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In-form Nictock faces new challenges

Country horse Nictock will have a second test on a wet track when he runs at Randwick.

After building a solid foundation of seven wins from eight starts, Nictock returns to a wet track at Randwick, the scene of his only defeat.

Mudgee trainer Cameron Crockett is interested to learn whether that third in June on a heavy track was a one-off.

Randwick was into the heavy range on race eve on Friday, conditions that are likely to challenge the four-year-old in the Benchmark 86 Handicap (1000m).

Nictock hasn’t raced since mid-September with Crockett unhappy with his 61.5kg in a race last Saturday week.

He has 58.5kg on Saturday as Crockett contemplates a step up to black-type in the future.

Nictock has drew barrier one but the weather has left Crockett wary.

“I’d love this draw on a good three. We’d be straight to the front and ‘catch us if you can’ but in saying that you’ve got to go and find about his ability to handle a wet track,” Crockett said.

“This is probably the stage of the game to find out of there is a chink in his armour.”

Crockett forgave Nictock for his third behind Clipper in a Highway Handicap in June.

“The track was just bottomless and the horse that beat him was rock-hard fit,” Crockett said.

With Listed races on the wish-list for Nictock’s next campaign, Crockett is realistic about putting his record on the line against the likes of the Joe Pride-trained favourite Tactical Advantage.

“If we could possibly go to Listed company you don’t want to be finding out whether he can run on a wet track by wasting runs at that stage of the game,” Crockett said.

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