Shaune Ritchie has been keeping a friendly watch on an enemy camp in the build-up to Saturday’s Gr.1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa.
The Cambridge trainer is more than happy with his contender Devise ahead of the weight-for-age feature, but has healthy respect for a rival runner from the powerful Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman stable.
“We’re at the same centre so I see a fair bit of Lizzie L’Amour and after her run for second the other day she is clearly the horse to beat,” Ritchie said.
Lizzie L’Amour stormed home at Ellerslie to finish runner-up behind Thee Auld Floozie in the Gr.2 Westbury Classic (1400m), over a distance well short of her best.
“I took Devise to Te Rapa for a gallop last Saturday morning and she worked very well, nice and relaxed,” Ritchie said.
“I’m going to put the visor blinkers back on her, she raced in them in the Oaks when she pushed Bonneval so hopefully they can give us that edge.”
Devise finished a last-start second at Trentham in the Gr.3 Trentham Stakes (2100m).
Meanwhile, stablemate Excalibur will attempt to complete a hat-trick of wins when he steps out next in the Westinghouse Nathans Memorial (2400m) on Saturday week.
“He holds a nomination for the Auckland Cup so he’ll be on trial for that,” Ritchie said.
“The 2400m won’t worry him and while the Cup doesn’t suit him – at set weights and penalties he’s poorly off – he is a genuine stayer.”
Excalibur won his maiden over a mile and since he has been stepped up over ground he has been unbeaten in four starts at 2100m. – NZ Racing Desk.