Patience has helped Norwegian Bliss go from Port Macquarie maiden winner to firm favourite for the Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield inside seven perfect starts in 14 months.
The Nathan Doyle-trained mare, who was passed in for $25,000 as a yearling, has proven a $250,000 windfall so far for billionaire owner-breeder Gerry Harvey.
“She might be one out of the box a bit too,” Doyle said of his first Victorian starter.
“He (Harvey) tried to put her through the sale (Magic Millions) and didn’t get what was required so he brought her home and $25,000 is cheap now, I’d say.”
The five-year-old, who had “immaturity” knee issues as a young horse, is the $2.50 TAB favourite for the Kevin Heffernan from Literary Magnate ($3.20) and Group 1 winner Streets Of Avalon ($6.50).
Norwegian Bliss galloped strongly at Caulfield last Tuesday to frank the early support.
“It seems the right race for her, a good gate, she gets a nice firm track Saturday and shouldn’t have too many excuses. Blake Shinn looks to suit her as well so hopefully she can run well,” Doyle said.
“She’s taken it in her stride, she’s a very tough mare. Nothing seems to faze her that way. She’s a good eater, hasn’t missed a beat since she’s been in Melbourne.
“She’s got on all the right legs and powered through the line nicely on the bridle. I cannot fault anything since she’s been down there.”
Gerry Harvey took Norwegian Bliss after she was passed. Picture: Glenn Hampson
Norwegian Bliss has won seven-straight races since her September 2021 debut at Port Macquarie.
Doyle has paced her through the grades steadily.
“They’re confidence animals, if you throw them in the deep end before they’re ready you can stuff a whole horse’s career,” Doyle said.
“You want to get their confidence up and once they’re confident you never know what heights they might get to.”
A stakes success, either on Saturday or beyond, would complete the Cinderella story.
“I suppose she’s got that little bit of X-factor about her and she’s got that will to win,” Doyle said.