Epsom Hope Starts Up in Bill Ritchie Handicap 2011 Field

Gold Coast-based horseman Bruce Hill will use this Saturday’s $125,000 Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill’s George Main Stakes Day as the next step towards getting his promising Danzero four-year-old Startsmeup into the 2011 Epsom Handicap.


Startsmeup is out to prove their Epsom Handicap potential in the 2011 Bill Ritchie Handicap on Saturday

Startsmeup is one of eight gallopers still in contention for the 2011 Bill Ritchie Handicap following the early scratching of #1 Triple Elegance who will instead take on Epsom Handicap betting favourite Sincero in the $350,000 Group 1 George Main Stakes (1500m) at the same meeting.

Hill also had Startsmeup nominated for the George Main, but has opted to give them an easier assignment outside of weight-for-age, the horse to carry just 53kg in the Bill Ritchie Handicap.

This is a significant drop in weights from what Startsmeup has been carrying this year, and Hill is hoping they will be able to significantly improve on their last-start sixth, beaten three and a half lengths by Trusting in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on September 3, with 58.5kg.

Prior to that Startsmeup ran a game third behind Pinwheel and Ilovethiscity in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m), again with 58.5kg on their back, and will likely advantage from not only the weight drop but the slight step back in class this weekend.

“His last two runs he’s had to carry 57 (sic) kilos at weight-for-age,” Hill said.

“He’s got 5.5 kilos less in the Bill Ritchie compared to the George Main which is quite a big difference.

“He pulled up really well after his last run and has trained on well.”

Hill has the gelding entered for the $500,000 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick on October 1, but they must show they are worthy of an elite level assignment first.

“At this stage he’s heading to the Epsom but he’ll need to win on Saturday to warrant a start,” Hill conceded.

Epsom Handicap betting markets at Luxbet currently have Startsmeup as a $71 outsider, which will prove a generous price should they emerge the Bill Ritchie Handicap winner on Saturday and thus firm in the Epsom odds.

The other headline horse in the Bill Ritchie Handicap 2011 field that Startsmeup will be out to beat is the Patrick and Wayne Webster-trained Group 1 performer Thankgodyou’rehere.

The six-year-old Secret Savings gelding will have the inside running from barrier one, Thankgodyou’rehere coming off a close third behind Sincero in the Group 3 Tramway Handicap (1400m) a fortnight ago.

Winner of the Group 3 Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m) last year, Thankgodyou’re here was runner-up to Atomic Force in the Group 1 The Galaxy back in April and has had just one start at Rosehill, which they won, back in September of 2010.

Thankgodyou’re here is another 2011 Epsom Handicap hopeful that sits at $18 in the markets at Luxbet.

A nice early guide to some of the upcoming Sydney Spring Carnival majors, the Bill Ritchie Handicap final field and barrier draw is listed below.

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2011 Bill Ritchie Handicap Field & Barriers

# Form (Last 10) Horse Trainer Jockey Br. Wgt. Hcp. Rtg.
1 121130X609 TRIPLE ELEGANCE Chris Waller 6 58kg 106
2 11X2435X53 THANKGODYOU’REHERE Patrick & Wayne Webster Rod Quinn 1 56kg 102
3 0X57200X75 KENNY’S WORLD Graeme Murray Hugh Bowman 4 55kg 100
4 600X0050X0 RED LORD Anthony Cummings Kerrin McEvoy 2 53.5kg 97
5 52320X2136 STARTSMEUP Bruce W Hill Paul Hammersley 9 53kg 95
6 8X9526006X MISS KEEPSAKE (NZ) Joseph Pride Christian Reith 7 53kg 91
7 X170X60970 BAY WINDOW Gwenda Markwell Tommy Berry 3 53kg 88
8 550X5123X1 TOM’S ROCKET Joseph Pride Corey Brown 8 53kg 78
9 3X1226135X CHARING CROSS Gai Waterhouse Chris Munce 5 53kg 72