When Wanganui owner-trainer Raymond Connors sent Prince Oz to the South to further his career little he think the horse would be a Gr 3 Stewards Stakes contender less than 12 months later.
On Saturday Prince Oz won his fourth race on end, all from the Riccarton stable of Neill Ridley, pictured. The domination of Prom Queen guaranteed him a start in the time honoured sprint in Cup Week.
Despite a two-win record, Connors struggled to get the best out of him. Poor starting manners were a major problem, sohe sent him to the astute Ridley to take the seven-year-old to another level.
It didn’t take Ridley long to realise he had been handed a horse capable of making swift progress through the rankings.
“He had won twice and did everything right from the time he came to me,” said Ridley.
Prom Queen carried an unbeatable tag into Saturday’s race but Ridley felt bullish about Prince Oz’s chances.
Ridley acknowledged Prom Queen had a chequered run and was forced three wide, leaving her vulnerable in the final 200,.
Ando so it proved. Prince Oz responding to a hard ride from Terry Moseley to collar the favourite in the final 100m.
A start in the Stewards was a given after that.
Ridley knows what it takes to enjoys Stewards glory. He won with the ill-fated King Montrose in 2012. Ridley rated the win as one of his best as a trainer.
Win lose or draw in the Stewards, Prince Oz will remain with Ridley.
Connors: “He’s best left racing in the South Island. Neill’s done a great job with him.”