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Guineas aim for talented Ellerslie winner

1 October 2017, 3:08 p.m.

Promising three-year-old Notabadcraftsman took his next step towards a start in the Gr. 1 2000 Guineas at Riccarton when he scored in determined fashion at Ellerslie on the weekend.

The leggy chestnut had impressed when winning on debut at Tauranga in late August and again caught the eye as he ploughed through a tough Heavy 11 surface to defeat the older gallopers over 1400 metres at just his second start.

Notabadcraftsman Photo: Trish Dunell

Rider Jason Waddell bided his time on the Mastercraftsman gelding before angling between runners to swiftly join issue early in the run home. Notabadcraftsman and Innamincka set down to fight out the race in the closing stages with Notabadcraftsman proving too strong in the run to the line.

Trainer Craig Phelan paid tribute to Waddell after the race as he set about forming a plan to get Notabadcraftsman to Riccarton for his Group One mission.

“It was a top ride by Jason as when he was headed he angled the horse closer to Innamincka which got him going again as he could see who he was fighting against,” he explained.

“That’s why you put those top riders on so they can teach them about racing when they are as inexperienced as this guy is.

“He has plenty of ability but still has a lot of maturing to do as he hasn’t filled out just yet so when he does we could have quite a talent to work with.”

Phelan has always held his charge in high regard after receiving him from co-owners Chris Faulkner and Paul Bibby, who purchased him for $37,500 at the 2016 NZB Ready To Run Sale.

“I liked him when I first saw him and he has come on in leaps and bounds from day one,” he said.

“We threw a nomination in for the 2000 Guineas based on what we had seen and he hasn’t disappointed us yet.

“I know it’s a long way to get to a race like that but while is on the way up and winning you want to give him every possible chance to do it.

“He has won on pretty heavy tracks so far but Jason is of the opinion he will handle it on a better surface. You never know, we could get rain for the next two months and he might strike a heavy track at Riccarton so you have to take your chances.”

Phelan will now send Notabadcraftsman to the paddock for a week before deciding on his next assignment on the road to Riccarton. – NZ Racing Desk