Bendigo a fact-finding mission for German Group 1 winner

Archie Alexander is eager to find the key to intriguing Golden Mile runner Nancho but he is refusing to set extreme expectations this weekend.

The Hungarian recruit will have his first start for the Ballarat trainer in the $200,000 Listed event at Bendigo.

It will be just the second Australian start for Nancho, who finished 12th of 14 in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) last September when trained by Anthony Cummings, and Alexander is keen to see him under race conditions.

“We’re going there with an open mind,” he said. “He’s trialled well and he’s working well, so in that sense I think he’ll run well, but on the other side of the coin, he’s only had one run in a long time.

“We know we’ve got the horse very well and he’s very fit, but we’re just going into it very relaxed. There’s certainly no pressure first-up over a mile.”

Prior to the Chelmsford, Nancho, who was bred in Germany but did the bulk of his racing in Hungary, won 10 of previous 11 starts between 1600m and 2400m in those two countries with the miss being a narrow second placing.

His final win in Europe came in the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Bayern (2400m) in Munich in November 2019, in which subsequent Group 3 Hotham Handicap (2500m) winner Ashrun was the third placegetter.

Alexander said he got a call out of the blue from Tai Chi gelding’s ownership group who were keen to try him in a country environment.

“He wasn’t adapting at all well to being trained at Randwick in a city environment, he wasn’t settling in well, and the guys up there were the first to say the horse just wasn’t happy,” Alexander said.

“I think they just wanted to go to a country environment, so the horse came to us and he’s been pretty cool all the way up to now.”

Nancho swept home from last to win a four-horse jumpout at Ararat on March 9 under light riding before a more strenuous hitout when an on-speed second to The Brumby in a 1000m jumpout at Camperdown on March 22.

“The thing that strikes me about him is he’s got a lot of stamina,” Alexander said.

“You can gallop him over 1000 metres and he wants further or you can gallop him over 1400 and he wants further.

“It doesn’t really matter what you do with him, he just always looking for that bit more ground.

“Often sharp mile first-up can fool horses, but we’ll just see how he goes.”

Nancho, who has 58kg, has drawn barrier one for the 16-horse Golden Mile field, in which Jordan Childs will take the ride.

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