Underrated mare Chop Chop showed she was in for a profitable spring with a convincing victory over a handy field of intermediate gallopers at Ruakaka on Saturday.
The talented daughter of Guillotine showed any amount of promise as a three-year-old including finishing fourth in the Gr. 1 New Zealand Oaks but failed to build on that form during a somewhat disappointing campaign as a four-year-old.
Trainer Shaune Ritchie was delighted with the mare’s return to the winner’s circle after admitting she had him scratching his head with some of her performances last season.
“It’s great to see her back as she does possess plenty of ability and I’ve always thought she could be a very handy stayer as she got older,” he said.
“I think I made an error taking her to Brisbane after she had run fourth in the Oaks as she didn’t fire over there and then she just wasn’t her usual self throughout her last campaign.
“Sometimes mares can do that so we ruled a line through those performances and put her out for a decent winter break. This time in she has really perked up and the run on Saturday was much more in keeping with the talent she has.”
Although Ritchie has his eye on several of the summer Cup races before Christmas he is mindful of the excellent record his charge has built over a mile during her career to date.
“We have been eyeing a start in races like the Counties and Waikato Cup’s as she should be able to sneak into them on a nice light weight,” he said.
“I think she will be best over a middle distance but her win on the weekend was her fourth over a mile so it would be foolish to rule out looking at some of the black type opportunities there are at that distance.
“The goal is to build up her future broodmare prospects with a stakes win so that’s what the focus is on for this campaign.”
Ritchie is also eagerly eyeing the upcoming three-year-old filly features with a trio of promising gallopers.
“I’ve got a wonderful team of three-year-olds including Let Her Rip (Rip Van Winkle), Promise To Pay (Rip Van Winkle) and Sally’s Mustang (Nicconi) so I can’t wait for some of the better races to roll around,” he noted.
“They are all just about ready to rock and roll so you will see them step out over the next few weeks. All of those three are entered for the 1000 Guineas at Riccarton so the goal is to get them there if we can.”
The Gr. 1 1000 Guineas will be run at Riccarton on Saturday the 14th of November