New Zealand trainer Shaune Ritchie hasn’t ruled out a Queensland Derby start with Miss Artistic and will make a call after the filly runs in the Queensland Oaks at Eagle Farm tomorrow.
The New Zealand Oaks winner is currently second favourite for the Group 1 $400,000 Treasury Casino Queensland Oaks (2400m) and Ritchie is keen to run the filly in the Group 1 $500,000 Channel Seven Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm the following week if she runs well.
“If she underperforms she will go for a spell but if she runs well and comes through the race well it is hard to ignore a race worth $500,000 Australian where we would be confident she’ll be competitive,” Ritchie said.
“She could run into the Atlantic Jewels in the Spring and they would lap her and there are no $500,000 races for her in New Zealand.”
Ritchie is confident that Miss Artistic is ready to peak tomorrow after going down narrowly to Invest in the Group 3 $175,000 Hidden Dragon The Roses (2000m) at Doomben two weeks ago at her second run in Queensland after finishing fourth to Scorpio Queen in the Listed $125,000 H Harvey Prestige Gold Coast Bracelet (1800m) at the Gold Coast on May 5.
“Each run she’s had has been a stepping stone and if we have done our job right she should bring her A game on the weekend,” Ritchie said.
“We took her into the Gold Coast underdone and I think she raced that way, and I thought the improvement into her second run was significant and we’re expecting to get that extra length out of her.”
“I’d be disappointed if she didn’t get the thick end of the cheque on Saturday.”
Ritchie is not going to tie down four times Oaks winner Chris Munce with specific instructions describing the Darci Brahma filly as very versatile and will race well from anywhere in the field.
“It gives Chris some options but the good thing about this filly is you can put her anywhere you like,” he said.
“She’s come from last at home and she was able to race on the pace when she won the New Zealand Oaks. Chris knows how much she’s improved from race to race so he’s probably going to go out there with a lot of confidence.”
Rival Kiwi fillies Quintessential, Dowager Queen and Poste Restante loom as the major threats to Miss Artistic along with Sydney fillies Scorpio Queen and Angel Of Mercy.
The rain affected track has enhanced the chances of the Lee Freedman – Graeme Rogerson trained Dowager Queen who has two wins from two starts on a heavy track while Quintessential has slow track form.
Poste Restante has one placing on a slow track and is untested on the heavy while Chris Waller’s filly Scorpio Queen has two heavy track wins to her credit.
Jockey Corey Brown was keen on the chances of Angel of Mercy after drawing a decent barrier but the Hussonet filly has no wet track form.
Brown had to ride the Gerald Ryan trained filly back in the field from a wide gate when sixth to Invest in the Roses and is hoping to get a better run closer to pace from a better barrier draw.
“It would have been great to have been three or four lengths closer but I said to Gerald I’d rather see her get home and be unlucky than go forward from a wide gate,” Brown said.
Quintessential heads the market order at $4.60, followed by Miss Artistic ($5.50), Scorpio Queen ($7), Dowager Queen and Angel Of Mercy ($8.50) and Poste Restante at $11.