Cambridge horseman Frank Ritchie.   Photo: Kenton Wright (Race Images)

Ritchie rapt with Cambridge double

Jess de Lautour, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk
10 July 2024

Frank Ritchie was thrilled to collect a winning double on the Cambridge Synthetic on Wednesday, mostly due to whom he was able to share the success with. 

Stunning Maire was the first to salute for Ritchie, contesting the Mawhiti Farm 1550 after a luckless run down the straight at Ruakaka when finishing seventh.  

Returning to her home course, the five-year-old mare was allowed to find cover and settle back in midfield from a wide draw (10) and when it looked as though she might face the same fate, blocked at the top of the straight, jockey Kelly Myers took luck out of the equation when taking a gap and driving her to the line by a half-length to Hammer Time.  

Ritchie was pleased with the performance, while indicating a step-up in distance is likely for the daughter of Holler.  

“I believe she is a 2000m horse at her peak, but she flies the gate and over races with clear air,” he said.  

“In more recent times she’s backed off that a bit, and as soon as she can get cover she seems to settle. She got up and won today, but as she goes up a grade, she’ll need to go a bit further.  

“If she continues to cool it in the early part of the race, I think she can keep improving up another level or two.  

“I’ll see how she recovers and then look at more opportunities, she’s okay in slightly off-ground but heavy is no good to her so we’ll just look for the right race.”  

Ritchie went to $40,000 to secure Stunning Maire as yearling at the 2020 Inglis Premier Sale in Melbourne, and the mare has earned just shy of $60,000 with three wins for her trainer alongside many of his long-term clients.  

“She was a beautiful animal and really took my eye,” he said.  

“Her sire at that stage wasn’t too popular I suppose, but she had a great bottom line and looked magnificent, very athletic and a great walk.  

“We’ve had a lot of fun with her and the owners in her have been with me since I was about 20 years old, I’ve had their horses ever since.  

“It’s great, it gives you more joy as they have been good friends for a long time.” 

Another great supporter of Ritchie’s owns Lemon Curd, who backed up her stablemate’s performance in the following event winning the Colin Bowden Fencing 1300.  

Having her fifth career start, the daughter of Per Incanto had the benefit of Triston Moodley’s three-kilogram claim and settled three-back off the rail in running. Pacemaker Ready Eddie Go made her work for the win in the home straight, but the filly was too tough and prevailed by a short neck across the line.  

“I was very happy with her going into the race, her work had been superb,” Ritchie said.  

“Ironically with her, she’s usually asleep before her races but today she was quite antsy and hot, if I was a punter I’d have backed off a little bit because that’s pretty unlike her, but she got the job done.  

“Triston said he still had plenty of horse underneath him at the line, so that encourages me to look for more ground with her. 

“There’s another couple of wins in her I think, going up a grade she’s another looking for more ground and needs a reasonable track so we might just take it easy until the spring comes.” 

Lemon Curd was bred by her owner Josiah Ma, who purchased her five-win dam Miss Caruso via in 2019. The mare by Pins won five races and has produced four winning foals.  

“I’ve had this client from Hong Kong for a long time, going back probably 30 years now and he’s been great. He has lots of horses in Australia and always sends me a couple,” Ritchie said.  

The filly’s unraced juvenile half-sister by Swiss Ace, Dink, is with the Ritchie stable and has won and placed in a pair of two-year-old trials.

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