Rejuvenated jockey Danny Nikolic is planning an assault on winning his second feature race of the Caulfield carnival with the ride on New Zealand five-year-old Red Ruler awaiting in Saturday’s $2.5 million Caulfield Cup.Nikolic was at his frontrunning best when securing victory in last weekend’s $1m Caulfield Guineas on Starspangledbanner, and the jockey feels Red Ruler has had the right preparation to give the Caulfield Cup a shake.”I think he’s got a great hope,” Nikolic said yesterday at trackwork. ”His four runs back from a spell have all been good. Now he’s just got to find that extra length to be able to win and with the blinkers going on he can do that.”Red Ruler has drawn barrier 14 in the Caulfield Cup, a race in which he finished sixth last year with Corey Brown in the saddle.”He’s a go-forward horse so he can offset that alley with his tactical speed,” Nikolic said.”And he is proven at the mile and a half [2400m], he did run second to Nom Du Jeu in the AJC Australian Derby last year. And he has handled rain-affected going. Any conditions will suit him.”Red Ruler was a last-start fifth in the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington behind Melbourne Cup favourite Efficient, which beat him home by just 1.3 lengths.”He has been consistent throughout his whole campaign this time in work,” Nikolic said. ”It now comes down to whether or not he is good enough on the day. He ran sixth last year but was still a little bit immature.”I’ve got no doubt he is a better horse this year than he was last year. I worked him Tuesday on the course proper at Caulfield and I made him do a solid gallop. He has come on fitness-wise through the campaign so he was ready for a hard hit-out.”In addition to winning the Caulfield Guineas, Nikolic also combined with Flemington trainer Danny O’Brien to win at Caulfield on Wednesday on Spacecraft.He will ride Rachine (Arrowfield Plate), Savaging (Jayco Plate) and Glam Slam (Pure Blonde Plate) for O’Brien at Caulfield on Saturday while top-class mare Hot Danish, trained at Randwick by Les Bridge, will be his mount in the Harrolds Stakes. ”She’s drawn nicely in seven,” Nikolic said. ”I rode her back from an ordinary barrier last start at Flemington and in hindsight it was the wrong choice. All things being equal she should come out and win this weekend. I’m just hoping that the track is not too affected because her best form is on dead to good ground. If it becomes too wet then that would become a problem. But if that isn’t the case then she is just too good for those. I’m not worried about any of the opposition, I think she’ll beat them all. I know Neroli goes well but when she beat home Hot Danish in the Queen Of The Turf the track was very much rain-affected and Neroli picked her up late.”Neroli is better suited when the track is wet, I think she felt the harder track a bit at Flemington last time when she raced Hot Danish. On a wet track Neroli is the only one with a genuine chance of beating Hot Danish this time.”Included in Nikolic’s other rides are Berlioz (David Jones Cup) and Huxssen (Perri Cutten Caulfield Sprint) while he is excited about hopping on O’Brien’s team. ”Savaging for Danny O’Brien is a horse that I think is a sneaky hope heading towards the Victoria Derby but if that is to be the case you’d want to see him performing in this race on the weekend, though,” he said. ”He warmed up when the race was all over last time.”Damien Oliver rode Rachine when she raced at Moonee Valley last time out and Nikolic said ”she should have won, she got held up when she needed a run”.Glam Slam hasn’t raced since winning the Creswick Stakes at Flemington in June but Nikolic expects a forward showing. ”She won the Creswick up the straight and has had a bit of time off since then but Danny should have her primed to do something fresh even though she will strip fitter for the run,” he said.”Overall, I’ve got a good book of rides and I’ve been having a good trot. To win a Caulfield Cup this weekend would be great for the confidence as we move deeper into the spring carnival.”
Nanjing Night Net

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