Noble planning to make his mark at Ellerslie
Lance Noble is ready to make some noise.
The quietly-spoken Matamata trainer has stealthily made his way into the top six on the trainers' premiership but plans to make his presence felt in no uncertain terms at Ellerslie tomorrow.
With 15 wins to his credit already this season, Noble has been one of New Zealand's form trainers and he heads to
Ellerslie with three strong chances, including Viadana, the $3.60 favourite for the Gr III $70,000 Eagle Technology Stakes.
''We've got nice runners. It's lovely going to the races and the team is all in form and running well,'' Noble said yesterday.
''But they are all hard to win.''
Brave Centaur and Volcano are also likely to be among the favourites for their undercard races but Noble is keen to secure his first stakes win for the season in the feature.
Viadana followed a luckless resuming run for second at Matamata last month with a gallant leadup win at Ellerslie last start despite being caught wide in running.
Three of the next five horses home behind Viadana that day - Arcenciel, Nicole Amy and Fiorano - have since run inside the top five in the Gr II Counties Cup last Saturday, giving Noble confidence his mare is in the right form for tomorrow's set weights and penalties event.
''She's come through that win well. It was a pretty hard run on her and the three weeks between races has been a good thing. We've been really pleased with her,'' Noble said.
''She's spot on. I thought she might have been a bit suspect last start going from 1200m to 1600m but she handled it really well.
''We're a great show. There's some nice horses in there with Undisclosed and Shuka but I can't see why we wouldn't be right in it on her form.''
Noble said Towkay five-year-old mare Viadana had been a slow-maturing racehorse but he believed now she was fully developed she was ready to capitalise on the patient approach taken with her in the past two seasons.
''She wasn't really a three-year-old type and even last year at four she wasn't that strong so we've had to place her well and nurse her through,'' Noble said.
''She was always consistent though and measured up to everything we put in front of her but she's just been really immature.
''She's always shown ability and we've always though highly of her and it's just been a matter of being patient with her - and for that we've got a good syndicate of owners. She's a lot stronger this season and I think we'll see the best of her from now on.''
Raced by the Easdon No 4 Racing Syndicate, which is managed by Noble's wife Leigh, Viadana has won five of her 14 starts.
''She's a real trier. She's got ability, obviously, and she always gives her best. She's had 14 starts and only once has she not finished in the first five and that was when she finished sixth,'' Noble said.
''The owners have had a great ride. She's won on Melbourne Cup day at Ellerslie, Telegraph Handicap day at Trentham, she won on Boxing Day at Ellerslie and on Matamata Breeders' Stakes day, so when she's won, it's been in good company.''
Tomorrow's Ellerslie assignment will be Viadana's second in stakes company after she ran a luckless fourth in the Gr III Cuddle Stakes (1600m) at Trentham in March.
''She was a bit unlucky there. She was stiff. She didn't get clear running till the last bit and then flew home to run fourth, so it would be nice to get black-type with her this weekend,'' Noble said.
''If she went really well tomorrow, I'd probably go to the Rich Hill Mile [at Ellerslie on New Year's Day] and then we'd look at taking her down to Wellington for the Thorndon Mile or the Anniversary [Handicap]. We'll just see but hopefully long-term it culminates at Te Aroha in the New Zealand Breeders' Stakes.
''She will go over more distance but she goes really well over 1600m and that means you can space her runs. Three or four weeks between runs doesn't worry her and while she's running well over a mile, I'll keep her at a mile.''