Derby Contender for Nicconi
Widden Stud’s perennial favourite Nicconi might be best known for siring champion sprinter Nature Strip, but he has more strings to his bow and showed it when unheralded three year-old Criminal Defence scored a bold win in the Group III BRC Rough Habit Plate (2000m) at Doomben on Saturday.
Trained by Peter and Will Hulbert, Criminal Defence was friendless in betting with only one win in his previous 10 starts, but he relished the step up in trip to race on the pace and forge clear to win by a length under Michael Rodd.
“I’ve told everyone that would listen that he was a Derby horse,” said Will Hulbert.
“He’s not bred to stay, but he looks like a stayer and races like a stayer, so we thought we’ll have a crack, we’re going to the Derby!”
Bred by Gainsborough Lodge, Criminal Defence passed in at Inglis Classic as a yearling and has now won over $180,000 in prizemoney.
He is the second foal and first winner from Red’s Image, who was bought by Gainsborough Lodge for $22,000 at the Inglis Broodmare Sale in 2017 when she was in foal to Nicconi with Criminal Defence the result.
An unraced daughter of Dehere (USA), Red’s Image comes from a North American female family and has a 3 x 3 double cross of the mighty champion Secretariat, who probably explains her name and also the stamina shown by Criminal Defence.
Red’s Image has not had a foal since Criminal Defence was born.
Criminal Defence is the 22nd stakes-winner for Nicconi, who also sired three year-old filly Nicci’s Fling to finish second in the $300,000 Inglis Guineas at Rosehill.
He stands at Widden Stud Victoria this spring at a fee of $27,500.