Tributes have poured in for much-loved ATC social media manager Nini Vascotto who has lost her battle against cancer.
Nini Vascotto, the much-loved Australian Turf Club social media manager, lost her brave struggle with cancer on Friday. She was 44.
Nini’s devoted husband, Murray Conallin, took to social media to confirm the devastating news.
“We lost Nini “Nicolette’ Vascotto this morning,” Murray wrote. “She slipped away peacefully with her Mum, Helen our nurse and myself around her. She fought until the very end. She was a warrior. She was loved.
“Nini taught me lessons in life I’ll never fully realise, she was my great love and I’m insanely lucky and privileged to have been the one she chose.”
In a sense, it was appropriate that Murray chose social media to reveal the sad news as Nini had used her various social media accounts to chronicle her decade-long battle with cancer.
She was always candid and honest about her progress; her story giving inspiration and hope to people around the world who read her regular updates.
So, when Nini posted eight days ago that her condition was rapidly deteriorating, it was as if she was preparing her many friends and followers for the worst. It was yet another example of her extraordinary courage and empathy.
There were many tributes for Nini on social media on Friday. Some were from those who knew her well but many from people who had never met her. This was just another example of the many lives she has touched in a positive way.
Australian Turf Club Chief Executive Jamie Barkley said Nini’s passing had devastated club staff.
“Nini was an incredibly loved colleague of everyone at the ATC,” Mr Barkley said.
“Our hearts are broken today but we are very grateful for everything that Nini has given us and taught us through her wonderful life and career.
“She was inspiring to so many of her colleagues but equally to the wider racing industry. She touched hearts all around the world.
“The ATC will in time look to honour Nini’s memory in the most appropriate way but at the moment our thoughts and love are with Murray, Nini’s family and her many friends.”
Racing NSW Chief Executive Peter V’landys said Nini had been a positive influence to many in the racing industry.
“Nini was a warrior in the way she fought her illness, she was an inspiration to so many,” V’landys said
“We are all saddened, devastated and heartbroken. We have lost a wonderful friend and a true champion.
“But Nini, as selfless as she was, will want us all now to rally around her husband Murray and her family.”
In response to the outpouring of tributes for Nini, Sydney jockeys will wear black armbands to honour her memory in the Peltzer Handicap at Kembla Grange on Saturday.
■ New Zealand training maestro Murray Baker believes tough stayer Quick Thinker can produce a king-sized form reversal in the Group 3 $160,000 Premier’s Cup (2000m) at Kembla Grange on Saturday.
Quick Thinker failed to beat a runner home when resuming in the Rowley Mile at Hawkesbury earlier this month but Baker attributed that flop to the firm track conditions.
But with Kembla Grange likely be in the soft 7-heavy 8 range, noted wet-tracker Quick Thinker has conditions to suit, according to Baker.,
“We would be looking for an improved run on a wet track,” Baker said.
“He had been trialling all right going into Hawkesbury but he didn’t go that good that day. He has never gone that well on a real firm track.”
Quick Thinker is most effective on rain-affected tracks which includes his wins in the Group 1 ATC Australian Derby last year and Group 2 Chairman’s Handicap earlier this year.
“I can tell you he has improved since Hawkesbury, we are happy with the horse,” Baker said. “We are setting him for The Metropolitan in the spring.”
Baker also revealed talented four-year-old Aegon is also Sydney-bound for the spring carnival after he contests the Group 1 $1 million Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
“We are hoping to get Aegon into the ($7.5 million) Golden Eagle,” Baker said.
“Whether he stays in Melbourne or goes straight to Sydney after the Memsie we are not sure yet.,
“He only just arrived in Melbourne a couple of days ago but he’s coming up well. It’s a good field but he does go well fresh.”
■ Godolphin trainer James Cummings has Colette primed to race well in the Memsie Stakes.
Colette, winner of the Golden Eagle last season, has had one official barrier trial at Hawkesbury but has pleased Cummings with her progress going into the Memsie.
“I think she is ready to run a cheeky first-up race,” Cummings said. “She worked really well on ground that was nice for her during the week so I’m looing forward to seeing how she goes at Caulfield.”
Cummings also confirmed the stable’s sprinting stalwart Trekking showed he was on target for a third attempt at the $15 million The TAB Everest after a good barrier trial hitout at Hawkesbury last Monday.
“I thought that was nice work from him,” Cummings said of Trekking’s close third to Wild Ruler.
“He should resume well when I run him in the Concorde Stakes next weekend.”
Cummings also confirmed Doncaster Mile winner Cascadian has come through his fast finishing fifth in the Winx Stakes in great order.
“He ran great, he just got flattened and knocked down really,” Cummings said. “But he resumed well and showed us he is well and truly in good form.
“We will go to the Chelmsford Stakes at Randwick next week with Cascadian.”
■ Alligator Blood, anchored under his big weight of 61kg, ran evenly in his comeback race to finish fourth in the Listed Goldmarket at the Gold Coast on Friday.
The talented five-year-old, now trained by Bill Healey, was having his first start since finishing unplaced in the Golden Eagle and finished about four lengths behind the winner. Ironically, Desert Lord, prepared by Alligator Blood’s former trainer, was an impressive winner.
Originally published as Popular racing figure Nini Vascotto loses decade-long battle with cancer