McEvoy mare back from long break

Stakes placed mare Naiconi is making a long-awaited return to racing at Caulfield.

Naiconi winning at Sandown in Australia.
Naiconi winning at Sandown in Australia. Picture: Racing photos.

After a long lay-off, only so much work can be achieved on the training track before it is time for a return to racing. 

The Tony and Calvin Mcevoy-trained Naiconi will be making her first appearance in 62 weeks when she lines up in the Group 3 Geoffrey Bellmaine Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday. 

Naiconi has been off the scene since running second in the Listed Twilight Glow Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield in November 2022. 

The now four-year-old began an autumn preparation last year and got to the trialling stage before returning the spelling paddock. 

"She had some bone bruising," Calvin McEvoy said. 

"It wasn't one particular injury, she was immature and needed time." 

Naiconi has had an official trial and a jump-out in preparation for her racing return. 

She finished fourth in a Stawell trial on January 11, a trial that included Ocean Beyond, Steparty and Jucconi, while she defeated Excelleration in a Burrumbeet jump-out on January 22. 

"We threw a nomination in this race as we weren't sure what the field would be like," McEvoy said. 

"There are weaker options if we want to wait, but looking at the field we're keen to kick her off in it. 

"She trialled nicely at Burrumbeet with Excelleration who won the Great Western Cup, albeit at 1950 (metres), by about five, but I think she's going well. 

"She's not screwed down. She has been off the scene for a long time and there's only so much you can do with horses at home and at some time you need to get them to the races. 

"I've got no doubt she will improve a lot out of it, but she's that class of horse, so why not." 

With her ailments, Naiconi was thrown in at the deep end of her last preparation and attained Black Type for the ownership group. 

McEvoy said now was the time to see if can live up to that potential. 

"Sometimes you throw horses in the deep end, and it doesn't always work," McEvoy said. 

"She was placed in a Stakes race, which was great, but it's unfortunate that she has had so long off the track, so let's hope she can stay sound and get back to that potential."