Good ride and good fight

Thanks to a cool ride by Jonathan Riddell, Good Fight lived up to his breeding with a top win at Te Aroha yesterday.

The Good Fight lived up to his name at Te Aroha yesterday, but the accolades over the win went to his rider, Jonathan Riddell.

Riddell rode for luck on The Good Fight in the Donaghys Pro-Equine 1400 and was the toast of punters after he got the $4.20 favourite home at the head of the field.

With seconds in his last two starts albeit during the winter, The Good Fight had the form on the board to suggest he would be the one to beat yesterday, but it certainly didn’t look good on the home turn.

On a day when the races were being won by horses in or near the lead, The Good Fight was in the rear and had been shuffled back to last rounding the home turn.

But Riddell took the gamble to stick to the inside and for a time he was held up, but once the gap opened on the fence he pushed The Good Fight through and on to a strong win, scoring by three-quarters of a length from the wayward Mr Universe.

“It was a peach of a ride from Jonathan and it is great when it comes off like that,” said trainer Shaune Ritchie.

“I was a bit worried before the race with the pattern of the day being on the pace. It’s good to see him sprint well fresh.

“We paid a bit of money for him at the yearling sale and finally he’s justifying his price tag.”

The Good Fight is owned by a group which includes Gerard Peterson, a long-time supporter of the Ritchie stable, and was purchased from the 2016 Premier Yearling Sale at Karaka by Ritchie for $300,000.

A son of High Chaparral, he is from the Zabeel mare Pravda, who was a top performer from the Paul O’Sullivan stable but is best remembered by most people for one of her worst showings – getting stage fright and refusing to go down to the start for the 2000 Melbourne Cup and being declared a late scratching.

Pravda did win eight races, including the Gr.2 Taranaki Cup and two Sydney features, the Gr.2 AJC Chairman’s Handicap and the Gr.3 STC Manion Cup, and among her best placings was a second in the Gr.1 NZ Oaks.

A half-sister to Roger James’ Gr.1 Adelaide Cup winner Cronus, Pravda is now proving a successful broodmare with eight of her nine foals to race being winners.

Her first foal, Pravana (by Anabaa) won five races including a Listed event in Sydney and was fourth in the Gr.1 STC Coolmore Classic, while her second foal Prince Of Truth (by Carnegie) won three and was fourth in the Gr.3 BTC Rough Habit Plate.

The Good Fight ran fourth in his first two trials last year then finished second-last in his first two races later in the year. He showed his first public glimpse of ability when second at the Avondale trials last May and followed up with a second over 1600m on debut at New Plymouth and a second over the same trip at Te Aroha a few weeks later.

“He was very weak when he was last in work,” said Ritchie. “I was running him when the tracks were heavy and it was the wrong thing to do.

“He’s screaming out for a bit of ground and he’ll be real good over more ground.”