Atishu takes out the Gr.3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) at Royal Randwick
Photo Credit: Bradleyphotos.com.au
Former New Zealander Atishu will attempt to follow the path blazed by Probabeel last year and claim the Bill Ritchie-Epsom Handicap double after taking out the first leg at Randwick.
Now prepared by Chris Waller, the Go Racing-owned Atishu ($3.50 fav) showed fierce determination to wear down leader Prime Star (fifth) then get the better of Looks Like Elvis as the pair drew clear to fight the race out.
She scored by a half-neck over Looks Like Elvis ($31) with the winner’s stablemate Aramayo ($13) another 1-1/4 lengths away.
The winner of Saturday’s Group Three 1400m race earns an automatic berth in the Gr.1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) and Waller has confirmed that is the next race on their radar.
“We had her today back to 1400m third up, so we rode her a lot closer hence the reason she was a bit one-paced at the 300m, but gee I like the way she fought all the way to the line,” Waller said.
“It’s a big help to win today because you know you’re in the field for the Epsom with a light weight.
“She’ll be well placed there, and the extra 200m and the tough Randwick mile will really suit, so we’re on track.”
Fellow Kiwi-born mare Probabeel won the Bill Ritchie Handicap 12 months ago before going on to Epsom Handicap success.
Atishu was a dual Listed winner in New Zealand for Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh but Saturday’s triumph was her first black-type victory in Australia.
After making a winning debut for Waller over 1400m at Randwick last month, she was a last-start fourth to Soldier Of Love at the same venue and her race fitness was telling on Saturday.
“She had to be good today as she was dropping back to 1400m and that wasn’t ideal,” said Go Racing’s Albert Bosma.
“She’s now won six of her last seven races which we are very proud of.”
Jockey Tim Clark said Atishu adjusted well to a muddling tempo on Saturday and had a good will to win.
“She was able to adapt well. I always felt she was going to be really strong late,” Clark said.
“She’d had a couple of runs and she was coming back in trip slightly, so she really toughed it out well.
“She’s had three runs here in Australia for Chris and she hasn’t put a foot wrong, so she’s heading in the right direction.”
Atishu had been a $21 chance for the Epsom but firmed into $13 after Saturday’s win.
Bred by Waikato Stud, Atishu is by Savabeel out of the No Excuse Needed mare Posy, who won two races and is a sister to the former Champion Three-Year-Old and multiple Group One winner Daffodil, who has produced three stakes performers in Grand De Flora, Grand Bouquet and Snowdrop.
Albert Bosma’s Go Racing went to $260,000 to secure Atishu as a yearling from Waikato Stud’s 2019 Karaka Book 1 draft.
Art De Triomphe bursts clear for rider Kylie Williams as they combine to take out the Listed New Zealand Bloodstock Canterbury Belle Stakes (1200m) at Riccarton
Photo Credit: Race Images South
Albert Bosma’s Go Racing syndicates enjoyed one of their finest hours on Saturday when they celebrated three separate victories including two at stakes level in the space of sixty minutes.
Talented galloper Hasabro kicked off proceedings at Riccarton when he produced a fresh-up victory over 1200m for the Go Racing Hasabro syndicate, before exciting four-year-old Atishu made it two wins from three starts out of the Chris Waller stable in Sydney for members of the Go Racing Ring A Ring syndicate, when successful in the Gr.3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) at Randwick.
It was left to three-year-old filly Art De Triomphe to round out the winning treble as she dictated to her age-group rivals over the final stages of the Listed New Zealand Bloodstock Canterbury Belle Stakes (1200m) at Riccarton, producing a stylish three-length victory for the Go Racing Beatles Syndicate.
Sent out a warm $2.50 favourite, Art De Triomphe never gave her supporters a moment of concern as she settled handy to the speed for rider Kylie Williams, before dashing clear early in the run home and cruising to victory ahead of Sorrento and Irish Red.
Bosma, who is stuck at home in Auckland during the Level 4 COVID lockdown, was feeling pretty good about the results he had just witnessed on his television.
“It’s fair to say there is a nice bottle of red to celebrate with later on this evening after what has just happened,” he said.
“You plan for things like this and hope they come off, but it’s not often they do.
“It is a very special result all around and especially for Steven McKee, who is retiring at the end of the month.
“He sent Hasabro down to Riccarton on Monday and it might be the last runner he has for us, so if it is, what a wonderful way to celebrate the partnership we have had with him.”
Bosma was also quick to sing the praises of Vadamos filly Art De Triomphe, who has the Gr.1 Barneswood Farm New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) on her radar later in the spring.
“Art De Triomphe is a very good filly and we’ve known that for some time,” he said of the Andrew Carston-trained filly who has rocketed to the top of the Guineas market as $3.80 favourite.
“They still have to prove it though, and I think her win today goes a long way to doing that.
“She is just the ultimate professional, as at home all she wants to do is eat and sleep, but when there is a task for her, she is all business and that is a quality all the top horses we have ever had have exhibited.
“The 1000 Guineas is her main target and at this stage she will have one more run in the Barneswood Farm Stakes (Gr.3, 1400m) in a month, before she then goes to the Guineas at Riccarton.”
Out of the Gr.3 Winter Cup (1600m) winner Art Beat, Art De Triomphe has the breeding to take on greater distances as she matures, a fact that is not lost on Bosma.
“She is very well bred and being by Vadamos out of a mare that won up to 1600m, we think she has the long-term potential to get over ground,” he said.
“If she was to go well in the 1000 Guineas then the natural progression would be to look at the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) in January and then possibly an Australian campaign after that.
“That is all wishful thinking at this stage as she has to tackle the quality fillies in the 1000 Guineas, but it is good to dream.” – NZ Racing Desk