Ritchie confident Bee Tee Junior ready for Riccarton assault
Cambridge trainer Shaune Ritchie is confident he has progressive stayer Bee Tee Junior on target for his assault on a Christchurch Cup Week double.
The lightly raced six-year-old has the Gr.3 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup (3200m) as his main target next week, but Ritchie warns he will be equally competitive in Saturday’s Listed Redwood Metropolitan Trophy Handicap (2500m), the traditional lead-up event to the Cup.
|Bee Tee Junior (lime green colours) Photo: Trish Dunell Photography|
“He’s travelled down well and I’m expecting a good performance from him on the weekend,” he said.
“He’s not as well off in the weights this week, but it’s not a big field and he will love the 2500m distance of the race.
“At his last start he simply fell asleep at the back of the field and lobbed along without a care in the world until he was asked for his effort. He switched on nicely and showed a sharp turn of foot and that’s what I will be looking for this time as well.
“He appeals as the type to appreciate the big Riccarton track, although my only concern is that it doesn’t get too hard underfoot on the day.
“He can handle it on top of the ground, but you wouldn’t want to see them have to race on a really firm track two weeks in a row as that could pose a problem.”
Ritchie had planned on having a two-pronged attack on Saturday’s contest, however stablemate Where Are You endured a tough trip south and will need a couple of easy days to recover.
“With the terrible wind her flight got buffeted around and she got down and scraped a knee,” he said.
“She was a little worse for wear coming off the plane which meant we had no option but to miss the race.
“Thankfully, it’s mainly superficial so she will be right to start on the last day of the carnival.”
Ritchie has also advised that smart mare Devise will have a few easy days in the paddock after her stunning fresh-up victory at Ellerslie on Tuesday.
“She has come back in great shape for her four-year-old campaign, so we were expecting a good run, but the performance she put in was pretty exciting for us all,” he said.
“She was competitive at the top level during her three-year-old season and the way she has strengthened and matured during the break augurs well for her this time in.
“We’re just going to potter around with her for a few days while we think about where to go next.
“There are a number of nice races coming up around the Christmas period so it’s really a matter of working out the best way to get to them, but we are in no hurry with her.” – NZ Racing Desk.