Respected New Zealand trainer Frank Ritchie came within a neck of Group One glory in the Zabeel Classic on the first day of the Ellerslie carnival and is looking to go one better in the Railway.
Fiscal Fantasy ran second to True Enough in Thursday’s Zabeel (2000m) and Ritchie will saddle Dawn Patrol in the New Year’s Day 1200m-sprint.
The winner of the Group Three Sweynesse Stakes (1215m) at Rotorua in October, the quirky Dawn Patrol heads into Saturday off the back of an unplaced run over 1200m at Ellerslie earlier this month.
“He is what he is as a horse,” Ritchie told NZ Racing Desk.
“You don’t know who is going to turn up on the day in terms of temperament.
“He is pretty volatile and he can over-race for almost no reason at all.”
Ritchie is expecting the speed to be on for the entire 1200m and says that will suit his charge perfectly.
“You would expect in this race for the speed to be on right from the start. Some of those nice speed horses that have drawn out wide, you would expect them to go back in a 14-horse field,” he said.
“I am picking the speed will be on and it will be hard to see them slowing it down. I think the moment one tries to another will take over.
“That will suit him perfectly from the good draw (3). We have been purposefully trying to get him to drop out of the races a bit to settle, but this time we will be keen to get right in behind the pace.
“If he does that, and if he settles, and if they go fast – all the ifs – he will be a big chance. He is very talented and if he had Fiscal Fantasy’s temperament he would be a superstar. But you just don’t know with him.”
All going to plan, Dawn Patrol will head south to Trentham in Wellington to run in the Telegraph (1200m) on January 18.
Dawn Patrol is a $16 chance with the Australian TAB which has Queensland sprinter Winter Bride and Media Sensation as the $5.50 equal favourites.
Trained by Toby and Trent Edmonds, Winter Bride will be ridden by premier Sydney jockey James McDonald who won the Zabeel on True Enough.