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Ritchie maintaining the good fight at Karaka

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Shaune Ritchie has backed his judgment once again at Karaka.

The Cambridge trainer went to $340,000 to purchase lot 217, the Dundeel colt out of Encosta de Lago mare Tonality.

Ritchie went to $300,000 to secure The Good Fight at New Zealand Bloodstock’s 2016 Premier Yearling Sale, and he shares more than just a similar price to Ritchie’s latest acquisition.

"Gary and Lynne Witters (purchasers) have been clients for a while, they are in The Good Fight with us," Ritchie said.

"The horse will stay and race in New Zealand. They were looking for a horse to primarily run in the New Zealand Derby (Gr.1, 2400m) and we thought this horse fitted the bill.

"It is one for New Zealand, which is nice, because a lot of them go overseas."

Meanwhile, Ritchie is preparing The Good Fight for a tilt at the Gr.3 SkyCity City of Auckland Cup (2400m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day.

"Hopefully he can win it to help pay for this one," Ritchie quipped.

Nicoletta to tackle The Gong

New Zealand Group One winner Nicoletta will have her second Australian start on Saturday at Kembla Grange.

The Kris Lees-trained mare has drawn wide in barrier 19 for the A$1m The Gong (1600m).

Lees has tinkered with her gear and hopes the mare, who is in foal, can get another win before retiring from racing.

"She has come on really well and we've put the blinkers back on her," Lees said.

"She can probably still go to the Villiers (Gr.2,1600m) too. She has still got a bit of racing to go time-wise."

New publication a welcome enhancement for racing

The announcement that a new weekly racing publication is set to be unveiled has been welcomed by the full range of stakeholder groups.

Dean McKenzie, Chair of the Racing Industry Transition Agency, expressed his pleasure at the outcome for RACEFORM as a stand-alone publication to provide comprehensive news, fields and form.

"RITA has been working for several months to support the development of a new, independent racing publication and we’re excited at the prospect of RACEFORM being launched," McKenzie said.

"Incorporating Best Bets in RACEFORM aligns with RITA’s focus on driving revenue for racing and provides an opportunity to improve customer service by supplying more information for punters and ultimately delivering on our objective to promote racing."

Hall Of Fame member Sir Patrick Hogan and NZ Trainers’ Association President Tony Pike are amongst many to applaud RACEFORM’S arrival.

"It’s fantastic news to know we’re going to have this publication, it’s something that’s been seriously needed," Hogan said.

"I’m sure it will prove to be a huge marketing tool in all sorts of ways - from major stakeholders right through to punters - and now it’s up to all of us to support it."

Pike, who notched his latest Group One victory with Loire in Saturday’s Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m), likewise sees the development as crucial.

"We’ve desperately needed a fit-for-purpose news and form publication - it’s an essential for any racing jurisdiction," he said.

"When you see what’s available in Australia and the benefits that has, I just think it’s a no-brainer that we are set to have our own complete package."

From the beginning of December RACEFORM will publish weekly with full domestic gallops and harness fields and form as well as feature Australian racing Thursday through Sunday. Its editor is well-known journalist Dennis Ryan, who is enthusiastic about what lies ahead.

"Our intention is for a publication that will showcase the best of the New Zealand racing industry as well as providing expert and comprehensive betting information," Ryan said.

"A lot of work has already gone into this project, and on behalf of Raceform Publications I must express our gratitude at the support we have had from RITA to reach this point. The initial response from the wider industry has also been very heartening.

"Racing is full of wonderful stories about our people and our horses. The background, the build-up and the thrill of raceday itself is something we plan to capture and bring to our readers."

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