Promising galloper Dawn Patrol made a pleasing start to the new season for trainer Frank Ritchie, deadheating his 880m trial with Magnum at Te Rapa on Tuesday.
“I was happy with that,” Ritchie said. “He is a bit burly and the track was hard work, he had a real blow afterwards too. I am pleased with him, he will improve a lot obviously.”
Dawn Patrol won two of his six starts last season and placed in three stakes races, including a runner-up performance in the Gr.1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton.
However, the son of Dawn Approach rounded-out his season on a sour note after finishing eighth over 1400m at Te Aroha, his only unplaced run of the season.
“He didn’t pull up well after that run,” he said. “We couldn’t get him to recover enough, so we just gave him a long spell, and he came out of that alright. Hopefully we can turn the page.”
Ritchie is also hoping that early signs of mental maturity will transfer to the track on race day.
“One of his other problems is that he is a bit aggressive,” Ritchie said. “Sometimes he wants to overdo it, even with a race with pace, he can get on the bit.
“He’s a bit older this time and even in his track work he seems to be a little more mellow. That will have a huge impact on his ability to perform better if he just waits for the call to go rather than go at will.”
Ritchie is looking forward to his first-up run next month, but said he will wait to find out his ideal distance before making any stakes plans.
“He will be starting at Auckland on the 7th (of September) in the (rating) 82 1200m. We will plan from there.
“Because he didn’t finish his season off I didn’t get a chance to see what his most appropriate distance was.
“It would be nice if he could get a mile. He ran second in the 2000 Guineas, but that would probably be his maximum trip anyway.”
Ritchie also lined-up Group Three winner Fiscal Fantasy who also dead-heated her 1100m heat with the Richard Collett-trained Sweet Clementine.
“She trialled terrific,” he said. “She is a little sweetheart, she does everything right. It was a lovely trial. She will also run at Auckland on the 7th over 1600m.
“She will get a lot of weight, she is only a little girl, so I’ll put an apprentice on her. That will be her first up run.”
A Group One tilt could be next for the daughter of Skilled, however, Ritchie said there would need to be a significant attrition rate for Fiscal Fantasy to head to Hastings for the Livamol Classic (2040m).
“She is in the Livamol, but there would probably need to be some misfortune for a couple of the hot shots,” he said.
“If it weakened a bit, we would be inclined to have a try, other than that we will target other races. 2000m seems to be her premier trip once she is conditioned.
“There are races suitable for her throughout the summer.” – NZ Racing Desk