Young Cranbourne trainer Dylan Stratford capped off a successful end to 2018 when his mare Nuclear Nikky won the Cool Ridge Pace at Melton on New Year’s Eve.
The well-bred four-year-old started at prohibitive odds on the basis of a strong last start effort at Headquarters and ran right up to that form with an emphatic win on Monday night.
Settling three back in the running line form her back-row draw, Nuclear Nikky was set alight at the 600-metre mark by reinsman Greg Sugars and dashed to the lead around the final bend. On the line Nuclear Nikky had four metres to spare over outsider Charliesandmine with The Stags Roar filling third placing in a 1:59 mile rate for the 2,240 metre event.
Nuclear Nikky is a daughter of Aukland Reactor and the smart race-mare Nickel Miss and is raced by her breeders Andy Tomlin and Kevin Richards.
“I’m really grateful that the owners have given me an opportunity to train this mare,” Stratford said. “She’s just starting to learn what it’s all about and hopefully she can go on and win a few more now that she’s won that one.”
Stratford, who moved to the Cranbourne Training Centre in late October, is building a solid team at his new base and currently has a dozen horses in work.
Promising three-year-old filly Sharing The Love has just resumed work after a short let-up following her maiden win at Yarra Valley on Oaks Day. And recent stable addition Tara Leann has been racing consistently for local owners Kevin and Annette Lee with placings at each of her first three racetrack outings.
“I’ve had terrific support since moving and I should have a few more at the races in the next month or two,” Stratford said.
“Flyin Around is a four-year-old trotting mare who won three races last season and I’ll trial for her at Melton next week. She’s been going really well on the track and should be very competitive in whatever we start her off in.”
“Sneakin Around is a bit of a project horse. He’s got plenty of ability but hasn’t put it all together at the track yet. He’ll go to the trials next week as well.”
“And Kevin has a nice Shadow Play in pre-training and hopefully she won’t be too far off the races when she comes down in the next week or two.”
By David Scott
Photo: Harness Racing Victoria