D Day for My Scotsgrey

The pressure is on My Scotsgrey rather than his Group One-winning stablemate Artistic at Awapuni on Saturday.

My Scotsgrey is on trial for the Gr.2 Pacific Jewellers Wellington Cup later this month and needs to perform well in the Listed $55,000 Gallagher Group Marton Cup to guarantee him a start in the 2400-metre feature.

On the other hand Artistic is expected to need her run in the $40,000 Waikato Stud Handicap (1400m) and trainer Shaune Ritchie will be happy to see her running into a placing.

My Scotsgrey has been plagued with leg problems since he won the 2009 Christchurch Casino NZ Cup at Riccarton and is regarded as a day to day proposition. He has had only eight starts in the last three years and there was much delight when he broke through for an overdue win at Te Rapa in August 2011.

After that campaign he spent 12 months away from racing and has had two starts this season, the first one being in the 1600-metre Eagle Technology Stakes at Ellerslie on December 1.Not surprisingly he found the distance far too short and was outpaced.

But he produced an encouraging second-up run when stepped up to 2100 metres at Te Rapa on December 21 and finished fifth, two and three-quarter lengths from the winner El Soldado.

Ritchie is pleased with the progress made by My Scotsgrey since the Te Rapa outing and is looking for a big effort from the son of Golan on Saturday.

“The form out of that Te Rapa race is good with El Soldado and Chaparonne going on to run second and third in the City Of Auckland Cup,” said Ritchie. “He needs a good hitout for the Wellington Cup and he’s got to do something on Saturday if he’s to have a realistic chance at Trentham.”

My Scotsgrey will be ridden on Saturday by Darryl Bradley, while Jonathan Riddell will be aboard Artistic, winner of last season’s Group I Wellfield NZ Oaks at Trentham.

Artistic was spelled after finishing fourth in the Cranbourne Cup on October 14 and is coming to hand well, according to Ritchie.

“She’s carrying plenty of condition, but she’s screaming for a run,” he said. “I’d be surprised if she won on Saturday. She’s not tuned up for the run and not tuned for 1400. As long as she gets to the line nicely I’ll be happy.”

Artistic is likely to miss the Group I Thorndon Mile at Trentham and instead have her second-up run in the Wairarapa Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes at Tauherenikau next month.

“Long term I’d like to have a crack at the Brisbane Cup with her, especially with her owner Dick Karreman living in Brisbane. It would mean a lot to him to win a big one over there,” said Ritchie.

Another race on the cards is the Group I Darci Brahma International Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa next month. Darci Brahma stands at Karreman’s The Oaks Stud.