Rest to test if Slick Nick's the pick slick
HIGHLY-RATED six-year-old Slick Nick will attempt a comeback today in the $15,000 Paul Nielsen Hydraulics Ballina Newmarket Handicap (1000m), 14 months after his last start.
The Felicity Firth-trained gelding has not raced since he ran second in the John Carlton Cup at the Grafton carnival in July last year.
But after throat surgery and more false starts than Linford Christie, the sprinter poses a major threat in the second feature race at the Ballina Cup meeting.
“It's exciting that he's back but I'm nervous that he's racing,” Firth said yesterday.
“I just hope he comes through it 100 per cent. He's had a few bumps along the way. He's been in and out, and in and out, and been sick on and off, and on and off.
“We finally found out he had a throat problem and he had a surgeon operate on that in February.
“Silly little things were always happening to him and we think he picked up a virus in the paddock which caused a problem with the flap in his throat.”
Firth believes she's given Slick Nick plenty of time to get back to his best.
“He's probably had more than he's needed because he had so many problems we gave him extra time and he seems fine now but we won't know for certain until race day,” she said.
“That's also why we have Michael Cahill on him because he will look after him.”
Firth and a syndicate purchased Slick Nick from Victorian trainer Jenny Gillis after previously racing Slick Nick's half-brother Umatrick.
She was initially offered the gelding for $45,000, which Firth thought too much, before Slick Nick was sent to the Adelaide Magic Millions with a price tag of $80,000.
He was passed in so Gillis raced him with great effect, winning four from nine starts before again offering him to Firth.
“He was still expensive but it ($30,000) was a bit cheaper but he's paid for himself so far,” the Tucabia trainer said.
“He's a very good horse, very good on his feet. He could be five lengths off and in two strides be in front. He's a big, ugly, raw-boned bugger.
“He's a nice horse, very full-on.
“There is no malice in him but you have to watch him.”