Peter Nestor signals return home with Wellington win

Clayton Gallagher guides the Peter Nestor-trained Loving Angel to a dominant win at Wellington on Monday. Photo: Racing Photography.

Peter Nestor has signalled his return home with a good win at Wellington on Monday. 

The Dubbo trainer, whose most recent victory was at Coonamble in 2018, was thrilled to see Loving Angel win the 900m Maiden Handicap.

Formerly trained by Peter and Paul Snowden, Loving Angel started $1.55 favourite and was ridden by Clayton Gallagher; she bounced nicely from gate five before pulling away for a comfortable five lengths win. 

Nestor was happy with the victory and thanked Nat Pierce for her hand in the result. 

“You don’t improve horses coming from Pete Snowden, but I brought her out here and spelled her,” Nestor said. 

“I thought she was not suited to the big stable environment, and I had full intentions of having her ready a bit earlier.

“Nat Pierce has been very patient with me, and so has the horse, and it took a while to figure her out, and she is no champion, but she’ll win another race.”

Nestor was ruing the small price, and he admitted to making a mistake when getting Loving Angel ready for the races. 

As a result, the four-year-old was not missed when boulting in for an 8.12 lengths trial win over 900m at Wellington on March 24 before finishing fourth in an 1100m Maiden Handicap at Mudgee on April 2. 

A month later, she was ready to win at Wellington. 

“It’s a funny story,” Nestor said. 

“I had her ready last November for Derby Day, and she had a little minor issue, so I had to put her out, then I got her ready, and with me being a bit old fashioned, and because she hadn’t started for 12 months, I didn’t realise she had to barrier trial. 

“I thought I would go to Wellington over 900m and get a decent price first-up, so I nominated her, and Nat (Pierce) rang me and told me I won’t get a start, so I nominated her for the trial, and she won by about nine lengths with her head on her chest. 

“She is a bit difficult to work, so I nominated her for Mudgee the next week, and I potted around with her all week and then finally worked her, but she worked hard, and she went to the races as flat as a tack. 

“After all that, I still finished up back at Wellington in the 900m maiden where we wanted to be in the first place, and she won well.”

Nestor was born and bred in Gulargambone, and he was a top-rated trainer in Dubbo, with his boutique stable producing many good results for almost 40 years. 

He tutored Group One winner hoop Kathy O’Hara and is widely regarded as a very astute trainer and racing administrator. 

Nestor gave up his licence in 2018, heading to Sydney to help set up a thoroughbred rehabilitation centre for horses at Luddenham.

“I always had a small team in work, and we had a reasonable trot and a good strike rate,” Nestor said. 

“When I left, I went to help a mate of mine set up a spelling and rehab centre. I helped him set that up and spent four years doing that.”

Nestor has been back in Dubbo for a year, but his health deteriorated, and he was forced to put a hold on any return to training. 

“I hadn’t been well, and I was too stupid to go and see a doctor, so I eventually went home, and I was only back about a week and had two heart attacks,” Nestor said. 

“I’m all right now, and someone is always worse off. There’s nothing major to worry about, just a few little things that go with having two heart attacks.”

Nestor, who has two horses in work at the minute, has no plans of going big again, and he’s happy to ‘potter about’ with a horse or two.

“I just rent a couple of boxes here at the track. I used to have a block outside of Dubbo, but I sold it and bought a house in town,” Nestor said. 

“I’d like to keep it to that. I’ve been offered a lot of horses, but at this point, I’ve got no real intentions of getting too many more.”

As far as being back home, Nestor is a happy man, spending time with his two children and six grandchildren, and he said it’s ‘good to be back’.

For Wellington’s results, click here.