Walcha breeder Jill Nivison enjoys winning run with Roussos

Lee Magorrian guides the Craig Martin-trained and Jill Nivison-owned Roussos to victory at Tamworth. Photo: Bradley Photos.

Gundagai product Jill Nivison is best known for her affiliation with champion galloper Tie The Knot.

The accomplished breeder and owner enjoyed the ride of a lifetime with her brother Sandy Tait throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s, as their beloved Nassipour gelding that was out of Whisked, earned over $6 million in prizemoney and won 21 times in 62 starts.

Tie The Knot landed victories in the 1997 Spring Champion Stakes, the 1998 Rosehill Guineas, the 1998 and 1999 Sydney Cups, the 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002 Chipping Norton Stakes, the 1999 and 2000 BMW Stakes, and the 2000 and 2001 Ranvet Stakes. 

More recently, the pair have enjoyed success with Group and Listed winner Cherry Tortoni, with the Patrick Payne-trained galloper winning the Group 2 Vase in late 2020, while he finished a game second in the Group 1 Australian Guineas that year when beaten a half-length by Lunar Fox.  

Last year he won the Listed Adelaide Guineas, and earlier this year proved too strong in the Listed Golden Mile.

Nivison and Tait have also enjoyed some thrills with Group 1 and Group 2 placegetter Douceur, which is also trained by Payne, and she finished second to Willowy in the Oaks late last year, while this coming year, connections hope accomplished gallopers Jenny Jerome (John Thompson) and Dolphina (Ron Quinton) can give them more reasons to celebrate. 

Nivison, who resides in Walcha these days, has enjoyed her recent success. 

“Of course, it’s a huge thrill to be involved in those races and to have horses good enough to compete in those races,” Nivison said. 

While not making all the major headlines, Nivison has tasted some success at a more local level, with her home-bred gelding Roussos putting back-to-back wins together for Tamworth trainer, Craig Martin

The Dream Ballard gelding that is out of her mare Miss Louise took some time to mature but following a victory in a 1250m Benchmark 58 at Gunnedah (Darryl McLellan, $4.40)  earlier this month, the four-year-old backed that effort up with a strong win at Tamworth (Lee Magorrian, $4.20) on Tuesday when taking out the 1400m Class Two Handicap. 

Roussos has now started 13 times, winning on three occasions, and running a further five minor placings on his way to earning just shy of $70,000 in prizemoney. 

“He’s a green horse, and he might not be very good, but he gives his all,” Nivison said. 

“He is getting out to a better distance now, and who knows, he might get out to 2000m.”

Nivison bred the in-form country galloper, and while she has a few youngsters coming through, she conceded that she wasn’t breeding anywhere near as many these days. 

“I had Miss Louise and she won the one race, and she wasn’t very smart, but she is a nice type of mare and throws nice foals,” Nivison said. 

“I’ve got some young ones in the paddock, but they haven’t started yet, and I’ve cut down since I’ve got a bit older, and we only race a couple.”

While Tait and Nivison are known for racing in the red and white colours made famous by Tie The Knot, Nivison’s horses race in the black and yellow silks of her late husband, Simon Nivison.

Another galloper trained by Martin that has been having success in those colours is Ishim, which won back-to-back races at Tamworth and Coonamble late last year. 

Following a 45-week spell, Ishim, who is by Outreach and out of Jendrick, trialled at Tamworth on Wednesday, and Nivison is expecting to see her five-year-old back at the races very shortly.

“She’s a good mare and she has matured and should be a nice horse this preparation,” Nivison said. 

“Craig is really good at giving them time and she had been out for a while, and I don’t know exactly where she is up to, but she will go to Walcha (on February 5).”

If all goes to plan, Roussos and Ishim could very well be set for the $500,000 Country Championships, with Martin no doubt considering whether to set the pair for the $150,000 Hunter North West qualifier at Tamworth on February 26.