Ritchie ready to rip on both sides of Tasman

Let Her Rip will be in the hands of Chris Johnson when chasing black-type at Rotorua tomorrow.

Let Her Rip will be in the hands of Chris Johnson when chasing black-type at Rotorua tomorrow.

Shaune Ritchie is breaking with his standard practice for Let Her Rip as he strives to secure a valuable stakes win in tomorrow’s Listed ISCL Rotorua Stakes at Rotorua.

The Cambridge trainer believes the Rip Van Winkle mare performs best with her races spaced, but he will produce her just two weeks after her previous start this weekend.

“I normally like to space her races but we’ve had to tailor a start on Saturday to suit the conditions,” said Ritchie.

“The two-week backup is going to suit her fitness-wise and with the heavy track, it will be all about fitness on Saturday. It’s going to mean we’re taking a bit of speed out of her legs but she won’t be needing speed the way that track is likely to be.

“She’s by Rip Van Winkle and out of a Keeper mare so she’s bred to handle it wet but this will be completely different to anything she’s ever galloped on before.

“With the weather that’s forecast, there will be a beeline for the hedge on outside of the track. They’ll be blueing over who’s closest to the outside fence.”

While unsure how Let Her Rip will handle the likely heavy track conditions, Ritchie is keen to give the four-year-old her final opportunity to secure a black-type placing for the season.

“She’s been close before,” he said. “We took her to Melbourne early on and she ran fifth in a Listed race there but with any luck she would have run in the money.

“She was fifth in the 1000 Guineas and fifth in the Cuddle Stakes when she got no luck so she’s been thereabouts. She was unlucky at Te Rapa the other day – she never really got a crack at them.

“She’s a good mare when she’s right and we’ve booked Chris Johnson for Saturday and his style should suit her.

“He doesn’t panic and she can run a bit when she’s given a bit of rein. He’ll let her find her feet, probably midfield, and hopefully she’ll get her chance to run home strongly late.”

Ritchie said Let Her Rip would target a fresh-up race at Hastings during the spring carnival before progressing to further stakes races next season.

“She races well fresh so we’ll take advantage of that and have her ready to go for one of those races at Hastings early next season,” he said.

“She’ll get better as she gets older. She’s holding her strength pretty well, but she’s still a bit fragile mentally. As she gets older she’ll get better with that. She’s destined to get black-type.”

Meanwhile, Ritchie will chase stakes success in Brisbane tomorrow with Sultan Of Swing contesting the Listed Singapore Turf Club Members’ Handicap (1400m) at Doomben with Kerrin McEvoy booked to ride.

“It’s a handy field but there are no stars and it’s made up of mainly local horses with form pretty similar to him,” said Ritchie.

“He’s 10-1 in the markets and that’s about right. He’s right on the doorstep of open grade in New Zealand. He’s very fit and he’ll get his chance.

“If he can’t measure up, we’ll look at country cups for him but there are plenty of options in Brisbane if he can show he’s competitive.”

– NZ Racing Desk