08/02/2013 3:19PM

Woodbine: Nipissing makes turf debut in Wonder Where

Michael Burns
Nipissing won the Woodbine Oaks but was dull in the Queen's Plate finishing eighth.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Woodbine Oaks winner Nipissing returns to action Sunday in the $250,000 Wonder Where Stakes, the third leg of the Canadian Triple Tiara, a lucrative series for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.

Nipissing will try to give Chiefswood Stable a sweep of the Tiara in the 10-furlong Wonder Where. After her Oaks victory, she passed the baton to Original Script, who won the second Tiara race, the Bison City Stakes, while Nipissing contested the Queen’s Plate. Original Script has since been freshened, and Nipissing tries turf for the first time Sunday as the lone Chiefswood representative in the race.

Robert Landry, the general manager for Chiefswood, said Nipissing worked a good half-mile over the turf training course in 47.20 on July 21. She is a daughter of Niigon, whom Landry rode to victory for Chiefswood in the 2004 Queen’s Plate.

“She worked really well on the grass,” Landry said. “Her action looked good. I think she deserves a chance at it. I think the long stretch will be in her favor. Some of the Niigons really take to the grass.”

Nipissing was a dull eighth in the July 7 Plate, a non-effort which puzzled Landry.

“From the get-go, she didn’t pick up the bridle,” Landry said. “It was obviously a subpar race for her. Horses do that once in awhile. The Oaks was a hard race on her, and she may have been a little flat for the Plate. Sometimes, some horses need a little more than a month [between races]. She’s trained back well since.”

Surtsey ran a corker at 41-1 in her first grass start July 14 in the one-mile Ontario Damsel Stakes, which she won with an eye-catching kick under Jermaine Bridgmohan.

Trainer Kevin Attard said Surtsey, a daughter of Heatseeker, might handle the stretchout in distance.

“I didn’t think she’d be a mile-and-a-quarter horse, but she ran well going a mile,” Attard said. “If Jermaine can get her to relax the first part of the race, she’s got a chance. Heatseeker got a mile and a quarter, and her dam is a half-sister to [Queen’s Plate winner] Wild Desert. It’s in her. It’s just a question of getting the right trip.”

Spring in the Air, last year’s Canadian champion 2-year-old filly, had a rocky start to her current campaign before taking the May 4 Fury Stakes. She went on to finish second in the Oaks and fourth in the Queen’s Plate.

Spring in the Air rallied wide to finish second behind stablemate Spring Venture in her lone grass race over yielding ground last September in the Grade 2 Natalma Stakes. Trainer Mark Casse said he entered her as a back-up and ended up scratching her from Tuesday’s Prince of Wales Stakes on the dirt at Fort Erie.

“We’re not even sure that she likes the dirt,” Casse said. “Her only start on the turf was good, so we figured the Wonder Where made more sense.”

Casse also entered Bold Birdie, who was a slow-starting fourth in the Ontario Damsel.