Decision to back-up rewarding

Sultan Of Swing (Sam Weatherley) enjoying better luck on the back-up.

Sultan Of Swing (Sam Weatherley) enjoying better luck on the back-up at Ellerslie yesterday.

Cambridge trainer Shaune Ritchie was a nervous man as the field entered the starting gates for yesterday’s PDL Iconic 1400 at Ellerslie.

Ritchie admitted he had thought long and hard before deciding to start his enigmatic galloper, Sultan Of Swing, after he had finished an unlucky seventh at the venue just a week earlier. A wide barrier added to the tension, but in the end there was no cause for concern as apprentice jockey Sam Weatherley helped guide the Bachelor Duke gelding to a narrow but convincing victory.

“I’m not a fan of running them week-to-week, especially as he was fresh up last time,” said Ritchie.

“When he was bouncing around on Monday I started to think about it as he didn’t even get off the bridle in that first run.

“Of course when the barrier draws came out it made it an even tougher decision, but he was just so well that we decided to have a throw at the stumps with him.

“As it turned out Sam rode him perfectly from the wide draw and had him one-out with cover before they’d gone 200 metres. He produced him at just the right time in the straight and we got the job done.”

The victory was particularly satisfying for Ritchie as the gelding had caused him no end of frustration with his performances since transferring from the Donna Logan and Chris Gibbs stable during the winter.

“He obviously has plenty of talent, but we just couldn’t get him right for his first couple of runs with us,” he said.

“We decided to geld him and I think that has made a massive difference. He is more settled and doesn’t have the various aches and pains that an entire can have.

“Now we’ve got him right I think he can get through the grades pretty smartly.”

Ritchie advised that his classy three-year-old filly Bella Gioia would be out for the summer after having a bone chip removed from her fetlock.

“We found she had the problem after her 1000 Guineas run so we’ve had it removed,” he said.

“I will be informing the authorities today and it means she won’t be able to race through the summer which was a doubtful prospect anyway.

“The break will do her the world of good and we will have her back for the autumn when the tracks have some give in them which will suit her perfectly.”

– NZ Racing Desk