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By Graham Potter | Sunday, October 16, 2022

The Michael Nolan trained Kisukano has always been a class act and her entry in an Open Handicap over 1000m at the Sunshine Coast on October 16 did not go unnoticed.

The now five-year-old Bel Esprit mare may have had her issues over time, most notably her manners at the starting gates, but her well above average ability has never been in doubt since it was brought to the fore very early in her career.

Kisukano won the $500 000 QTIS Two-Year-Old Jewel in only her fourth start to rubber stamp her standing at the time and the fact that win was part of a sequence of successes (including a hat trick of wins) which saw the Nolan trained runner claim six victories from her first eight starts only further enhanced her reputation.

Later she would finish third in the $150 000 Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas and the $130 000 Listed Eureka Stud Tatts Classic … as well as claim as runner-up finish in the Listed $200 000 Nudgee Stakes.

Since those first eight runs (and those six wins), Kisukano had, in fact, finished in the first three places in nine of her eighteen subsequent runs leading into this latest Sunshine Coast assignment.

While that showed a good level of consistency, the hard fact that Kisukano was only able to add one more win to her tally during those eighteen runs seemed to sell her ability short.

Clearly, another win was needed to set the record straight and that was the goal when she stepped out at the Sunshine Coast in a six-horse field, jumping at what would turn out to be generous odds of $3.30.

The mare had been superbly placed by Michael Nolan and she was also reunited for the first time in sixteen months with jockey Mark Du Plessis, the rider who had partnered Kisukano to four of those first six wins.

You could say the stars were aligning … or maybe that was with hindsight … but, either way, the mix was a winning one with Kisukano saluting by a 0.25 length margin.

Not that there was any rush to get there early in the race.

Kisukano, who was first-up, went back to second last early on, racing some five lengths off the leader … and then when back to last some six-and-a-half lengths off the pace before Du Plessis asked Kisukano to start her run approaching the home turn where she cornered three wide, now four lengths off the action where Pizoni ($9) pushed past the early leader Archer’s Paradox (the $3.10 favourite) and got to the front.

It now became a case of whether Kisukano’s class would kick in, or not … and she didn’t let anybody down as she gradually reeled in the horses in front of her before hitting the front inside the final 200m and then staying on well enough to keep pegging Pizonie back as well see off the late challenge of the of the faster finishing $6.50 chance Superare.

And there it was … the win that fans of Kisukano had been waiting for … a win that took her race record to a very healthy eight wins and ten places from twenty- seven starts.

And … oh yes … that leaves Kisukano no more than a couple of wins shy of taking her prize-money earnings to a whopping $1 million.

With $952 600 in the bank, she is just $47 400 off reaching that magical mark

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Photos: Graham Potter
Photos: Graham Potter
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