Colt’s breeding fuels hopes of second Derby

4 min read

Written by Paul Vettise

Shaune Ritchie is rightly taking confidence from the pedigree of Swords Drawn (Camelot {GB}) as he embarks on a G1 New Zealand Derby path with the colt.

The Cambridge trainer, who won the Vodafone-sponsored feature with Military Move (NZ) (Volksraad {GB}) in 2010, has taken encouragement from the lightly-tried 3-year-old’s efforts over distances short of his best to date.

Trainer, Shaune Ritchie

The aptly-named Swords Drawn has only missed a cheque once from four appearances and has closed off well in his last two starts for minor placings.

Ritchie will raise the bar at Otaki on Friday when he takes aim at the G3 Lucia Valentina Wellington S. with the 1600 metre event selected to add serious moment to classic aspirations.

“Pedigree is the first thing you look at and he’s by a Derby winner out of a Zabeel mare.” - Shaune Ritchie.

“Pedigree is the first thing you look at and he’s by a Derby winner out of a Zabeel mare,” Ritchie said.

“It’s an important race for a colt and if you’re going to win a Derby you’ve got to get started now. There will be a bit of speed in it and some give in the ground should make it a true mile.

“This will be a lead-in to the Salver, a 2100 metre race at Ellerslie that we won last year with Formidable.”

Group 1 breeder

Swords Drawn was bred by Bob Emery, who was a part-owner of the multiple Group 1 winner Mouawad (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}) and bred and raced the two-time top-flight winner Champagne (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}).

Ritchie signed for Swords Drawn at Karaka where he went to NZ$140,000 to secure him out of Cambridge Stud’s 2017 draft.

His sire Camelot (Montjeu {IRE}) was a sharp 2-year-old who won the G1 Racing Post Trophy and the following season completed a Group 1 hat-trick by landing the English 2000 Guineas, English Derby and the Irish Derby for Aidan O’Brien.

Coolmore stallion Camelot

Triple Crown disappointment

He was denied the Triple Crown when runner-up in the G1 St Leger and subsequently claimed the G3 Mooresbridge S. before he was retired to Coolmore in Ireland.

His leading European representatives include the G1 Irish Derby winner Latrobe (IRE), who also finished runner-up in the G1 Mackinnon S. at Flemington earlier this month, the G1 Belmont Oaks winner Athena (IRE) and the G1 Criterium de Saint Cloud winner Wonderment (IRE).

G1 Irish Derby winner Latrobe

Camelot shuttled to Australia for a season and has produced seven winners from 22 runners, including the black type performer Lady Of Shalott.

Import has impressed

Darren Weir’s import Furrion (GB) has also made a decent impression with six wins from nine appearances and finished third in last month’s Listed Cranbourne Cup.

Swords Drawn’s dam Sarvon (Zabeel {NZ}) is a half-sister to the G1 Champagne S. winner Onemorenomore (Red Ransom {USA}) with their dam the G3 Emancipation S. winner Palia (NZ) (Last Tycoon {IRE}). It is also the family of the G1 Chipping Norton S. winner Casino Prince (Flying Spur).

Meanwhile, a new partnership Ritchie has forged with Hong Kong-based owner Ben Kwok might have a tangible reward when the filly Tumbleweed (NZ) (Super Easy {NZ}) runs in the Vets on Riverbank Juvenile.

Tumbleweed as a yearling

“He’s a youngish guy who has made a significant investment in New Zealand racing and we’ve got quite a few for him,” Ritchie said.

“He started off buying lower-quality horses and realised that didn’t work so well.” - Shaune Ritchie.

“He started off buying lower-quality horses and realised that didn’t work so well. He’s gone higher and he’s got a great appetite for the game and we race this one together.”

Tumbleweed was purchased for NZ$30,000 out of Hallmark Stud’s draft earlier this year and is from their potent family that boasts the Group 1 winners Katie Lee (NZ) (Pins) and her half-sister Banchee (NZ) (Oratorio {IRE}) and Gee I Jane (NZ) (Jahafil {GB}).

She finished fifth on debut behind the subsequent black-type winner Bavella (Snitzel).

“I think she’ll run a cheeky race and hopefully we can get her to the Karaka Million,” Ritchie said.