07/14/2010 6:23PM

Holy Nova returns at Northlands

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Hastings invader Holy Nova figures to be a short price in Friday’s feature, a $40,000 optional claiming race for fillies and mares. All six of the horses entered in the six-furlong sprint are stakes winners. Only five will run, with Heaven On Hold scratching to run in Sunday’s $50,000 John Patrick.

Holy Nova will be making her first start since she won the Grade 3 Ballerina at Hastings last October, and from the looks of her bullet five-furlong work before the races June 26, she appears to be ready for a big effort coming off the bench. Her first start last year, however, turned into a disaster when she reared at the start and never left the gate. She was declared a nonstarter. The rough start to the year didn’t set her back. She won the $50,000 Vancouver Sun in her first official start and then shipped to Emerald Downs where she dead-heated for first with Elusive Horizon in the $50,000 Boeing Handicap.

Holy Nova, who is undefeated in two starts at Northlands, has been prepared at Hastings by trainer Troy Taylor. He was noncommittal about how she would run.

“She’s a year older, and I’m not sure she’s the same old Nova,” Taylor said. “She’s still a pretty nice horse, though.”

Alan May will be the official trainer for Holy Nova on Friday. Mario Gutierrez, Holy Nova’s usual rider, will be making the trip from Hastings.

Jasper’s Valentine, trained by Jim Meyaard, looks like the main threat as the possible lone speed. She is coming off of a fourth-place finish as the favorite in the Wild Rose Handicap on June 20. In her previous race, she was a 10-length, front-running winner of a $40,000 optional claimer on June 2.