Leading jockey Craig Newitt is confident that Kiwi gelding Ransomed can give him his first ever win in the Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Ransomed will be making his Australian racing debut in the Zipping Classic this weekend after a successful, yet inconsistent, four race campaign in New Zealand.
The Handsome Ransom gelding failed to fire first-up in the Ideal Elect 10 Year Anniversary Handicap (1200m) at Wanganui and did not beat home a single runner when he stepped up to Group 1 level for the Windsor Park Plate (1600m) at Hastings on September 21.
Ransomed was stepped up to the more appropriate distance of 2040 metres for the Group 1 The Turks Spring Classic and produced a tough staying effort to win his maiden Group 1 event from Nashville and Survived.
The six-year-old could not replicate that performance in the Group 3 Sofitel Luxury Hotels Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie just under a fortnight ago but Newitt is confident that Ransomed is an excellent winning chance in the Zipping Classic and revealed that the improving stayer had been specifically set for the Group 2 event by trainer Gary Vile.
“He’ll be hard to beat,” Newitt told New Zealand Thoroughbred Marketing.
“He (Vile) has set the horse for this race and he actually rang and booked me for the ride before Caulfield Cup day.”
The Zipping Classic has not drawn the strongest field, with Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Precedence, progressive stayer Sertorius and Gai Waterhouse-trained Queenstown the standouts, and Newitt believes that if Ransomed repeats his performance from The Turks Spring Classic, he will be very tough to beat.
“He looks pretty much the only weight-for-age horse in the race,” Newitt said.
“I’ve watched his Group One win in New Zealand and he’s only got to reproduce that and he’ll be beating these on Saturday.”
Ransomed will be stepping up to 2400 metres for just the third time in his racing career and there are some questions mark over his ability to run out the trip.
He stepped up to 2500 metres for the first time in the 2012 New Zealand St Leger (2500m) at Trentham and finished a disappointing eighth and failed to fire in the Group 2 Wellington Cup (2400m) as well as the Group 1 Auckland Cup (3200m).
Ransomed is currently on the fourth line of 2013 Zipping Classic betting markets at odds of $9.50, behind Precedence ($3.30), Sertorius ($3.80) and Queenstown ($4.80).