At 70, trainer set for biggest race
By ADAM HICKS firstname.lastname@example.org BALLINA trainer Kevin Nipperess has left his run on the big races until late in his career.
At 70 years old, Nipperess regards himself as semi-retired, yet today he has a runner in the biggest race of his 50-year career.
His prized colt Court Award will start in the $1 million Magic Millions Trophy for three-year-olds (1400m) on the Gold Coast.
"I am getting nervous," he said.
"It still affects me a bit. Blokes say to me they can't believe I still get excited with a win but that's just me.
"I still get a thrill out of it. When you're a horse person and you put a lot of work into them and they're your life, to get a win is really something.
"I've never had one in a race as big as this before. You're sort of a bit on edge.
"This is stepping up. But you need to have the horse to do the job. This is the first time I've had a young horse that's been capable of going on with something like that."
Nipperess has been setting him for this race the past three months.
"We've really aimed him at this," he said.
"That was the reason why we took him to Sydney, to get prizemoney so we could get him in this."
On the line is a cool $570,000 for the winner.
"It's big bikkies all right," he said. "It won't be too much for an old battler.
"We're in it and we're going to have a go at it.
"Court Award is No 12 on the list of prizemoney but there is probably only four or five that have won big prizemoney, and the rest there's not a great lot between them.
"We're going in with a lot of hope. We know it's a really, really tough race but we're confident with his Wyong and Rosehill runs that he's going to be competitive."
Court Award was at $26 in the weekend markets, a dramatic improvement from the $100 bookmakers had offered in Magic Millions three-year-old race at Wyong earlier this month.
"He's been well respected in the market and it's hard to say what will happen," Nipperess said.
"I'm not interested in the betting side of it. "The prizemoney is more than enough for us.
"But people who backed him at Wyong should stick with him each way; they'll get a run for their money, I'll guarantee it."