Steve Tregea targets Stradbroke Handicap redemption with Niccanova

He was one of the hardluck stories from last year’s Stradbroke Handicap, now Toowoomba-based trainer Steve Tregea is hoping he hasn’t missed his chance in Queensland’s biggest race with Niccanova.

The veteran rattled home to finish third 12 months ago and despite finishing 10th in the Kingsford-Smith Cup a fortnight ago, Tregea said his stable star is going better than he was before the race last year.

In a bunched finish, Tregea believes the official result of the Kingsford-Smith Cup doesn’t properly reflect where Niccanova is at.

“It was a good run, he was never in a position to win the race being three-wide and back. He is the kind of horse that needs a bit of cover and he hit the line good so I was happy enough with that,” he said.

“He has had a good week so far, there are no problems.

“(Jockey) James Orman thinks he should have won, he only just got beaten. You are very rarely going to get a totally problem-free run if you are a backmarker so you have got to expect it to happen.”

Steve Tregea (right) and jockey James Orman after Niccanova’s Victory Stakes win. Picture: Trackside PhotographySource:Supplied

It comes as Tregea produced Incentivise for a stunning nine-length win at Eagle Farm last week, marking him as a Queenslander to watch.

Another home-bred from Trehea’s Windemere Farm, the four-year-old is set to head to the Provincial Stayers Series final at Ipswich next week over 2500m.

“It did surprise me, but in hindsight I suppose you could have expected it because he had been doing it up here (Toowoomba),” he said.

“It is a different ball game going from the benchmark race up here to one in town on a Saturday.

“We were thinking maybe he likes the soft tracks but maybe he likes the hard tracks better, we are working it out as we go along really.”

Such was the dominance of his win, offers from Hong Kong came flooding but Tregea said he would be heading to Ipswich before any decisions were made.

He recently sold Command’N’Conquer to Hong Kong, which the four-year-old recently reeling off a huge win on debut for new trainer David Hayes.

“They’re all talking about it, saying there are big offers but it is just speculation. Nothing is on the table at the moment,” he said.

“He was qualified for the provincial stayers series on Ipswich Cup day prior to Saturday so that was his last run before then because we needed a run to see if he was up to Saturday class – obviously he was.

“It is 2500m at Ipswich, that is a bit different but he has always looked like the further he goes the better he will be.”

Originally published asNiccanova out for redemption in Stradbroke

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