Group One-winning trainer Nikki Hurdle will swap out horsepower for horses when she heads to Trentham on Tuesday.
The Awapuni horsewoman will take time away from her job at Manawatu Toyota to line-up her in-form mare Express Yourself in the Woodridge Homes 1100.
The daughter of Shamexpress has hardly missed a beat since joining Hurdle’s barn last year after being purchased off gavelhouse.com for $6,500 – going on to win four races for Hurdle, including her last three.
“She has been going awesome – over and above expectations,” Hurdle said.
“She has been an absolute gem. I can’t believe how lucky we have been. We bought her off gavelhouse quite cheaply and she has been a real find.”
Hurdle is hoping her five-year-old mare can continue her good run of form at Trentham, where she will be partnered by three-kilogram claiming apprentice Jim Chung.
“We are hoping the track will remain firm, she is better on top of the ground,” Hurdle said. “We are expecting a good run. It is a small field, but it is tidy.”
It’s been a month between runs for Express Yourself, with Hurdle giving the mare an 850m trial at Woodville earlier this month to keep her up to the mark ahead of Saturday’s test.
“There is no grass track at Awapuni to gallop them on at the moment, so we are having to think outside the box and be a bit creative and do things I wouldn’t normally,” Hurdle said. “We just have to do these things like go to the jump-outs and trials. She also uses the swimming pool a lot.”
If Express Yourself performs up to expectations, a tilt at Group One company could be on the horizon.
“I am just taking it quietly with her, she is still learning and progressing. I don’t want to get too carried away but she will be nominated for the Telegraph (Gr.1, 1200m) if she is still going well.”
Elite-level racing is nothing new to Hurdle, who trained a couple of topline thoroughbreds in a two-decade professional training career, including Aerosmith who won the Gr.1 Wellington Cup (3200m) and Gr.1 International Stakes (2000m).
“I trained professionally a few years ago and we had Group One wins and horses in Australia. I decided to get back into it and we got this (Express Yourself) horse,” Hurdle said.
“We just do it for fun and we are having a ball.”