Niptious might be nine years old but he is in vintage form, according to trainer Danny Curran.
The veteran gelding will take on a classy field in the $100,000 CFV Great Strides Handicap (2000m) at Caulfield on Saturday and is poised to make the running.
Among his rivals will be Clang and Bang, winner of three of his past four starts and Le Roi, Tony McEvoy’s German-bred import.
But Curran believes Niptious will be highly competitive.
“There’s plenty of horses with form in the race but Niptious deserves his shot,” Curran said.
Curran has forecast a quickly-run race with Niptious expected to be near the head of the pack.
“He doesn’t have to be in front but he doesn’t want to be waiting for a sit and sprint.”
Now based at Bendigo after moving from Kyneton, Curran said Niptious was close to his best form, despite his age.
“The old boy is flying and I have to give a lot of credit to Carryn Downie, our apprentice, for rejuvenating him,” Curran said.
“He seems to have really come on for her and reinvented himself.
“He’s loving what he’s doing. We’ve just moved to Bendigo and I thought that would be a problem for him but he seems to be thriving in that environment and giving his all.”
Curran said he had been impressed with Niptious throughout his current campaign.
“He’s done very well this whole preparation and the only race he hasn’t run a place in was at Moonee Valley a couple of weeks ago where he wasn’t ridden to perfection,” he said.
“He’s in as good form now as he has been for a long time.
“He ran fifth in the Moonee Valley Cup in 2010 and that’s his peak obviously and I think he’s going pretty close to as well as that now.
“He keeps reinventing himself. He’s an old marvel,” he said.