(By John Jenkins)
A late decision by Cambridge trainer Frank Ritchie to take Fiscal Fantasy south for today’s Group 3 $70,000 Arohanui Hospice Manawatu Breeders Stakes at Awapuni paid handsome dividends when the mare came from near last on the home turn to take out the 2000m feature.
Fiscal Fantasy was recording her fourth win and has returned a dividend 12 times from 17 starts. She was unplaced in two stakes races last season but today’s success was just reward for her consistency this term, which had produced a win, three seconds, three thirds and a fourth from her last eight starts.
Ritchie said he was in two-minds whether or not to give the four-year-old another hard race after such a taxing campaign but was swayed by the mare’s connections who were keen to have a crack at a black type race.
“She’s a real sweetheart,” Ritchie said.
“She’s got a heart as big as herself, probably bigger because she’s only tiny. She just never gives it away.
“To be perfectly honest I had trepidations about coming down for this race because she’s had a hard season. But I gave her a bit of a break and she kept coming back to me and the owners were all keen so this win is more theirs than it is mine.”
Jockey Leith Innes settled Fiscal Fantasy back second last in the running and he had a wall of horses in front coming to the home turn. However once he angled her to the outside she showed a tremendous turn of foot to get up and snatch a neck victory over Monrecour, with Lubaya also making up ground strongly from the back to be 1-1/2 lengths back in third.
Ritchie said, providing Fiscal Fantasy has taken no ill effects from today’s hard race , she may now head to the Group 2 $100,000 Travis Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa on April 27.