Double Oaks bid on line

Cambridge trainer Shaune Ritchie is leaving his options open over a double Oaks bid for his smart fillies Zurella and Artistic.

The two fillies are strong chances in tomorrow’s Group I $300,000 Wellfield NZ Oaks at Trentham and they also hold nominations for the Group I AJC Oaks in Sydney next month.

“They’re certainly not going to Queensland, but there’s a chance one of them could go to Sydney for the Oaks,” said Ritchie. “Obviously it will all depend on what happens on Saturday. Looking further down the track I’d like to take Zurella to Melbourne in the spring.”

Zurella, the mount of Jason Waddell, is one of the leading fancies for the NZ Oaks after winning the Group II Sir Tristram Fillies Classic at Te Rapa last month. She then finished a game fifth behind Silent Achiever in
the Group I Telecom NZ Derby when the slow track inconvenienced her.

“She was a brave fifth and she’s come through it well,” said Ritchie. “It’s just a pity we didn’t get a good track. She would have been closer to Silent Achiever.”

Artistic will be ridden as usual by Michael Coleman tomorrow and she is rated a strong second-string by Ritchie.

“The way she races the Oaks’ distance should be her go,” said Ritchie. “She’s as game as can be.”

Both fillies have used work on the Foxton Beach as part of their preparation for tomorrow’s NZ Oaks, a race in which Ritchie has already enjoyed success, with Keep The Peace.