Speechmaker to tackle Queensland Derby after Waikato Guineas

Speechmaker isn’t in contention for a domestic classic, but he could be in line for a crack at an overseas one.

“He feels his races a bit, which suggests that he’s still immature so I don’t think he is a New Zealand Derby horse,” trainer Shaune Ritchie said.

“He might be better placed in Brisbane further down the track.”

The lightly-raced Speechmaker will face the sternest test of his career at Te Rapa on Tuesday when he runs in the Group 2 Waikato Guineas (2000m).

“He’ll run the trip out strongly enough I’m sure, but he needed a better barrier,” Ritchie said. “He’s going to have to do it the hard way.”

The Jimmy Choux gelding finished fifth on debut at Taupo before he capitalised on an inside gate to beat race rival Steven James over 1600m at Te Rapa.

“He got a beautiful run behind the leader to win and so he should have,” Ritchie said.

“It’s not going to be easy for him, but he deserves his chance. I think it’s a very even field.”

Ritchie won the 2010 Derby with Military Move, but the stable is unlikely to have a runner this year.

Formidable was sold to Hong Kong interests following his win in the Listed Auckland Salver (2100m) and the promising Owen Patrick is having a break.

“He might be another one we look at Brisbane with,” Ritchie said.

Owen Patrick placed in his first two appearances and was then out of the money in the Listed Trevor Eagle Memorial (1550m) after being caught three wide without cover in a slowly run race