While a win this week would be Nic Nat Nui’s biggest career victory, the Healesville Cup may not have always been on the radar for the 32 month-old chaser.
“He had pulled up a bit sore from his Warragul Cup heat and he’d had a couple of weeks off. It was probably a little bit of luck that we put him in actually, if it had been around the circle we probably wouldn’t have,” Bravo said, who is no stranger to training group winners.
Prior to last week’s blistering 19.08 run from box eight, Nic Nat Nui had only had one start at Healesville when he ran second over the shorter 300 metre journey back in June.
That race was a return from a three-month layoff after an injury to his stopper bone. Bravo says the venue is great for a scenario such as that.
“We haven’t done a lot of straight track racing. If we do race there, it’s usually to give them a hit-out if they are coming back from injury to put a little bit less stress on them.
“We used it (Healesville) with him. He had a chip removed off his stopper quite a few months ago and he had a run there as his first start back. His stopper has been pulling up really well now which is good.”
Nic Nat Nui has drawn the much coveted box-one in the final. But Bravo says that is probably the complete opposite to his perfect draw.
“Box eight would have been better, but one is probably a lot better than four or five. We thought he was well drawn last week. He’s a little bit of a risky beginner at the boxes sometimes, so I think being drawn off the track, particularly in a straight line, allows him to muster a little bit. I don’t know if he will get that chance from box one.”
It may only be his third start at the grueling straight track in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges, but he proved last week that it means little for a polished chaser of the calibre of Nic Nat Nui.
“He is a bit hit and miss, it wouldn’t matter if he’d been to a track ten or twenty times, he will either miss it or he won’t. A lot of people say you’ve got to trial there or you’ve gotta do this. But he knows what he is there for, it just depends on how he gets out.”
It is not only on the racetrack where Nic Nat Nui is the consummate professional either, with Bravo describing him as close to the dream dog for a trainer.
“He’s a great dog, he’s a professional, he just wants to get out and work and he does everything right, he’s not noisy or anything. He doesn’t do anything wrong, he just wants to race really.”
Come this Sunday, with a little bit of luck, he may well race himself to Group Two glory.