Cambridge trainer Frank Ritchie is heading into the last day of the Hawke’s Bay Spring Carnival in high spirits. The Waikato horseman will take two stable representatives south to contest feature races on the ten race card on Saturday.
Group One performer Dawn Patrol will line-up in the Group 3 Red Badge Spring Sprint (1400m) and has been installed a $3.80 favourite for the race by TAB Bookmakers after closing late to win at Counties last start. “I am very happy with him. He has done very well recently. He has pulled up well from his previous start and has worked nicely,” Ritchie said. “I think his run the other day was terrific. He gave Star Treasure four kilos and was able to pick him up.”
Ritchie has made a slight gear change to Dawn Patrol in a bid to settle the four-year-old gelding. “We are putting earmuffs on him to help him cool down a bit. It has been working in his trackwork, so we are hoping that will keep him down.”
Ritchie is happy with his charge heading into Saturday, but is hoping the predicted rain will stay away until after the race. “He has performed on all tracks, but he is such a big actioned horse and is a heavy horse too, so the better the ground the better he will like it,” he said. “There is rain predicted on Saturday, but that is for later in the day, so hopefully that doesn’t come before we run. If that’s the case, I think the track should be good, which is what we are after.
“From the draw (barrier seven), it’s midfield, we have got a top jockey on in Matt (Cameron) and he will work it out. “The higher the pace the better he will like it. I don’t care where he is in the running, because now he is down five kilos from what he carried last time, if he is not too far off them, he can sprint pretty well.”
Ritchie will also contest the Group 1 Livamol Classic (2040m) with Fiscal Fantasy. Not initially planned for the daughter of Skilled, Ritchie elected to target the race after he saw a few topline horses were being set for alternative Australian targets. “I never really targeted the Livamol until it looked like the better horses were going to Australia,” he said. “She tries very hard. She raced there well before, but she races well everywhere. She is so easy to come to you, she has just thrived up to this point.”
Fiscal Fantasy has become one of Ritchie’s stable favourites and he said the only thing that goes against her is her size. “I am delighted with her. She is an absolute dream to train, she is the perfect racehorse in every way except that she is a midget. “I think she can get some of the money with the right run. Her problem has often been that because she is so small, she can’t push her way out.
“Leith Innes and Jason Waddell have ridden her the most and they love her. They come in frustrated because they have got horse under them and can’t push their way out. “If she gets a bit of room and gets a good run I am sure she will be right in the finish amongst those following the favourite around.”