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By Graham Potter | Saturday, September 9, 2023

Three wins and one third place finish in four starts over a six-week period (from July 29 to Sep 9) … all at Saturday metropolitan level … has seen the career of the Corey and Kylie Geran trained and KO Racing owned Nikau Spur go into turbo-charge mode and take off on an exciting new trajectory.

That run of results, rubber stamped by his latest win at Doomben on Saturday, September 9, has brought just shy of a $150 000 boost to Nikau Spur’s prize-money-earnings bank balance, which means that, with a career earnings total of $321 507, he is already well on his way to doubling the money he earned in eighteen starts for the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace camp, prior to transferring the Geran stable, after only ten starts for the Geran team.

Nikau Spur won four races for Maher/Eustace up to 1600m and he was only tried beyond that 1600m trip once, at 1700m, during his time down south.

Corey and Kylie Geran followed that lead for Nikau Spur’s first six starts for the stable … not venturing beyond 1666m … until what was to become a transformative run when they asked Nikau Spur to tackle 1815m at Eagle Farm in a BM78 Handicap on July 29, which he won.

Having learnt how to win again, there looked to be no holding Nikau Spur back in his next start over 1835m when stepping up to BM90 level, but he ultimately had to settle for a third place dead-heat there, half-a-length off the winner, after fighting strongly to the line in a highly pressurized finish.

But he was only getting started.

Another win followed at that BM90 grade, this time at Doomben with a further rise in distance to 2000. That win was achieved by a 0.75 length margin … and then, just in case anyone needed further confirmation that Nikau Sour was a horse on the rise, he struck again, this time lapping up a 2200m trip, and leaving his nearest rival two lengths in arrears.

Part of Nikau’s Spurs success also has been due to the superb handling of the Geran runner by jockey Mark Du Plessis. who has been ever-present in the saddle for Nikau Spur’s last five runs … which have produced those three wins and two third place finishes when never more than half-a-length behind the winner.

This really is a case of high-level teamwork between trainer rider and horse.

In his latest outing Nikau Spur jumped as the $3.70 second favourite behind Galifianakis ($1.70).

Du Plessis allowed Nikau Spur a quiet start when jumping from barrier five in a six-horse field, before he crossed to the rail and just increased his tempo slightly to secure third place, getting the run of the race.

That leader was the main fancy Galifianakis, who held a two length advantage over Nikau Spur going out of the straight for the fist time, and Du Plessis was content to hold a watching brief all the way down the back straight and through the first half of the sweep to the home turn.

Approaching the home turn there was a moment of concern stemming from that inside run as Du Plessis had to take hold momentarily while he plotted Nikau Spur’s path out between horses but, once Du Plessis got Nikau Spur balanced up again and asked him to quicken along the path he had chosen, the Geran trained runner was quickly up to second place, only a length back on the outside of Galifianakis … and closing.

By the 300m mark Nikau Spur was right alongside the favourite.

Galifiakanis, who had a 1.5kg weight advantage over Nikau Spur, did fight on for the next 100m, but by the 200m it was clear that Nikau Spur was going the better of the two runners and he pulled clear with some authority over the concluding stages to score a very good win.

The Corey And Kylie Geran training partnership were also on the scoreboard at Goondiwindi on September 9 where The four-year-old Outreach mare Gidget played her part in supporting the ‘horses for courses’ theory when she took out a BM45 Handicap over 1200m, the opening race on the card.

It was the seventeenth start for the Corey and Kylie Geran trained runner, who had kicked off her career with a couple of runs for trainer Kelly Schweida, but it was only the second time the Geran team had elected to take the mare to Goondiwindi where she had won before … and the move again paid dividends where she came home as an equal $4 favourite under Tamara Noble, beating her market rival Easy Come by 0.80 lengths

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Photos: Darren Winningham
Photos: Darren Winningham
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