Glorious Lad on trial to join stablemates in Brisbane

Cambridge trainer Shaune Ritchie ticked off two members of his planned Queensland squad at Te Aroha yesterday and will be hoping to approve another at Avondale tomorrow.

Ritchie put the Queensland-bound pair of Chop Chop and Military Move through an exhibition gallop between races at Te Aroha and tomorrow his focus will be on his TV3 New Zealand Derby placegetter Glorious Lad, who will resume in the Morgan Furniture Governor General’s Cup (1600m).

On a track bordering on heavy, Chop Chop, ridden by Jason Waddell, worked on the inside and just shaded Military Move (Leith Innes) to run 1000 metres in 1:6.64 and the final 800 metres in 51.25.

“I didn’t want them to do too much,” said Ritchie. “It was nice work and they’ve pulled up well.

“I thought it was better to tighten them up with an exhibition gallop rather than send them around at the Te Awamutu trials late on the programme when the track was chopped up.

“There’s just the one plane going over to Brisbane, on May 1, and they’ll be on it.”

Chop Chop has been freshened since her gallant fourth behind Miss Mossman in the Gr. 1 Wellfield NZ Oaks (2400m) at Trentham last month and looked in good order yesterday to embark on her Queensland trip.

She will make her Australian debut in the Listed A$125,000 Gold Coast Bracelet (1800m) at the Gold Coast two days after arriving in Brisbane, then, all going well, she will contest the Gr. 2 A$175,000 XXXX Gold The Roses (2000m) at Doomben on May 17 before the big one, the Gr. 1 A$400,000 Treasury Casino Queensland Oaks (2400m) at Eagle Farm a fortnight later.

“They’re a fortnight apart so it’s perfect for her,” said Ritchie. “Ric McMahon will ride her in the Gold Coast Bracelet as a reward for coming over to ride her in the Oaks.”

Military Move, the 2010 NZ Derby winner, has also been freshened since his last start, when second to Soriano in the Gr. 2 Ezibuy Awapuni Gold Cup (2000m) on March 29. His initial mission in Brisbane will be the Gr. 2 A$358,000 Hollindale Stakes (1800m), also at the Gold Coast meeting on May 3.

“We’ll get a line on him in that one,” said Ritchie. “If he’s not up to that class we can drop back. But he’s worth taking over. There’s nothing around here for him now and he’s so well.

“He’s just a bit hard to place because of all the money he has won. He’s just on $15,000 short of winning $2 million.”

Glorious Lad is an exciting member of the Ritchie team, having picked up three wins and five placings from his eight starts. As well as his third to Puccini and Rising Romance in the NZ Derby, he was second to the top filly Lucia Valentina in the Gr. 3 Ekraar @ Linwood Park Wellington Guineas, third to his Derby conquerors in the Gr. 2 Auckland Eye Avondale Guineas and fourth to Puccini in the Gr. 2 Darci Brahma Waikato Guineas.

Ritchie is pleased with the way Glorious Lad has freshened-up since the Derby. “He’s forward enough to run a cheeky race on Friday,” said Ritchie.

Glorious Lad will make his Brisbane debut in the Gr. 3 A$125,000 Mitty’s Rough Habit Plate (2000m) at Doomben on May 10 and his performance in the feature will decide which path Ritchie takes with him.

“He’ll have the usual Derby lead-up but it’s questionable that he gets 2400 metres (the Derby distance) so we’ll assess it as he goes,” said Ritchie.