Fiscal Fantasy (Skilled) has become one of trainer Frank Ritchie’s stable favourites and he admits it will be a sad day when she leaves his Cambridge barn for the last time.
The six-year-old mare will begin her final preparation with Ritchie in the Auckland Co-op Taxis 1600 at Ellerslie on Saturday and while he has reserved expectations heading into the race, he hopes it will set her up for some bigger targets later this spring.
“We would like to get a little bit more black-type for her,” Ritchie said. “She has done well as it is, she has won a couple of Group Threes and is Group One placed, but it would be nice if we could enhance that a bit.
“This will be her last campaign. After this we will certainly breed from her or sell her to a stud.”
Ritchie has utilised the warmer climate of Ruakaka over the winter months, where the six-year-old mare has had two trials.
“There are two big advantages of sending her up there,” he said. “She has been to the beach a few times, she is used to it as we stop off in Levin when we go down to the central districts, and she loves it. It just brings her on.
“The other thing is that it is warmer up there and her coat comes away a bit. Those trips up there brought her on, especially her coat.
“She had two trials up there. Her first one was pretty ordinary, but the second one was better.”
Ritchie is expecting Fiscal Fantasy will be in need of the run on Saturday, but said her performance will help dictate her spring path.
“She will run a race, but there are a couple of nice horses in there with a few young ones getting bit of a weight allowance,” he said.
“She will get back, but the pattern (of racing) on the day will dictate how we ride her.
“I think she will improve with the run, but she will need to run a race, we are looking at the Livamol (Gr.1, 2040m) and that is looming large.”
Meanwhile, Ritchie said he was satisfied with Dawn Patrol’s (NZ) (Dawn Approach) eighth-placing in last Saturday’s Gr.2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) at Te Rapa.
“He missed a trial at Te Aroha when they were cancelled. He is a big, gross horse and he did blow out a bit,” he said.
“It was a very strong race and I wasn’t unhappy with his run, he just did blow out.
“We won’t target the Tarzino (Gr.1, 1400m). I am going to look at something softer and proceed from there.”
Ritchie was buoyed by jockey Jonathan Riddell’s positive comments after the race on Saturday.
“Jonathan Riddell said he really relaxed, and he can be fierce in a race,” Ritchie said. “He feels he is a good chance of getting 1400m and even a mile this year if he keeps that mind frame.
“If he becomes more tractable there will be a lot more options for him.”