Nessy Will Try To Emulate His Full Brother, Bullards Alley, In Canadian International

In 2017, the late Bullards Alley shipped in from Kentucky and was a 10 ¾ length winner while returning a record $87.90 in the Grade 1 Pattison Canadian International at Woodbine.

On Saturday, his full brother, Nessy, will be looking to replicate the feat in the 82nd running of the $800,000 showpiece over 1 ½ miles of turf.

Trainer Ian Wilkes was well aware of the pedigree connection and acknowledged that as one reason for Nessy’s targeting the Canadian International. Another was that Nessy had not been effective at Kentucky Downs, which has been a logical geographical target.

“He doesn’t like Kentucky Downs—he’s never run good there,” said Wilkes, who had raced Nessy at the previous three editions of that abbreviated meeting. “That’s the only track he’s never run good.”

So, after sending out Nessy for a closing seventh-place finish in the 1 ¼-mile Kentucky Downs Preview Turf Cup at Ellis Park on August 4, Wilkes set his sights on Woodbine.

“We were always earmarking him for the two races at Woodbine this year,” said Wilkes, who conditions Nessy for Sierra Farm.

Nessy launched the first phase of his two-race Woodbine mission when he shipped up from his Keeneland base to finish second behind English shipper Old Persian in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer, run over the Canadian International course and distance on September 14.

“I thought he ran a very good race,” said Wilkes. “He ran into a buzzsaw, the Godolphin horse. He’s a legitimate Grade 1 horse, he’s very good. For him to nose out two other really good horses at the wire, to get second, was a huge performance.”

Nessy, whose career highlight to date was a rallying 2018 victory in Santa Anita’s Grade 3 San Juan Capistrano over 1 ¾ miles of turf, already had started nine times when he joined the Wilkes barn for the start of his four-year-old campaign.

“I was fortunate—he had some conditions,” said Wilkes. “And, the horse always tries hard. That’s one thing you like about him. Some races he wasn’t good enough, but he really tries hard. And, I think he’s starting to get better and better this year.”

Wilkes believes that a change in attitude has helped Nessy raise his game.

“Early on, I thought he wanted to be in the race a little more,” said Wilkes. “He’d been very quirky to ride. One day he’d break bad, and put himself back. Next day he’d break, and he’d be up near the front. These days he’s enjoying his racing, where he just relaxes early and finishes.

“He’s a cool little horse. He’s just a pleasure to be around. Everybody loves Nessy.”

The post Nessy Will Try To Emulate His Full Brother, Bullards Alley, In Canadian International appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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