The high-flying Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman training partnership had just the one focus at Trentham yesterday and that single minded determination paid off in spades when Nicoletta triumphed in the Desert Gold Stakes.
The Cambridge combination trekked just four runners to Trentham who all took their place in the black-type feature. In a roughly run affair that was run at a farcical early pace, it was Savabeel filly Nicoletta who coped best as she capitalised on a cushy run from an inside barrier to outsprint her rivals in the run home.
Favourite Devise made a spirited bid to catch the eventual winner in the concluding stages but came up a head short at the post with another Baker/Forsman runner, Bonneval, taking third.
Nicoletta was having her first run since finishing fifth in the Royal Stakes on New Year's Day with Forsman keen to see the filly gain some valuable Trentham experience.
"It was a terribly-run race, a bit of a debacle really, but she just got the soft run," he said.
"We've always thought Nicoletta is a real Oaks filly so to do what she has done over a mile is very encouraging."
- NZ Racing Desk