Chop Chop back on right track

Chop Chop getting the better of Martiniz Special at Ruakaka.(Photo: Kenton Wright).

Chop Chop getting the better of Martiniz Special at Ruakaka.(Photo: Kenton Wright).

Cambridge trainer Shaune Ritchie breathed a sigh of relief when Chop Chop returned to her best form at Ruakaka yesterday.

Chop Chop had looked a smart filly as a three-year-old when winning twice and landing some notable placings, including fourths in the Gr. 1 Wellfield NZ Oaks at Trentham and the Gr. 2 Cambridge Stud Sir Tristram Fillies Classic at Te Rapa and a fifth in the Gr. 3 Little Avondale Lowland Stakes at Hastings.

On the strength of her NZ Oaks effort, Chop Chop was taken to Brisbane by Ritchie and after a first-up fifth in a Listed race on the Gold Coast she finished last in the Gr. 2 Doomben Roses and her planned bid on the Queensland Oaks was canned.

She resumed early this year and, though she did manage a win and a second in a five-start summer campaign, Ritchie still rues the decision to take her to last year’s Queensland Winter Carnival.

“I think I made an error taking her to Brisbane after she had run fourth in the Oaks,” said Ritchie. “She didn’t fire over there and then she just wasn’t her usual self throughout her last campaign.

“Sometimes mares can do that, so we ruled a line through those performances and put her out for a decent winter break. This time in she has really perked up.”

Chop Chop resumed with a third to Valante at Ruakaka on August 1 then ran fifth at Ellerslie before notching her fourth win from 18 starts when taking the Supporting The Cancer Society in Memory Of Dean Logan 1600 yesterday. Ridden by Danielle Johnson, she finished well to score by a length from Martiniz Special, who was a length and a half in front of El Pescado.

While Chop Chop is showing top form at 1600 metres (each of her four wins have been at the metric mile trip) Ritchie is likely to keep the daughter of Guillotine at the distance, though he believes her forte is as a stayer.

“I’ve always thought she could be a very handy stayer as she got older,” he said. “We have been eyeing a start in races like the Counties and Waikato Cups as she should be able to sneak into them on a nice light weight.”