Nettoyer’s penchant for junk food is becoming the stuff of folklore but it is her lack of self preservation, rather than her diet, that keeps trainer Wendy Roche up at night.
That and the hundreds of text messages Roche has received since the mare’s stunning Doncaster Mile win last weekend.
Nettoyer’s triumph in one of Australia’s most famous races gave Roche her first Group One win and while the trainer tried to enjoy a quiet celebration and an early night, it did not happen.
“I had a JD and coke and tried to go to bed but I was getting too many phone calls and messages,” Roche said.
“I got to sleep about two o’clock in the morning when I turned my phone off and I was up at four thirty to work the next day.”
Roche’s busy week has continued as she prepares Nettoyer to back up in Saturday’s Group One Coolmore Legacy Stakes (1600m) at Randwick.
The mare has had an easy week with a couple of morning canters and sprint work, plus plenty of walks to keep her mentally bright.
In the past, the pizza-eating, champagne-swilling six-year-old has mixed her form but this autumn she has won two of her three starts and finished fourth in the Group One Ranvet at the other.
Roche says Nettoyer’s consistency is down to several factors, including good health.
At three, she broke her pelvis. At four she suffered a hind leg infection and at five she injured her eye which became ulcerated.
“This year, touch wood, nothing has gone wrong with her. She has managed to keep herself out of extreme mischief,” Roche said.
“She’s not mad. She just has no self-preservation skills.”
There is another factor in Nettoyer’s rise.
Roche has tailored the mare’s preparation, steering away from traditional race programming to make her own rules.
“She went in 1200 metre races, 1400 metre races like the Guy Walter, they’re just too short,” Roche said.
“The other horses have a turn of foot early and by the time she gets going the race is over.
“This preparation I said to her owners, I want to train her my way and put her in races which suit her, which is a mile first up and 2000-metres and don’t worry about the shorter races because they’re just a waste of time.”
As for Nettoyer’s quirky eating habits, Roche said it all started when she ordered a pizza for the horse’s farrier and ended up using it to distract the mare while she was shod.
The farrier did not get a slice.
“We were feeding her Twisties at the time to keep her occupied but that wasn’t really cutting the mustard so when she sniffed the pizza, we opened up the pizza and gave it to her and it kept her happy,” Roche said.
“She is more famous for her eating habits than her Group One Doncaster.”