Showcause is far from the classiest horse Frank Ritchie has trained but he has other attributes that can make him a force if he gets a Melbourne Cup start.
The six-year-old New Zealander runs in Wednesday’s Geelong Cup and while 2400 metres may not be far enough for him to show his best, the race is an essential stepping stone to the first Tuesday in November.
Ritchie is most famous for the deeds of the great Bonecrusher and his trip to Melbourne coincides with the 25th anniversary of the horse’s famous triumph over (Our) Waverley Star, a defining moment in Cox Plate history.
While he is enjoying the celebrations, Ritchie is being kept busy with Showcause, sending him round in a Cranbourne barrier trial on Monday to keep his fitness levels up and his fatness levels down.
“I trialled him last week and again on Monday to keep the work up to him,” Ritchie said.
“He’s a bit lazy and he lost his galloping partner My Scotsgrey so I need to keep his mind on things.
“He is very one-paced and just keeps going and going at the same speed.”
My Scotsgrey, who is trained by Ritchie’s son Shaune, suffered a leg injury during his unplaced run in last Saturday week’s Herbert Power Stakes, ending his spring campaign.”
Ritchie is hopeful more than confident about Showcause’s chances against some big names like Europeans Dunaden and Bauer in the Geelong Cup, with the outside barrier, 13, doing little to help.
“He’s not a horse who has any tactical speed so the outside barrier is a problem, especially on a small track like Geelong,” Ritchie said.
“He probably won’t be able to keep up with them early but he will keep going at the end.
“Flemington will be his track. He will run in the Lexus on Saturday week and needs to win that to get into the Melbourne Cup.
“If he happened to win the Geelong Cup, then he would get into the Melbourne Cup and bypass the Lexus.
“But if he has to run in all three, I have no concerns about backing him up.
“He’s done it before going into the New Zealand Cup.”
Showcause won the Group Three New Zealand Cup at Riccarton on November 13 last year off placings in his lead-up runs on November 2 and 6.
The New Zealand Cup at Riccarton is one of the few remaining stakes races in Australasia over the 3200 metres of the Melbourne Cup.
Showcause is number 50 on the order of entry for the Melbourne Cup on November 1 and will carry just 50.5kg if he is not rehandicapped for a Geelong Cup win.
The Lloyd Williams-owned Tanby is the $3.50 Geelong Cup favourite with TAB Sportsbet ahead of French horse Dunaden ($5) and 2008 winner and Melbourne Cup runner-up Bauer ($6), with Showcause a $15 chance.