Hickman hopeful dry won't prevent Bellagio hat-trick

She’s been flying on wet ground this month but can Our Bellagio Miss transfer her dazzling form to a dry track at Randwick on Saturday?

Trainer GREGORY HICKMAN and TOMMY BERRY after the winning Bowermans Office Furniture Shorts.
Trainer GREGORY HICKMAN and TOMMY BERRY after the winning Bowermans Office Furniture Shorts. Picture: Steve Hart

We'll find out when Our Bellagio Miss chases a hat-trick in the Fujitsu General Handicap (1100m) as she steps into Benchmark 88 grade for the first time in her 20 starts.

Trainer Greg Hickman said while there's no doubt the mare is racing at the top of her game at the moment he doesn't believe that can be entirely contributed to the heavy tracks.

"She's always had plenty of ability. All I know is she's going enormous at the moment,'' Hickman said.

"I've got her tying up under control at the moment which I think is a big issue. When we had it under control last time she put two or three together albeit back in grade."

Our Bellagio Miss has placed just once in six starts on a good track but it was in a good class Benchmark 78, on The Gong program, at Kembla Grange behind Hulk last November.

The four-year-old, $5 with TAB on Wednesday, sat outside the leader in her latest win over 1000m at Randwick two weeks ago and roared away to win by almost two lengths. That followed a win in the first edition of the Midway Handicap on July 3.

Hickman said if anything the mare has improved in the coat since the Randwick win and what he's seeing on the track at home says she's going just as well.

So much so he said he'd love to have a 1000m-1100m fillies and mares stakes race to aim at in the next couple of weeks.

"As I said when she ran last time, in her work her sectionals for the last 200m have been similar to the last time she's run and they were similar on Tuesday again,'' he said.

"She is up in grade, she's taking on the boys but it's a winnable race."

Rising nine-year-old Epic Dan is aiming to give Hickman a second Midway Handicap (1300m) to go with Our Bellagio Miss's win in the inaugural $100,000 race earlier this month.

The Warwick Farm trainer is a big fan of the concept and hopes Epic Dan can break through and gain the same confidence as his stablemate did from her win.

"It's a good idea to have the Midways on the Saturday,'' he said.

"When Our Bellagio Miss won the first one it gave her the confidence to come out and win again.

"It was a super run by Epic Dan the other day, just probably got too far back."

The gelding finished fifth behind Lord Zoulander on his favoured heavy ground two weeks ago and he'll be reunited with Nash Rawiller for Saturday's race, where he's a $10 chance.

Rawiller hasn't ridden the horse since April last year but they combined for a win on that occasion and he has a record of two wins and a second from five rides.

"He's been a wonderful horse. Nash knows him a little bit too, he's won on him before, and I'm happy enough with him,'' Hickman said.

Meanwhile, Hickman has welcomed stable star Eleven Eleven and the talented Travest back to his stable with January's Magic Millions meeting once again the target for Eleven Eleven.

Racing and Sports