Collett out to win bigger prize for Ritchie

Magic Condor (Sam Collett), inner, holding on tenaciously to beat Bruegel at Pukekohe today.

Sam Collett is hoping Magic Condor’s win at Pukekohe today is a forerunner to an even bigger result for her for Cambridge trainer Shaune Ritchie.

Magic Condor is trained by Ritchie, who will saddle up Collett’s Gr.1 $1 million Vodafone New Zealand Derby mount Swords Drawn.

Though Swords Drawn has not won a race in eight starts he has shown talent with five placings, including a second to Crown Prosecutor in the Gr.3 Wellington Stakes (1600m) and a third to Cutadeel in the Listed Barfoot & Thompson 3YO Salver (2100m) at Ellerslie.

Swords Drawn has failed in his last two starts, the Listed Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) when 14th to Long Leaf and the Gr.2 Avondale Guineas (2100m) when 11th to Surely Sacred. But Collett believes he is more than just an outside hope this weekend.

“He’s drawn out, but I really think he’ll stay the trip,’’ said Collett, who rode him for the first time in the Avondale Guineas when the son of Camelot was back then held up early in the run home and didn’t really get a crack at the leaders.

Collett would obviously love to see Swords Drawn show the courage Magic Camelot did when registering her second win from seven starts with her win in today’s Haunui Farm 1400.

Magic Condor settled back on the outer and improved three-wide at the 900m to be midfield before continuing her run to be fifth three-wide at the 600m. She then ranged up at the 300m, led soon after, then had to dig deep to hold out the late bid from Bruegel (ridden by Sam Spratt) to score by a nose.

“Spratty was yelling at her horse and that was helping me a bit, but it wasn’t the prettiest ride from me,’’ said Collett.

‘’I ended up getting stuck three-wide without cover and when the horse in front of me didn’t look it was going to take me further I popped out. That meant she was exposed a bit earlier than I wanted. Ideally I would have sat a bit longer. It was a good, brave effort.”

Magic Condor’s other win came over 1200m at Ruakaka last October when fresh-up and in her previous campaign as a two-year-old she was tried just twice but showed promise.

She debuted with a third behind Gr.1 NZ 1000 Guineas runner-up Valalie at Pukekohe 13 months ago then was thrown in the deep end in the Gr.2 J. Swap Contractors Matamata Breeders’ Stakes and finished eighth, just over five and a half lengths from the winner, Spanish Whisper.