Jack Milner
2 minute read
21 Jul 2016
6:15 am

Blinkers to assist Nitrogen

Jack Milner

Stenger and Strydom team up with Honolua Bay.

HEADGEAR. Nitrogen will be running in blinkers for the first time when she lines up for Race 6 over 1200m on the Vaal Classic track today.

Nitrogen has always looked to have some talent but at this stage of her career the daughter of Tiger Ridge has yet to prove the accuracy of that belief. The three-year-old has only raced six times for a win and two places but trainer Alec Laird has decided to run her in blinkers for the first time when she lines up in Race 6 in a MR 75 Handicap for fillies and mares over 1200m on the Vaal Classic track today.

It is always difficult to work out why a trainer fits a set of blinkers. In general it is supposed to help the runner concentrate better on the race at hand and not be out off by other factors surrounding her.

However, sometimes it just the last act of a desperate trainer who is just hoping they will result in some sort of improvement. In this case there could be another reason and that is because she is coming back in distance as her last few starts have been over 1450m and 1400m. The blinkers could make her a little keener so she does not get left behind.

Nitrogen was good enough to win on debut and that was over 1160m at Turffontein. She was thrown into the deep end in her next start and contested the Listed Swallow Stakes over the same course and distance but despite some betting support, finished seventh, beaten 5.40 lengths.

She might enjoy this drop in distance which is coupled with a drop in class and could give leading apprentice another winner. Murray must be looking forward to the Equus Awards next month as he almost has the champion apprentice title in his grasp. In fact, short of a miracle for Lyle Hewitson who has performed superbly in just six months as an apprentice, Murray can start popping open the champagne corks.

Dianne Stenger has started to have a couple of winners following a dry spell and one always needs to pay attention when she teams up with Piere Strydom. He rides Honolua Bay for the yard and they look the main threat to Nitrogen.

On a line through Bally Swiss Nitrogen should have the measure of the daughter of Argonaut but there is not that much in it and a bit of luck either way could affect the outcome.

Spring Dance had some useful runs early in her career but was rested after finishing  unplaced behind Madame Dubois in the Grade 3 Three Troikas Stakes over 1450m. She must have been in need of her last run when a four-length fifth behind Jin-Go-Lo-Ba and unless she suffers any ill-effects in her second run after a layoff Spring Dance must have a winning chance.