Key gear changes for Noble Boy at Randwick races


A year after taking out the feature race on the corresponding program, Noble Boy will step out for his latest trainer at the Winter Stakes meeting at Randwick.

The six-year-old will have his second start for Theresa Bateup in Saturday’s Heineken Handicap (1200m) after Clare Cunningham, who prepared him to win the Listed sprint 12 months ago, wound up her stable to prepare for the birth of her first child.

While Noble Boy won’t get the chance to defend his Winter Stakes title, Bateup has been happy with the horse’s progress since joining her team.

“To have a horse of his calibre in the stable is always really nice,” Bateup said.

“I know he’s had some issues previously with his feet, but he’s been ticking along nicely and we haven’t had any issues with him.

“He seems like a happy boy at the moment. He is an absolute gentleman of a horse and lovely to have around.”

Bateup said Noble Boy was in need of the run when he failed to beat a rival home first-up in the June Stakes over an unsuitable 1100m.

She expects him to improve again on whatever he shows on Saturday but is anticipating a more competitive performance after making two key gear changes and securing apprentice Ellen Hennessy to reduce his impost to 59kg.

“He has always been a bit thick in the wind and he’d never had a tongue tie on, so we thought we’d try one,” Bateup said.

“Same with the blinkers. Being an older horse now, we thought we’d try something a bit different, so he’ll have those for the first time on Saturday at the races.

“He drops back in grade and he gets three kilos off for Ellen, which will be quite nice.”

Noble Boy also enjoys wet ground, winning four of his 10 starts on soft and heavy tracks, but he does face a smart field headed by last-start winners I Am Power and Madam Legend and resuming Godolphin dup Zakat and Handspun.

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