Eight Lucky Prawns out to break maiden at Cambridge

Shaune Ritchie pictured with Mahrajaan following his victory in last year’s Group 3 New Zealand Cup (3200m). Photo: Race Images South

Shaune Ritchie and Colm Murray are hoping a bit of luck can guide their three-year-old contender home on Wednesday at Cambridge’s Synthetic meeting.

The local training partnership are co-owners of Eight Lucky Prawns, a son of Rageese who has been defied his breakthrough success by the narrowest of margins in two of his three career starts to date.

“His last two runs have been good, he’s really turned a corner since going up to Ruakaka and he needed to,” Ritchie said.

“He’s been held up a little bit on the corner in both of his last two starts which has probably cost him the win both times.”

Ritchie hopes he can perform for the remainder of the ownership group who combined to purchase him at the 2021 Weanling Sales.

“The draw (13) is a nuisance, but the fact that we don’t ride him hard out of the gates means he should get a good track into the race and hopefully, if there’s good pace up front, he should be the horse to beat,” Ritchie said.

“We bought him from the weanling sales with my horse dentist, my part-time farrier and a guy who works for Majestic. It was just a few of the boys in a punting syndicate who won six or seven grand, so we went to the sales and bought him.

“I dare say the bar will be lit up at my place if the horse can win on Wednesday because it’s a walk home from there.”

Michael McNab will return from a week off riding after falling at Te Rapa on June 15 and he will partner Eight Lucky Prawns, while Courtney Barnes takes the reins on Rocket Lad.

A five-year-old by Preferment, Rocket Lad has won three of four starts on the poly-track, an affinity he shares with multiple runners in the Rating 75 contest.

“He’s got a good reputation on the synthetic, but I was just going through the runners today and of nine runners there are 20 wins on the synthetic between them, so he’s not the only one that fancies the track,” Ritchie said.

“He has had the one run back now so he’s still building, but with a bit of natural improvement and stepping out to the 1550, which he has won three-from-three on the track at that distance, he should be hard to beat.

“It’s going to be a good competitive race, and a lot of those horses will probably end up in the poly final in a couple of months.”

The stable’s remaining runners include Turnmeon, Goldburg, and Evana Trumpalo.

“Turnmeon wasn’t finding the line in a few of his races last prep and had been disappointing on the whole, but he’s had a wind surgery and that seems to have sharpened him up,” Ritchie said.

“A mile first-up was a bit of an ask after several months away from the races, and he just peaked in the last bit at Ruakaka. 2000m on the poly should be a nice race for him, his ability says that he’s better than this grade so he should be highly competitive.

“Goldburg’s form isn’t as bad as it looks, he hasn’t run for a while and he just ran out of form last prep.

“He’s got a good record on the poly, and if he can position up fourth or fifth he should get a nice run. He’s probably our best value looking at the odds, and one that should be put in the place multis.”

Evana Trumpalot is a half-brother by Tivaci to Catalyst, who won the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) of 2020.

“He’s a real enigma, he’s got a few tricks up his sleeve,” Ritchie said.

“He’s shown us a fair bit, and he’s a half to a horse than won the 2000 Guineas so he’s got the pedigree.

“I would’ve liked to see him get a softer draw first-up (15), but he doesn’t have any points so he might not get a start in two-week’s time if we don’t run here. He’ll be ridden cold so he’s probably more of a watch than a trust.”

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