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Life's a Beach for Oaks Hope

Friday, 17th March 2017

Cambridge trainer Shaune Ritchie is hoping a relaxing trip to the beach can spark the necessary improvement from Devise in tomorrow's Gr1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Te Rapa, reports NZ Racing Desk. Devise (Darci Brahma-Doneze Girl, by Volksraad) is coming off a narrow defeat at the hands of Oaks favourite Bonneval in the Gr2 Sir Tristram Fillies Classic (2000m) at the same track. "We need to find a length on Bonneval and I just felt she was showing me she'd lost some of her speed. She's become very dour…" Ritchie said. "These horses get down to the beach and they become different horses. They get to take the pressure off their legs, they relax and stretch out better. You've just got to see it to see how much good it does. They just seem to lift." Ritchie employed the same strategy with his previous New Zealand Oaks winners Keep The Peace and Artistic and said while the physical advantages were immense, the time at the beach sparked the horses mentally as well. "We've had Oaks horses before and we know how taxing the preparation can be on a three-year-old filly but Devise is thriving and she's still carrying good condition," Ritchie said. "She's been remarkably consistent right through and she's got that tactical speed, which means we'll have a start on Bonneval anyway. Bonneval is obviously the horse to beat and she's had our measure in the last couple but we're hopeful we can turn that around this weekend."

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