2010 Derby winner on the move to more Cups

Military Move earned a third straight trip to the central districts with a game win in the Gr. 3 $70,000 Hotel Coachman Manawatu Cup at Awapuni yesterday.

Military Move holds a nomination for the Gr. 2 $100,000 Scot Thrust City Of Auckland Cup at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day, but trainer Shaune Ritchie has virtually canned the idea of a start in the 2400-metre event.

“The City Of Auckland Cup is probably not his go. He’s got a little too much weight,” said Ritchie. “He’s got to give More Than Sacred five and a half kilos and it’s just too much to ask of him.

“It may be better to wait a month and go straight into the Wellington Cup. He likes it down in the CD and so do I.”

Military Move recaptured his best form at Awapuni on November 12 when winning over 2100 metres in the hands of Jonathan Riddell, who again took the reins yesterday and guided him to a narrow win over the favourite Who Shot Thebarman.

Military Move was part of a Group One double with Keep The Pace (NZ Oaks) during the autumn of 2010 for Ritchie before heading to Hong Kong to race for his owner Steven Lo. He had 19 starts in Hong Kong for two wins and five placings and had been off the winner’s list for 23 months until Ritchie produced him to win on that trip to Palmerston North last month.

Ritchie remarked after that overdue win for Military Move that it was one of the highlights of his training career. And so was yesterday’s Group Three win.

“He’s a classy horse and he’s carried a little bit of weight (58kg) today,” said Ritchie, who also praised rider Jonathan Riddell for his handling of the seven-year-old.

“Jonathan had no luck on the favourite (Kawi) early in the day and I’m pleased he’s redeemed himself. He’s a terrific rider and you don’t tell those top jockeys what to do.”

Military Move swept to the front with 300 metres to run and Who Shot Thebarman, after being angled into the clear by rider Rosie Myers, came at him strongly on the inside and the pair fought it out right to the line with Military Move holding the edge by a long head.

“We were challenged by a decent horse with 53 kilos,” said Riddell, who had ridden both Who Shot Thebarman and Military Move in recent wins.

Since returning from Hong Kong Military Move has been raced by Ritchie’s wife, Alison, in partnership with Belinda Bellingham, wife of Paul Bellingham, who manages Lo’s racing affairs in Australasia.

“Mr Lo felt Military Move had hit his level over there and he gifted him back to us — Paul Bellingham and myself,” said Ritchie. “We decided to let our wives race him and let them have some fun with him.”