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By Graham Potter | Sunday, October 16, 2022

How good was it to see Mark Du Plessis reunited with the Michael Nolan trained Kisukano in an Open Handicap over 1000m at the Sunshine Coast on October 16.

It had been sixteen months since Du Plessis last rode the now five-year-old mare with whom he had established such a great record in the early stages of her career.

Kisukano won four of her five starts as a two-year-old … including the $500 000 QTIS Two-Year-Old Jewel in which she beat home Rothfire … and Du Plessis was in the saddle for three of those victories, including the big one.

Kisukano then proceeded to win her first two starts as a three-year-old. Du Plessis rode her on one of those occasions meaning that he had partnered her to four of the six wins she had accumulated in only eight starts at that time.

Du Plessis remained Kisukano’s jockey of choice for most of her three-year-old campaign, but he did gradually start giving way to other riders, notably the likes of Michael Rodd, who finished third on Kisukano in the Gold Coast Guineas, and Kerrin McEvoy, who won on her in the Darby McCarthy.

In the ten runs since Du Plessis last rode Kisukano on June 5, 2021, the daughter of Bel Esprit had raced ten times.

While that particular sequence had not produced a win, her underlying talent still shone through with placed finishes in both the Listed Tatts Classic and the Listed Nudgee Stakes.

Now, with order between the Kisuikano and Du Plessis partnership was restored, it was always going to be interesting to see if they could revive their winning touch of old.

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 being reunited with jockey Mark Du Plessis, you could say the stars were aligning … or maybe that was with hindsight … but, either way, the mix was a winning one with Kisukano duly saluting by a 0.25 length margin.

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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