Ritchie accepts blame for filly’s defeat

Bella Gioia clearing out at Taupo to beat It's Time For Magic, a subsequent stakes winner, at Taupo.

Bella Gioia clearing out at Taupo to beat It’s Time For Magic, a subsequent stakes winner, at Taupo.

Shaune Ritchie has taken responsibility for Bella Gioia’s below-par performance at Te Rapa last Monday.

The Cambridge trainer conceded he had left the filly underdone for the Gr.2 James & Annie Sarten Memorial, in which she finished seventh behind Ugo Foscolo.

“She went okay, but we expected a little more and I’ve got to put my hand up. I left her a bit pretty, but that’s a problem I can rectify,” said Ritchie.

“Five weeks between runs ended up giving her a testing task. She missed a run at the Cambridge trials when they were cancelled and I was too kind to her.

“Don’t get me wrong though, I didn’t walk away happy. She was a minimum of two lengths below what she can do so we have to find those two lengths.”

Bella Gioia will now continue on to her main target – the Gr.1 gavelhouse.com NZ 1000 Guineas on November 12.

“She pulled up really well after Te Rapa and we’ve got two and a-half weeks to go to Riccarton and a flight in between,” said Ritchie.

“We’ll get her down there and work her on the beach to get some mileage into her and to get her back to her Gold Trail and Taupo form.”

Bella Gioia beat subsequent stakes winner It’s Time For Magic at Taupo in August before she came from the tail of the field to finish a close fourth in the Gr.3 Gold Trail Stakes.

Meanwhile, stablemate Bee Tee Junior has to win at Ellerslie on Melbourne Cup day to accompany the filly south.

“If he does then he’ll either run in the New Zealand Cup or there’s a Rating 85 over 2500 metres for him,” said Ritchie.

– NZ Racing Desk.