Racing: Ritchie seeks better effort

By Mike Dillon

Miss Artistic, left, is an each-way hope at Moonee Valley.Picture / Natalie Slade
Miss Artistic, left, is an each-way hope at Moonee Valley.Picture / Natalie Slade

New Zealand Oaks winner Artistic, who races in Australia as Miss Artistic, is expected to improve on her resuming run when she takes on tonight's JRA Cup at Moonee Valley.

Miss Artistic raced lengths behind her best when mid-field behind stablemate Zurella in the Let's Elope Stakes at Flemington.

Trainer Shaune Ritchie is expecting something better tonight. "Her first run was inconclusive. She certainly needs to improve on that and we feel she has.

"She jumps to 2000m this time, which will suit, she's drawn No 1 and Craig Newitt knows Moonee Valley very well, so she'll get a chance to show her best."

The Richard Freedman-trained import Fruehling is sharing favouritism and last-start winner Precedence is well in the market. Miss Artistic is at $12.

"Overall it's an off-peak field and that's probably her right price, but if she was in her New Zealand form she'd be half that quote."

One of Miss Artistic's rivals tonight is fellow Kiwi Guns At Five, who ran on gamely to finish third to Precedence at the Valley on September 15.

As the past NZ St Leger winner over 2500m at Trentham, he should also be better suited over tonight's 2040m.

Ritchie is investigating his options for change with Zurella after the high-class mare raced disappointingly last weekend at Caulfield.

"When the scope showed us nothing we're having to fly a bit blind. I've changed the bit on her and I'm looking at perhaps putting a Nasal strip on her.

"I've never used a Nasal strip on one of my horses, but plenty of trainers use them and Mufhasa has been wearing one for a while.

"I'm going to call Stephen [McKee] and seek his advice. I'm pretty much on the fence about them, but we've got to look at every option to get her to her best," said Ritchie.

- NZ Herald

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