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Nicky Chilcott candidly admits the career of Juice Brogden didn’t pan out as well as she might have hoped.
Expectations were high after she went within a neck of winning the 2017 Northern Oaks, splitting brilliant stablemates Partyon and Spanish Armada at the finish.
But she never really kicked on from that and her win in the $25,000 feature pace at Alexandra Park on Friday night was her first in New Zealand for 18 months.
She’s been racing well enough – a couple of cheap wins during an Aussie campaign earlier this year and plenty of placings have ensued – but the transition to top open class mare never quite happened.
“I just think she probably didn’t turn out to be as good as we hoped,” Chilcott said matter-of-factly.
“There have been a few speed bumps along the way – she was always behind the 8-ball during her trip over to Australia.
“She ended up being stuck on the tarmac for hours and that put us on the backfoot from the outset.
“But she’s still been racing consistently and it was great to finally pick up a nice win for her owners.”
Among them are her breeders, Graham and Judy Bowen, who Chilcott says has been a huge supporter of hers for many years.
“They’ve been such loyal and supportive owners of mine for so long.
“Graham couldn’t stop smiling tonight and that’s what makes it all worthwhile.”
Juice Brogden is destined for the broodmare paddock soon, and likely a date with Art Major, but not before tackling a race on her home track.
“She’ll definitely race in the Te Awamutu Cup at the end of the month.
“Graham is the Chairman at Cambridge and it’s a race he really wants to win so we’ll set her for that.
“At the moment that’s our only real plan with her.”
Chilcott was quickly brought back to earth, quite literally, just a few races later.
Her other stable runner on the night, Smartly Spoken, locked wheels soon after the start of the maiden trot and she was tipped out of the sulky.
Chilcott was a little ginger after the fall, but otherwise unscathed.
“Hero to zero,” she quipped after being cleared by paramedics.
The horse carried on with the field for half a lap before some excellent work by the Clerk of the Course, Ron Weller, saw him reined in.
Kumeu trainer Tim Vince admits he was surprised by the win of Mister Slick in the R40-51 pace.
“I’ve never had a horse work as badly before a race as this horse did last Sunday.
“He could barely keep up – you wouldn’t have believed it unless you saw it with your own eyes.”
Despite training 56 winners over the past three seasons, Vince was more than willing to ask for help in this case.
“I was scratching my head so I rung Reidman (Steven Reid) and asked him for advice.
“He told me to take the hopples off and canter him on Wednesday, so that’s what we did.”
It did the trick, because Mister Slick capitalised on a cozy run in the trail behind hot favourite, Nurburgring, to win in the hands of James Stormont.
It was the son of Mister Big’s second win for Vince after he purchased him cheaply out of the South Island late last year.
For his troubles, Reid was also rewarded with a win on the night, consistent mare Sea Change finally cracking maidens.