IN Racing
Swords Drawn following Cups’ trail
Shaune Ritchie is expecting Swords Drawn to give a good account of himself in Saturday’s Listed Ipswich Cup.
NZ Racing Desk | June 17, 2022
Swords Drawn. Photo: Trish Dunell

Shaune Ritchie is expecting Swords Drawn to give a good account of himself in Saturday’s Listed Ipswich Cup (2150m), but believes the stayer’s best chance of a major Australian success is a fortnight away.

The Cambridge trainer, who operates in partnership with Colm Murray, has been pleased with the six-year-old’s progress since he finished sixth in his Queensland debut in last month’s Gold Coast Cup (2400m).

“He’s not a big horse and had 58kg and he’s on 54.5kg now so he’s pretty well-weighted in this race, but I’m not 100 per cent sure that Ipswich is going to be the right track for him,” Ritchie said.

“He has sprinted well fresh in the past and it is five weeks between runs so the main goal is the Caloundra Cup (Listed 2400m) in two weeks’ time.

“From a punting perspective, I think the Caloundra Cup is a better option for him, there’s usually some good give in the ground so that looks more his race, but he still needs to run on Saturday.”

Swords Drawn went just over a month between outings when he won the Listed Hawke’s Bay Cup (2200m) to book his passage to Queensland and finished 3.1 lengths off the winner in the Gold Coast Cup three weeks later.

“He has gone cheekily in the past when his races have been spaced, in fact his best performances have been with good gaps between runs,” Ritchie said.

“I’m just not sure where he will end up in the running and how big a start he will be giving them.

“He is a better horse ridden on the inside for a bit of luck, rather than work around them so whether that will suit at a place like Ipswich is another question.”

Camelot’s son Swords Drawn carries the familiar purple jacket and white stars of Gerard Peterson’s Gee Gee Equine, as does his stablemate Badgers Nuts.

The Rageese three-year-old was a last-start winner and may bypass Saturday’s Schweppes TL Cooney (1350m) in favour of a more suitable option next Wednesday.

“He won a A$37,000 maiden at Doomben last week and I’m not 100 percent sure we will run him on Saturday,” Ritchie said.

“There is a Class 1 worth A$37,000 again back at Doomben, which looks significantly weaker. That might be a smarter way to go, he’s raw and still learning but he’s pretty good.”

Badgers Nuts had finished runner-up in his sole New Zealand outing and was again second on the Sunshine Coast before the quaintly named gelding broke through last time out.

Ritchie will also be represented at Te Rapa by Caramella in the Skycity Hamilton Maiden (1400m) and The Twinkling in the Animal Feed Barn 19th Birthday Handicap (1600m).

The former has placed in eight of her 12 starts, including consecutive fourths this preparation, and there is confidence the Swiss Ace mare can take an overdue belated winning trick.

“I thought she may have won one by now so I’m hoping she’s read the book and worked out it’s a $30,000 maiden and that’s what she’s been waiting for,” Ritchie said.

“She puts herself there and she’s a big, strong mare. She’s third-up and should peak on Saturday so certainly she will be an each way chance.”

Caramella is a sister to Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) runner-up Bella Gioia, who was trained by Ritchie and he also prepared their half-sister Bella Mente, third in the Gr.1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m).

The Twinkling steps up to a mile after finishing sixth over 1400 metres when the Charm Spirit mare returned from an eight-month break.

“She probably needs one more run to reach peak fitness, she hadn’t raced for a while and third-up will be more her go,” Ritchie said. 

Shaune Ritchie Swords Drawn Colm Murray Camelot The Rageese