A RELAXED and refreshed Shaune Ritchie is hoping to pay for a quickfire family vacation following a potential victory in Saturday’s Listed Ricoh Feilding Gold Cup alongside progressive staying mare Snow Secret.
Ritchie and his family are currently enjoying four days by the pool in sunny Samoa before jetting back on Friday night to allow Ritchie to make his way to Palmerston North for the feature event on Saturday’s Awapuni programme.
The Cambridge conditioner is confident his charge is in the right shape to finally notch an elusive stakes victory and cap off an enjoyable week.
“We had an opportunity to sneak four days away, so we packed up the kids and made a lightning trip to Samoa for some rest and recreation,” Ritchie said.
“The kids haven’t left the pool and to be fair I’ve been the same so it’s a nice break before we really set into the frantic part of the racing season.
“I’d like to think I’m coming home to a winner on Saturday as this mare deserves to get her black type victory after narrowly missing out last time at Rotorua.”
Ritchie was referring to the Listed Jakkalberry Classic where Snow Secret had to settle for second place behind Wildflower after hitting the lead in the home straight.
“She was very brave that day as it was only her second run back and she probably just knocked up in the last few strides,” he said.
“She is out of a Zabeel mare and has just needed time to fully mature, so I think this will be her year.
“She ran second to Lizzie L’Amour in the Waikato Cup last year so after finishing second again the other day I think she deserves her turn.”
Ritchie also points to several other factors in the mare’s favour including the likelihood of a rain affected track, the booking of apprentice Sam Weatherley and its stellar record when third-up from a spell.
“She is going into the race at her peak and three of her five career wins have come when she is third-up.
“She is also a mare that doesn’t really like the hard ground so if we can strike a dead surface on Saturday it will be to her liking.
“I thought Sam rode her a treat at Rotorua, so I will be looking for a similar effort from her wide draw. She really needs to find something to follow into the race and Sam did that brilliantly at Rotorua.
“The instructions when he gets legged up will be more of the same please.”
Safely through Saturday Ritchie is eyeing a return visit to Te Rapa in December for another crack at the Group Three Waikato Cup while the Group Three Wellington Cup in January is also a possible target for the mare.