Leading Victorian co-trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace are heading west with classy mare Bella Nipotina for a shot at Western Australia’s inaugural slot race, the $4 million The Quokka at Ascot.
Corporate bookmakers Ladbrokes announced on Monday the five-year-old daughter of Pride Of Dubai would race as their slot holder, the first interstate raider confirmed for Perth’s newest 1200m sprint on April 15.
A winner of $3.2 million in prizemoney, Bella Nipotina underlined her class by scoring an emphatic maiden Group 1 victory in the Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley last October, winning by a blistering 4 ¾ lengths.
Maher said The Quokka looms as an ideal race for Bella Nipotina.
“I think it’s a great initiative by Perth Racing to come up with the Quokka,” Maher said.
“I’ve had numerous phone calls about quite a few of our horses in the stable.
“Bella has been the one that everyone wants to talk about.
“What she did to her rivals in the Manikato showed her quality and she keeps on improving.
“She just seems to be getting that little bit stronger and a little more seasoned every time she comes in.
“I think she’s a live chance and can’t wait to get her to the races.”
Bella Nipotina and Perth’s boom filly Amelia’s Jewel, racing for Tabtouch, are the only two runners confirmed for The Quokka to this point.
Amelia’s Jewel, prepared by Simon Miller, heads the Tabtouch Quokka market at $4.20, Bella Nipotina is on the second line at $5.
Maher said Bella Nipotina’s Quokka campaign will include the G1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on March 24.