Trainer Graeme Richardson believes the step up to 1400m for Saturday’s Gr.1 Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) is the key to promising two-year-old To Catch A Thief finding his way to the top of the podium for the first time in his short juvenile career.
The son of US Navy Flag was once again seen finishing strongly when running into fourth in the Gr.1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) at Pukekohe earlier this month after being held up for a distance in the home straight that day.
“He should have at least run third at Pukekohe as he did get held up at a crucial time, but the way the race was run so slowly probably put paid to any winning chance he had,” Richardson said.
“The one thing I did know from that race was there was still a ton of improvement in him and I’m thrilled with the way he has performed in his work since then.
“Make no mistake it will be no mug field on Saturday and they just don’t give Group One’s away, but I think he is one that is going to lap up the extra 200m on offer.”
With Craig Grylls confirmed to ride, Richardson is now hoping for a good draw and a genuine tempo in the race, although he isn’t concerned about the likelihood of striking a wet track.
“He is a pretty versatile type who can cope with some moisture in the surface, so I’m relaxed about the type of track that will be on offer,” he said.
“I just want to see a truly run race as that will be right up his alley.
“It would be great to see him break his maiden status this week as I think he deserves to go to the paddock as a race winner, but I have said all along what he does as a two-year-old will just set him up for next season.
“What he has shown us tells me he could well be my Derby (Gr.1, 2400m) horse and I can’t wait to see how he comes up in the spring after a nice winter break.”
-NZ Racing Desk