Punters’ expectations are somewhat higher for Better Not Blue than the last time he raced at Rosehill but his trainer is trying not to get ahead of herself.
Last Saturday week, the gelding ran Ninth Legion to a long head in the Listed Civic Stakes, his first foray outside benchmark grade.
He comes back to take on Ninth Legion again on Saturday in another Listed race, the Winter Stakes, and this time the two are equal favourites.
If he runs up to his price, he will present Michelle Ritchie with a problem she never thought she would have.
“I think there are stronger horses in this race and I just hope he runs up to what he did a fortnight ago,” Ritchie said.
“Whatever happens I’m going to give him a spell. Then I have to work out what to do with him next time.
“His benchmark rating has gone up again now and I probably have to look at some better races.
“I’m not sure he’s a Group horse but he’s shown he’s up to this grade and it’s exciting what he might be able to do.”
Ritchie, who is also Better Not Blue’s owner, track rider and primary carer, is happy to let apprentice Taylor Marshall take the reins again even though he cannot use his claim.
“He’s not an easy horse to ride and Taylor has done a great job on him at his past two starts so I’m happy to have him on again,” she said.
Ritchie is also happy the Winter Stakes is at Rosehill, a track she believes suits Better Not Blue and should help him get a strong 1400 metres.
“He has run some nice races at Rosehill and I think the rise at Randwick makes it tough,” she said.
“The way he got home last time suggests he should be able to get 1400 metres.
“He hasn’t done too much since the Civic Stakes. He’s pretty fit and he looks a million dollars.”