlong event, ridden by Affrie Ward. He never looked back. Donicodidit, 2015 Massy Derby runner-up, with jockey Rickey Walcott, tried to take on the gelding early on but eventually faded to the finish.
As the field came past the grand stands for the first time NinePoint Six-Nine had a seven length lead on Donicodidit and the rest of the field, with 2016 Derby winner and favourite Northern Star in third.
Three furlongs out and NinePoint Six-Nine was still out front looking to extend his healthy lead.
Jalon Samuel, working hard on Northern Star, was moving steadily up the field.
As they turned for home NinePoint Six-Nine looked spent and likely to fade with Northern Star and Princess Tiana on the wide out side closing the distance.
At the finish NinePoint Six-Nine managed to hang on by one length, ahead of Princess Tiana who got up in the dying stages to grab second from Northern Star with Donicodidit fourth.
Later it was revealed by Northern Star’s trainer, the big chestnut lost a shoe. Samuel had reported he was not picking up the bit as he always does and this may have been the cause.
Ward is now one win away from riding out his apprenticeship claim. The young rider booted home two winners on the day, taking Race 5, the Fresh Start (Handicap) aboard King’s Meadow.
Dario Dalrymple was the other jockey to score a double, taking Race 4 on Spartacus and Race 7 on Easter Monday for trainer Boston John.
Trainers Richard Deane and Boston John where the most succesful trainers on the day saddling two winners apiece. Deane’s winners came in the opening race from Refire with 2016 champion jockey Rasheed Hughes, and in Race 5.
There was a big crowd on hand for what turned out to be a cool bank holiday. The Hi 5 of $3,548.38 was not won and will be carried over to January 14th.