Group Three Quinella for Nicconi
It all looked to be going pear-shaped for the odds-on favourite State Solicitor in Saturday’s Group III WATC Colonel Reeves Stakes at Ascot, but not at the winning post where it counted.
Trapped three back on the rails, with nowhere to go, coming into the straight, William Pike, not for the first time, found the narrowest of seams to snatch victory from defeat.
Charging between runners, State Solicitor kept up his phenomenal winning strike rate to defeat the 4yo mare Caipirinha by a short-neck to credit Widden Stud’s Nicconi with a 1-2 finish.
Winning owner Bob Peters admitted things looked bleak on the home turn.
“I was thinking we always hope for an inside barrier but I was wishing we hadn’t have got it,” Peters said.
“He (Pike) was in a lot of trouble and it took a great effort to get him out of it.”
Remarkably, it was the first stakes win for State Solicitor who advances his record to nine wins from 12 starts with earnings of $427,900.
The Grant and Alana Williams-trained gelding was highly enough regarded to start in Group I Winterbottom Stakes 12 months ago where he finished an honourable sixth behind the winner Takedown and he will head down the same path this year.
A homebred for Peters Investments, State Solicitor is a half-brother to Group II Western Australian Derby winner Respondent.
They are out of the top-class mare Avenida Madero whose 13 wins included the 2004 renewal of the Colonel Reeves Stakes in addition to the Group II WATC Lee Steere Stakes, Group III AJ Scahill Stakes, Group III Roma Cup and Listed Jungle Mist Classic.
Avenida Madero foaled earlier this month producing a filly by Nicconi.
State Solicitor becomes the 14th stakes winner for hugely popular Nicconi who covered a career-high 227 mares in 2016. His fee was raised from $11,000 to $16,500 and he is fully booked this spring.