Niceforo Chasing Express Path To Doncaster Dream

It’s not a bad back up to have a $1 million race as your Plan B and that’s exactly what Paul Niceforo has if Territory Express doesn’t quite realise the trainer’s Doncaster dream.

The lightly raced four-year-old has already booked a spot in the Polytrack Provincial-Midway Championships Final with his first-up win in the Kembla Grange Qualifier.

But Niceforo said if Territory Express can win Saturday’s Group 2 $300,000 ATC Foundation Ajax Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill, or the Doncaster Prelude, he’ll front up to chase the $4 million in the time honoured Randwick mile.

Trainer Paul Niceforo (Pic: Grant Guy)

“His whole target has been the Doncaster this prep,’’ Niceforo said.

“Whether he’s good enough I don’t know but I wanted to give him a chance to get in.

“It’s a very good field in the Ajax but he’s a good up and comer so I’m not frightened by any of them.”

Territory Express, $31 with TAB on Friday, did dual accept for the Rosehill meeting but largely to guard against the chance he didn’t make the Ajax field.

Niceforo said the gelding is really only starting to realise his potential this season, having recorded his three career wins to date, and that was on show in his dashing first-up Kembla Grange win under Zac Lloyd.

“Zac came and galloped him before his last win and he said it gave him a lot of confidence, and the horse came out and won,’’ he said.

“He’s had a lot of little issues in his first couple of preps we had to iron out.

“He’s matured definitely but a lot of work has gone in to get him to this standard. He put it all together the other day, what he’d been showing at home on the track.

“He’s got a nice temperament and he gives you 110 per cent.”

Evidence of the trainer’s opinion of Territory Express can be seen in him tackling the Group 3 Hawkesbury Guineas last year at just his second race start.

The Ajax is by far his biggest test and being a backmarker makes winning no race an easy task but Niceforo hopes the stronger company will lead to a genuine tempo.

“The better quality horses we come up against, being a backmarker, it’s a bigger disadvantage but as he steps up in distance it might offset it a bit,’’ he said.

“He won’t surprise me, I expect him to perform really well in that class because he has the ability to be up there with them.”

Territory Express is on the equal second line of betting for the Polytrack Provincial-Midway Championships Final at $8.

– Racing NSW

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