Nightime Jockey arrested the lead from Showcause (centre) and Azincourt. Kenton Wright www.raceimages.co.nz
A $6 fixed odds favourite for the New Zealand Cup, Nightime Jockey (5 B. G. Pentire – Silver Chalice, by St Hilarion) enhanced his prospects even further for the two-mile race with a resolute staying performance to win the $25,000 Coca-Cola Rating 80 over 2400-metres at Ellerslie on Tuesday.
Following a quiet run in transit, in which rider James McDonald settled Nightime Jockey beyond midfield on the rail before looming to challenge in centre track at the 300m, syndicate manager Andrew Lacy said, “It was a good effort under the 58-kilos as he’s not the biggest horse in the world and we’re looking forward to the New Zealand Cup now with just the 52kg to carry.”
Without another start he will now contest the Christchurch Casino 146th, Group III, New Zealand Cup (3200m) for stakes of $225,000 at Riccarton in Christchurch on November 13.
Trained by Shaune Ritchie, Nightime Jockey beat Showcause (Giant’s Causeway), trained by his father Frank Ritchie, with Azincourt (Flying Spur) continuing his good form for third.
The margins were three-quarters-of-a-length, by half-a-head, and the time for 2400m was 2:29.55, last 600m 35.76. Nightime Jockey was heavily supported on the NZ TAB to pay $2.20 & $1.40.
Lacy said Nightime Jockey is flying Christchurch tomorrow, November 3, with his stable-mate Roi D’Jeu (Montjeu) and Ritchie would again base his team at the Woodend Beach property of harness racing trainers David and Catherine Butt.
The recipe worked a treat for the Cambridge trainer last year when he stabled his horses at the same location, resulting in a New Zealand Cup win with My Scotsgrey (Golan) and seconds with Military Move (Volksraad) in the 2000 Guineas and Keep The Peace (Keeper) in the 1000 Guineas.
Roi D’Jeu will contest the $70,000, Group III, Metropolitan Trophy Handicap at Riccarton on November 6 as a lead-up to the Cup.
Adding weight to the chances of Nightime Jockey handling the stamina sapping two mile journey his dam Silver Chalice impressed winning over 2400m amongst her eight victories ($402,750) including the group one Thorndon Handicap over a mile at Trentham in 1995.
Formpro analyst Neil Davis shares in the ownership with Lacy, along with J S Auld, J Boyle, Miss J Bromby, Miss K & Mrs L A Creagh, L McAllister, Mrs A P Ritchie & N L M Roberts.