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The wetter the better for Maher’s Bella

Connections of Bella Nipotina have welcomed the forecast for heavy rain in Sydney ahead of her rematch with benchmark sprinter Imperatriz in the T J Smith Stakes at Randwick.

Bella Nipotina has finished behind the Te Akau Racing star in all three starts this preparation but significantly, the runs have all been in Melbourne on firm tracks.

A wet surface is anticipated on Saturday and if the predicted amount of rain arrives, Ciaron Maher stable representative Jack Turnbull says Bella Nipotina will rocket into calculations.

"With the rain that is coming, it's probably going to level us up a little bit with Imperatriz," Turnbull said. "It's going to be extremely difficult to beat her on a firmer track, but if the rain does come it's going to put us in the equation a lot more.

"The wetter and more rain-affected, the better. It's probably something they don't want, Te Akau, but it's something we're definitely looking for."

Bella Nipotina has a proven Sydney CV; picture sportpix.com.au

Bella Nipotina has three wins and a second from five starts on heavy ground and also boasts an outstanding record in Sydney where she has managed a top-three finish in seven of her 10 starts.

In comparison, Imperatriz has won half of her four starts on heavy tracks, although she hasn't raced on one since she was beaten into fourth as an odds-on favourite in the 2022 Tarzino Stakes in New Zealand.

She will also be chasing her first victory in Sydney, her only previous appearance at Randwick resulting in a narrow second to Artorius in last year's Canterbury Stakes.

Imperatriz has built an imposing overall record of 19 wins from 26 starts and is a solid $3.10 favourite for the T J Smith Stakes (1200m).

Bella Nipotina ($13) has also been a wonderful horse for connections, notching seven wins and 20 placings from 46 starts, prompting Turnbull to describe her as one of a kind.

"She is one of those once-in-a-decade racehorses, you just don't get them as often these days," Turnbull said. "She has obviously got a bit of wear and tear naturally now, but those soft tracks play into her hands."

The T J Smith Stakes will also feature the resumption of top galloper I Wish I Win ($4), who hasn't raced since finishing runner-up in The Everest and returns to Randwick hoping to defend his crown in Saturday's sprint feature.

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