FRIDAY: March 27, 2020: HAWKESBURY trainer Richard Nutman bought two fillies at Book 2 of the 2018 Karaka yearling sale in New Zealand.
He took both the now three-year-olds to Narromine – the only thoroughbred race meeting held in Australia – yesterday, and went close to returning home with a double.
Nutman became the 23rd Hawkesbury trainer to enter the winning list this season and made the 9 ½ hour return trip well worthwhile when solidly backed Grace Bay ($6.50) landed the Maiden Plate (1100m) before Choosday Nights ($4.20) finished a gutsy third in the Maiden Plate (1300m).
Grace Bay, named after one of the world’s best beach destinations in the Caribbean, and Choosday Nights (by Jimmy Choux), are raced by Nutman’s wife Bernadette and daughter Claire, the former jockey who is married to Chad Lever, who rode the stablemates yesterday.
“Mum and Dad were in New Zealand on holidays two years ago and went to the Karaka sale,” Claire Lever explained this morning.
“We had Kathaire (by Grace Bay’s sire Per Incanto) and also a relation on the dam’s side, but they thought Grace Bay would bring too much money for what they were prepared to pay.
“They bought Choosday Nights first, and then decided not to let Grace Bay go either when she wasn’t bringing as much money as they expected.”
Choosday Nights fetched $22,500 and Grace Bay $30,000.
“Dad has given both fillies plenty of time, and they look to have bright futures,” Claire Lever said.
“We were keen on Grace Bay yesterday, and the other filly (Choosday Nights) was a late foal and will improve a lot.
“She is so tough and is going to appreciate further distance. Chad felt she was going nowhere on the home turn yesterday, but she wouldn’t give up and kept battling right to the post.”
Chad and Claire Lever honeymooned in New York after their wedding last year, but Grace Bay (the beach) is definitely on the agenda for a holiday when overseas travel sometime in the future again becomes a reality.
Nutman’s promising mare Meditate, a lightly-raced So You Think five-year-old who has won three of her four starts, is back in work.
“We had a number of issues with her leading up to her return at Canterbury last December,” Claire Lever said.
“The smoke from the bushfires really affected her, and she pulled up terrible after her first defeat in that Canterbury race.
“She subsequently underwent minor throat surgery and is fine.”
. The Nutman stable is in for a busy time in the new season.
“We’ve got three two-year-olds and another five yearlings, so there is plenty to look forward to,” Claire Lever said.