Spirit Ridge with a spring in his step

An inglorious last-start performance by Spirit Ridge has prompted Mark Newnham to delve into his bag of tricks in a bid to reignite the gelding’s form.

The seven-year-old finished second last and almost 40 lengths from winner Splendiferous in his attempt to defend his Premier’s Cup title in Brisbane last month.

While Newnham put the flop down to a dislike for the Eagle Farm track, he also felt Spirit Ridge was lacking his usual spark, so he decided to mix things up and send the horse over a few jumps ahead of his next assignment in the W J McKell Cup (2000m) at Rosehill on Saturday.

“He has been jumping probably three or four times and he will jump again on Friday,” Newnham said.

“It seems to have put a bit of a spring in his step so we will see come Saturday.”

A multiple stakes winner, Spirit Ridge is yet to salute in four starts at Rosehill, but he was Group 3 placed behind Toffee Tongue over the McKell Cup course and distance last year.

Newnham concedes the horse’s best form is probably behind him, but he still feels Spirit Ridge has something to offer, especially on a firm track.

Prior to his Eagle Farm performance, he showed a glimpse of his old self with a solid fourth to Aleas in the Wagga Cup and Newnham is looking for a repeat of that effort.

“His previous run in the Wagga Cup was a bit of a return to form but he is at that stage of his career where he is hard to place,” he said.

“He is probably a length or two below where he was when he was winning a lot of those races, although he does prefer dry ground, that (good) four to (soft) five ground which he will get on Saturday.”

A field of nine has been assembled for the McKell Cup including the John O’Shea-trained Berdibek, who is also among acceptances for the Ipswich Cup (2150m) on Saturday, while Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott have a strong hand with improving stayer Surf Dancer and import Youth Spirit.

About RS NewsWire

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