The Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained Group 2 winner Messene is the headline final acceptor for the Bill Ritchie Handicap 2015 at Royal Randwick in Sydney on Saturday.
The veteran seven-year-old son of Lonhro is one of 11 middle distance sprinters accepted to face off in Randwick Race 2 at 1:15pm (AEST) on George Main Stakes Day – the $125,000 Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m).
Drawn wide in gate 10 for jockey Tommy Berry to overcome, Messene also must lump the 59kg top weight for his latest run on the back of an eighth with half a kilo less last Saturday in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m).
Before that he ran a brave third to Royal Descent in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) and the return to Randwick should suit as he boasts three wins, a second and a third from his six previous runs at the track.
Following Messene in the Bill Ritchie Handicap field and weights are then three 58kg hopefuls with the Chris Waller-trained duo of Caloundra Cup winner Index Linked and Heart Testa, and Rudy for Queensland trainer Helen Page who are drawn in barriers four, two and three respectively.
Trained on the Gold Coast, Red Dazzler five-year-old Rudy comes off back-to-back thirds this campaign including a brave effort when beaten only three quarters of a length by the winner Hooked in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) on September 5.
Also coming off nice lead-ups into the Bill Ritchie this season are Waller’s third acceptor Sadler’s Lake who is drawn the rails with Jim Cassidy riding, Anthony Cummings’ fellow last start winner Puzzling Wonder and the Kim Waugh-trained Forget with the outside alley.
High Chaparral four-year-old Sadler’s Lake won over the track and distance first-up on September 5 and also enjoyed a stellar winter in Queensland earlier in the year when winning the Group 3 Rough Habit Plate (2000m) and finishing a close fourth to Magicool in the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2200m) at Doomben.
Puzzling Wonder also shoots for back-to-back wins, the nicely-bred Northern Meteor stallion having won over 1200m at Wyong on September 4 with Saturday his first black-type run since a seventh to Delectation in a Group 2 in the wet back in April at the track.
Forget may have the wide draw but the six-year-old Exceed And Excel gelding ran second to Sadler’s Lake last time out with 60kg and will appreciate the drop right back to 54kg.
Check out the full Bill Ritchie Handicap 2015 field, barriers, jockeys and weights below then visit our preferred online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au where your first deposit will be matched by the house 100% up to $500 as a bonus bet you can split four ways with use of the code SPRINGBONUS!
2015 Bill Ritchie Handicap Final Field & Barrier Draw
Randwick Race 2 (1:15pm) – 19/09/2015
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||17x299x538||MESSENE||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Tommy Berry||10||59kg||106|
|2||811105216x||INDEX LINKED (GB)||Chris Waller||James McDonald||4||58kg||104|
|3||1x28840x33||RUDY||Helen Page||Kerrin McEvoy||3||58kg||104|
|4||1046150×40||HEART TESTA||Chris Waller||Jason Collett||2||56kg||100|
|5||x47060435x||DESTINY’S KISS||Joseph Pride||Glyn Schofield||7||54kg||95|
|6||11x42154x1||SADLER’S LAKE||Chris Waller||Jim Cassidy||1||54kg||92|
|8||27×3526125||DRAGON FLYER||John P Thompson||TBA||5||54kg||78|
|9||3616x340x||REKINDLED POWER||Paul Messara||Christian Reith||8||54kg||78|
|10||32174×1||PUZZLING WONDER||Anthony Cummings||Brenton Avdulla||9||54kg||70|
|11||0365236333||NEVER BACK DOWN||Jim & Greg Lee||Ms Winona Costin (a)||6||54kg||61|