Kiwi mare Miss Artistic’s Queensland holiday is over and the New Zealand Oaks winner will be heading to Melbourne to team up with stable mate Zurella for trainer Shaun Ritchie.
Miss Artistic remained in Queensland after finishing down the track on a heavy 10 behind Quintessential in the Group 1 $400,000 Treasury Casino Queensland Oaks (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 2.
Ritchie left Miss Artistic in the care of Gold Coast trainer Toby Edmonds and the mare took her first steps towards the Spring with a third in a Doomben barrier trial last week with premiership jockey Chris Munce aboard.
Munce is likely to follow Miss Artistic to Melbourne after riding her in all three Brisbane appearances during the Winter which saw her best effort a close second to the Clarry Connors trained Invest in the Group 3 $175,000 Hidden Dragon The Roses (2000m) at Doomben on May 19.
“I left her in the care of Toby Edmonds at the Gold Coast and he had her in superb order for the trial,” Ritchie said.
“She had a nice cruisy trial and although she’s not a big, gross mare she looks well and had great cover across her rib cage which is exactly what I wanted to see.”
Ritchie doesn’t want to overtax Miss Artistic in the Spring after the then three year old trudged through a tough New Zealand summer campaign followed by a trip to Queensland.
“I’m mindful that she had a busy season in New Zealand during the summer and a bottoming run in the Queensland Oaks on a very heavy track,” Ritchie said.
Miss Artistic will meet up with stable mate Zurella in Melbourne next week and the mares will likely start in the Group 2 $220,000 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on September 8.
“They’re great pals from way back and finished alongside each other in the New Zealand Oaks, well clear of the third placegetter,” Ritchie said.
“It’s a good race for them to kick off in and under the set weights and penalties conditions they should be well suited,” he said.
“The goal with Zurella is the Caulfield Cup and I’m hoping to sneak her in via the Naturalism or Herbert Power Stakes, which are ballot-free races.
“With Artistic I’ll play it by ear and assess her after she runs in the Let’s Elope.”
Zurella missed the Winter and was spelled after finishing second to Miss Artistic in the Group 1 NZ$300,000 Wellfield New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham on March 17 and Ritchie is hopeful of pushing on to the Group 1 $2.5m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 20.
The Zabeel mare is rated a $81 chance in early Caulfield Cup markets which sees the Robert Hickmott trained Green Moon and Anthony Freedman’s Doomben Cup winner Mawingo share the top spot at $14.