Cambridge trainer Shaune Ritchie was a nervous man as the
field for Saturday’s PDL Iconic sponsored 1400 metre event entered the starting
gates at Ellerslie.
Ritchie admitted he had thought long and hard before
deciding to start his enigmatic galloper, Sultan Of Swing (Bachelor Duke x Queen Cha Cha), after he had
finished an unlucky seventh at the venue just a week earlier. A wide barrier
only added to the tension however, in the end, there was no cause for concern
as an outstanding ride by apprentice Sam Weatherley helped guide the IDL Racing bred and owned gelding to a narrow but convincing victory.
“I’m not a fan of running them week-to-week, especially as
he was fresh up last time,” explained Ritchie.
“When he was bouncing around on Monday I started to think
about it though as he didn’t even get off the bridle in that first run.
“Of course when the barrier draws came out it made it an
even tougher decision but he was just so well that we decided to have a throw
at the stumps with him.
“As it turned out Sam rode him perfectly from the wide draw
and had him one-out with cover before they’d gone 200 metres. He produced him
at just the right time in the straight and we got the job done.”
The victory was particularly satisfying for Ritchie as the
gelding had caused him no end of frustration with his performances since
transferring from the Donna Logan and Chris Gibbs stable during the winter.
“He obviously has plenty of talent but we just couldn’t get
him right for his first couple of runs with us,” he said.
“We decided to geld him and I think that has made a massive
difference. He is more settled and doesn’t have the various aches and pains that
an entire can have.
“Now we’ve got him right I think he can get through the
grades pretty smartly.”
– NZ Racing Desk