Ritchie wants the Bonecrusher

Cambridge trainer Shaune Ritchie (pictured) is hoping to realise a dream at Ellerslie on Saturday.

That dream result centres on one of the feature events of the day, the Listed $45,000 Just Juice Bonecrusher Stakes, named in honour of the champion galloper who was trained by Ritchie’s father, Frank. Shaune, who was Bonecrusher’s loyal groom, will have two starters in the Bonecrusher Stakes
— Artistic and Mr Ginger.

“It’s a race I would love to win, particularly while the old horse is still alive,” said Ritchie. “He’s 29 now and living a life of retirement at (owner) Peter Mitchell’s farm.”

Ritchie has desperately tried to win the Bonecrusher Stakes over the years and even subsequent Group One winners Magic Cape and MilitaryMove couldn’t do it for him. “Magic Cape ran third in it then went on and won the 2000 Guineas at Riccarton and Military Move was second in it to Jungle Juice then later on, of course, won the (NZ) Derby,” said Ritchie. “I’ve also had a couple of fourths in it.”

Ritchie’s desire to win the Bonecrusher Stakes, coupled with some sound reasoning by Rick Williams, racing manager for Artistic’s owner, Dick Karreman, has resulted in the Darci Brahma filly bypassing the Listed Manuka Doctor Soliloquy Stakes on the same day to tackle the race.

“I nominated her (Artistic) for both races and after talking it over with Rick we’ve decided to go for the Bonecrusher,” said Ritchie. “Whoshe beat the colts in the Wanganui Guineas and she’s going for the Soliloquy and she will clearly be the one to beat in that. It makes sense to dodge her.”

Artistic has raced three times, twice as a two-year-old, and was an impressive fresh-up winner at Ruakaka recently when ridden by Michael Coleman, who will again take the reins on Saturday.

Ritchie also gives his other Bonecrusher Stakes candidate, Mr Ginger, a realistic chance of getting some of the money. “He didn’t have all favours first-up when he ran fourth at Awapuni,” said Ritchie. “I think him and Artistic are my two best hopes for the Group Ones at Riccarton.”