Rising star Niccanova remains in the nominations for the Doncaster Mile but will need to produce an exceptional run on Saturday to remain on course for the Group One race.
Niccanova will make his much-anticipated return after a nine-month break in the Hamilton Hotel Handicap at Doomben.
He will be having his first run since finishing an unlucky third in the Group Two Queensland Guineas at Doomben in June.
He had won his previous start in the Group Three Fred Best Stakes at Eagle Farm which gave him an automatic entry to the Group One Stradbroke Handicap.
But trainer Steve Tregea elected to stick to his own age group and tackle the Guineas.
It may seem ambitious to be talking about a start in the biggest 1600m race in Australia but many experts rate Niccanova one of the most promising horses in Queensland.
Toowoomba-based Tregea has knocked back several big offers for Niccanova who has won four of his six starts.
Tregea said he had taken plenty of time with Niccanova and was hoping to reap the benefits this campaign.
“I am not getting carried away and he would have to do something exceptional on Saturday for us to continue with any thoughts of the Doncaster,” Tregea said.
“But he has pleased me and he has to start somewhere and we have to have an aim.
“He has had a jump-out and missed another one on Tuesday but he worked very strongly that day anyway.”
The likelihood of a wet track on Saturday holds no fears for Tregea.
“He is unbeaten in three starts on wet going although his win on heavy track was at Eagle Farm which is a different surface to Doomben.”
Tregea said he had a back-up of a start in the Goldmarket Handicap at the Gold Coast on Saturday week if there were any concerns about the Doomben meeting.
Apprentice Michael Murphy will claim 3kg on Niccanova.
“I went for an apprentice when I saw the original nominations but Chris Waller put in a late entry which forced us down the weights,” Tregea said.
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