Trainer Shaune Ritchie is hoping that the application of blinkers will help Chop Chop produce an improved effort when she contests the 2014 The Roses at Doomben tomorrow.
Chop Chop was well-backed in the lead-up to her Australian racing debut in the Listed Gold Coast Bracelet (1800m) on May 3, but was never a factor in the finish and worked home fairly to finish fifth after being shuffled back in the field coming around the bend.
Ritchie gave Chop Chop a pass mark for her performance in the Gold Coast Bracelet, but is hoping that blinkers will help the daughter of Guillotine stay switched on for the entire 2000 metres of The Roses this weekend.
“I thought her first run over in the Gold Coast Bracelet was a pass mark,” Ritchie told The New Zealand Racing Desk.
“She hit a flat spot from the 800 [metres] to the 500 and that particular period of the race worries me a little; one or two got past her and she got left a little flat-footed.
“We’ve elected to put blinkers on her this weekend and we’re hoping for the desired result so we hold our ground during that period and she finishes the race off as well as we know she can.
“We’d like to see the horse race a little better this weekend to justify a spot in the Oaks.”
Chop Chop is expected to jump from barrier six in The Roses and Ritchie revealed that he will be instructing jockey Ric McMahon to try and take up a relatively forward position in the early stages of the race.
The three-year-old has generally been settled towards the tail of the field during her racing career, coming from the tail of the field when she finished fourth in the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham on March 15, but Ritchie believes that the filly has the tactical speed to press forward this weekend.
“It’s a lovely gate,” Ritchie said.
“She’ll start from six if the emergency comes out and that should give Ric a few options.
“She’s been a filly that can race handy if we’ve wanted her to and I see no reason to give them a head start.
There’s some nice fillies in the race but if she can get a nice trail in the race in fourth, fifth, sixth, she’ll get the chance to show her best.”
Chop Chop is currently available at 2014 The Roses odds of $26; with David Vandyke-trained Arabian Gold ($2.20) a clear favourite from the well-backed Hera ($4).