Atrack inspection on Friday will determine whether one of the favourites takes his place in the $500,000 Barfoot And Thompson Auckland Cup at Ellerslie.

Trainer Shaune Ritchie will walk the track on Friday as a precautionary measure to ensure it is not too hard for The Good Fight but punters can be pretty confident he will be in Saturday's great race.

The Good Fight doesn't enjoy really hard tracks, which can be a problem this time of the year and even more so as Auckland has had a bakingly hot summer.

But Ritchie was buoyed by the surface he saw on Derby Day last Saturday and says the track walk is more for his own peace of mind and to protect punters.


"He doesn't show his best on hard tracks and I would have no hesitation scratching him if it was really hard, but I don't think it will be," says the Cambridge trainer.

"I actually had a horse gallop there last Monday week and the sole of grass was great. Then they had some rain and they are obviously working really hard on the track and it was great last Saturday.

"It had a really good cushion for this time of the year.

"So I am sure it will be fine but I think it is important punters know what is going on.

"I have actually got to go to Auckland on Friday for a TV piece about Bonecrusher so I will have a walk around the track while I am there."

If, as seems almost certain, The Good Fight turns up at Ellerslie it will be off the back of a preparation Ritchie has always wanted to try — but never had the horse to do it with.

He would not have raced for seven weeks, since finishing a close second to Soleseifei in the Wellington Cup, the sort of programme usually more likely for European-trained stayers.

"I know we don't do that sort of thing, seven weeks between 3200m races for horses, in this part of the world very often but I have always been keen to give it a go and it suits him.


"He is a naturally fit horse and actually raced a little dour at the end of the Wellington Cup cause he was backing up from three weeks earlier.

"I think the long gap suits and he is very well."

What doesn't suit as much is the set weights and penalties conditions which see The Good Fight within 1kg of the topweight this week, whereas he got up to a 5kg pull in the weights at Trentham from horses he meets at almost even weights on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Ritchie is putting extra miles into the legs of Filly of the Year in waiting Jennifer Eccles heading into next week's NZ Oaks at Trentham.

She has been stunning winning her last two legs of the series at Te Rapa and Hastings but Ritchie is still worried she might find the extra 300m of the 2400m Oaks as testing as Dragon Leap did in the Derby last Saturday.

"Because of that I am giving her more long pace work over the week, she doesn't need the speed work now, she has got that in her legs.


"The Oaks can be a funny race and I don't want her hitting the wall like some brilliant 3-year-olds can. As it is I think she will either go super and win or paddle the last 200m and get beaten.

"But I am hoping it is the first."