By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Big things are being tipped for promising three-year-old Nicholas Cage this spring.
The Cambridge pacer posted his third win from just five starts when victorious in the Grove Manitowoc Mobile Pace (1700m) at his local track on Thursday night.
He won first-up at Alexandra Park last month and trainers Andrew and Lyn Neal had been over the moon with his work in the lead-up to Thursday.
“The way he has been training he has just gone to another level,” Andrew Neal said.
His connections were confident of a bold showing and their charge duly delivered, running away to a 1-1/4 length victory over Makara, with a further head back to Whooshka in third.
“It was what we expected,” Neal said. “I said to Matty (White, driver) to lead out of the gate, but the other one got half a length on him and crossed, so he did the right thing to let him cross and then go around him.
“We always wanted him up on the front end in this race.”
The Neals are excited about the Art Major gelding’s future, which will likely involve a trip to Addington Raceway later in the spring to tackle some feature targets.
“You don’t win three from five without being a bit of class, he is a class horse,” Neal said.
“We will be looking at the three-year-old races with him moving forward.”
His more immediate targets will lie at Alexandra Park where the Neals have identified a nice stepping-stone in a couple of weeks.
“We will probably go to Auckland in a fortnight for a three-year-old race,” Neal said.
“We want to just space his races out a little bit. It has been three weeks since his last start and it suits him. I think he will back up in two weeks okay.”
Nicholas Cage was purchased out of Leanach Lodge’s 2020 New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred National Yearling Sale for $40,000 by Eynon Farms.
He may have some company on his float trip south, with the Neals also pondering taking Harder Than Diamonds south if they can sort out some steering issues with the mare.
Also by Art Major, the four-year-old has won six of her 16 starts and finished runner-up to Mimi E Coco in the Listed NZSS Northern Mares Classic (2200m) in May.
While she has won her only start going left-handed, her trainers would like to fine-tune her manners going that way around before finalising a trip south to Addington Raceway.
“We are just working through a few left-handed issues with her, right-handed she has gone well,” Neal said.
“She has won at Cambridge, but she hasn’t done it nicely. She has been a bit awkward that way round.
“If we are happy enough after she trials here (Cambridge) in about a month we will initially head to Auckland and then possiblly south for the Cup meeting.”