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By Graham Potter | Saturday, May 18, 2024

While punters on the ‘good thing’ I Wish I Win would have winced watching the final strides of the Doomben 10 000 contest as Bella Nipotina arrived with a late flourish to peg back the big race favourite on the line, few could deny that the ultra-consistent, resilient, Ciaron Maher trained Bella Nipotina and jockey Craig Williams deserved their success.

In racing parlance, I Wish I Win had every chance to secure another Group 1 win and Bella Nipotina had every excuse to lose.

While I Wish I Win landed in a perfect position on the rail at the break, Bella Nipotina was slow away. Then, when it mattered most in the home straight, I Wish I Win, who had saved ground, hit the front at the 200m mark ... looking good ... while Bella Nipotina had been forced to track wide to gain clear galloping room leaving her with still four lengths to make up at that stage.

Bella Nipotina cut that deficit to two lengths with 100m left to run but, with I Wish I Win not stopping and running a great race in his own right, it needed an almighty effort from the Ciaron Maher trained mare if she was to come home over the top of I Wish I Win ... and that is exactly what she produced in a Doomben 10 000 thriller to score a last stride victory.

Craig Willaims, as ever, was professionalism and humility personified when talking about the win.

“Yes, Bella Nipotina deserved the win. Every horse deserves it. Every team deserves it when it happens ... because everyone in this game is working hard to be there on the day and get the result,” said Williams.

“It gave me a great thrill to win on her. She is ultra-consistent, got conditions to suit ... and she put her heart and soul and ability on the line. She has been a part of my racing over the last three years and to win another Group 1 win on her was fantastic.”

And as far as the tardy start and the passage that Bella Nipotina followed during the race was concerned?

“The plan was to use our barrier draw, but she had a different idea, however, I was in a position on her to be able to make decisions because I was on a quality horse,” answered Williams. “She has heart, tenacity and resilience.

“She gives me that confidence, so credit to her ... credit to Ciaron Maher and his stable ... credit to the owners, she like one of their children.”

He won’t say it ... so let’s add in a line here.

Credit to Williams for an outstanding ride, one which earned him his seventy-seventh Group 1 win.

Trainer Ciaron Maher was left clearly in awe of Bella Nipotina.

‘She’s phenomenal,” said Maher. “She actually hasn’t been in a stable more than three days over the last two weeks.

“She was in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Newcastle and now Brisbane.

“She ran second in the TJ. On the Monday after that she jumped on a plane and went to Perth. She’s come back and now she is in Queensland ... she is an absolutely unbelievable mare.

“I’d just like to thank everyone who has had anything to do with her. She takes a bit of managing, but she is phenomenal.

“I thought the conditions ... the track and everything ... really suited her and then the way we jumped from the barriers I thought we were no chance.

“I think every one in four she muffs the start, but Craig knows her very well. He took his medicine. That was unbelievable.”

Although I Wish I Win was floored in the last seconds of the final round here, he lost no followers with the result and there is little doubt he will be back to fight another day.

It is also interesting to note that, while the final I Wish I Win, Bella Nipotina chase to the line had everybody transfixed, Espiona (third), Private Eye (fourth) and Stefi Magnetica (fifth) all finished less than a length-and-a-half behind the winner.

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Photos: Graham Potter
Photos: Graham Potter
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