Ritchie keeps promise to Brisbane hoop

Snow Secret finishing best to beat Lil Miss Waitoki and Bergerac at Ellerslie.

Snow Secret finishing best to beat Lil Miss Waitoki and Bergerac at Ellerslie.

Shaune Ritchie has kept a promise to lightweight Brisbane jockey Jason Taylor that could result in Wellington Cup glory at Trentham this weekend.

The Cambridge trainer has engaged Taylor for emerging stayer Snow Secret for Saturday’s Gr. 2 Wallaceville Estate Wellington Cup (3200m), delighted the hoop has agreed to ride his Sakhee’s Secret four-year-old mare on the 52kg minimum.

“It’s difficult to get an experienced Group One-winning rider at 52 kilos and we’ve got a four-year-old who really hasn’t run against the more-hardened handicappers over two miles so we needed to get the right type of jockey,” said Ritchie.

“We’ve been friends with Jason for many years and we’d always said if we had a decent one in a good race, we’d get him over to ride if the opportunity arose – and here it is.

“Jason is a natural lightweight and he won’t have to waste to get to 52 and there wouldn’t be too many Stradbroke Handicap-winning jockeys in that position.

“I wouldn’t be bringing him over if the horse was just a go-round. We rode her upside down a bit last start [when fifth in the Dunstan Feeds Championship Final at Ellerslie], trying to take advantage of barrier one but we’ll be riding her cold this weekend and she’ll be hitting the line stronger than most of them.”

Snow Secret has won three of her 10 starts and Ritchie thought enough of her to send her to Adelaide last season for a tilt at the Gr. 3 South Australian Classic (2500m), in which she finished a meritorious fifth under Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Glen Boss.

“Glen told us after that race that she was a natural stayer and she’d get two miles one day,” said Ritchie.

“Jimmy Mac and Pentathlon are two high-class stayers and I’m not going into the race thinking that our mare is better than them, but if we get the good run and they don’t, then we might well be in the thick of things.”

Snow Secret is currently a $16 chance for the Wellington Cup in a market headed by Jimmy Mac at $3.50 and Pentathlon at $5.50.

Taylor, who won the Stradbroke Handicap in 2011 aboard Sincero, has taken two rides for Cambridge trainers Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young at Trentham and will also ride on -Sunday at Ellerslie, where he is booked for the Ritchie-trained Ruby Bloom in the 1200-metre special conditions maiden.

– NZ Racing Desk