This Saturday seven black type races will light up Sydney’s Randwick Racecourse, one of which is the 2012 Bill Ritchie Handicap running as Race 5 at 3:20pm.
A total of 10 gallopers have been accepted for the $125,000 Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) this year including two from the stables of Gai Waterhouse with Herculian Prince and Wild And Proud.
Waterhouse’s former The Metropolitan winner Herculian Prince, who has been allocated the 58kg for Saturday, hasn’t won a race since their Group 1 triumph in the spring of 2010 and runs in the Bill Ritchie first-up after a four and a half month spell.
Stablemate Wild And Proud is a much more credible chance with 56.5kg despite their disappointing run last time out when dead last to Tagus upon resuming in the Tramway Handicap at Warwick Farm, their trainer confident the Snowland four-year-old will improve second-up.
Also with multiple Bill Ritchie hopefuls on Saturday is maestro trainer Bart Cummings who will saddle up Redoute’s Choice five-year-old I Think I Do (barrier eight) and the very promising Dare To Dream (barrier six).
Lightly raced Danehill Dancer stallion Dare To Dream debuts for Cummings on Saturday, the former European galloper also running on Aussie turf for the first time.
They have had just four starts to date but boast three wins already including their most recent, a three length victory when carrying 59kg over 2011m in the wet back in the UK.
Some of the other more notable chances in the Bill Ritchie Handicap field this year include John O’Shea’s Group 2 winning mare Steps In Time, the Chris Waller-trained Said Com who ran second to the mighty Mosheen in the Randwick Guineas last season, and Speediness.
Colin Scott’s Testa Rossa gelding Speediness has drawn ideally with barrier three, Glyn Schofield engaged for the ride, and will wear winkers on Saturday in an attempt to sharpen them up after their first-up fifth to We’re Gonna Rock in the Bobbie Lewis Quality at Flemington a fortnight ago.
“I was happy with the run but by the time he had gone his first 100 yards it was over,” Scott said of Speediness’s run in the Bobbie Lewis.
“He can be a bit fractious in the barriers when he is fresh and he sat down and he was probably a touch slow away and got a check which put us back a bit further than we wanted, he added.
“From what Craig (Williams) said they went fairly slow early and then when they quickened they left him flat footed but he worked to the line nicely and was probably in need of a run.
“I have put winkers on him for the first time and he worked in them on Tuesday and worked extremely well and I think it might make a very big difference.
“From barrier three I don’t think he will get too far back.
“I will have to talk to Glyn but he certainly won’t be getting back to last and trying to make the ground on them and I would envisage him running third or fourth with cover and biding his time.”
Speediness, like a number of their weekend rivals, is using the Bill Ritchie as a lead-up into the $500,000 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick on October 6.
They are currently rated a $67 roughie in the futures Epsom Handicap odds, the shortest-priced of the Bill Ritchie starters in the futures markets for the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival feature being Said Com at $15.
The full 2012 Bill Ritchie Handicap final field, barrier draw, jockeys and weights are listed in the table below.
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2012 Bill Ritchie Handicap Final Field & Barrier Draw
Royal Randwick Race 5 – 3:20pm – 22/09/2012
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||00x452520x||HERCULIAN PRINCE (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Nathan Berry||2||58kg||103|
|2||10x1118x50||STEPS IN TIME||John O’Shea||Jim Cassidy||5||57kg||105|
|3||01x20x020x||TORIO’S QUEST||David Pfieffer||Hugh Bowman||10||56.5kg||100|
|4||x3161103x0||WILD AND PROUD||Gai Waterhouse||Nash Rawiller||9||56.5kg||100|
|5||6x114727x5||SPEEDINESS||Colin Scott||Glyn Schofield||3||56kg||99|
|6||x21227x136||SAID COM (NZ)||Chris Waller||Corey Brown||7||55.5kg||98|
|7||0x250x9x27||SAINTHOOD||Rick Worthington||Blake Shinn||1||54.5kg||92|
|8||615x90427x||I THINK I DO||Bart Cummings||Kerrin McEvoy||8||54.5kg||83|
|9||311x5641x2||FLAMING ROCK||David Payne||Jason Collett (a)||4||54.5kg||82|
|10||3x111x||DARE TO DREAM (IRE)||Bart Cummings||James McDonald||6||54.5kg||78|