Cambridge Stud resident Keeper sired New Zealand’s first Group 1 winner of the season when Keep The Peace edged out Wall Street (Montjeu) in the Mudgway Partsworld Stakes (1400m) at Hastings on Saturday.
Keep The Peace (4m Keeper – Peace Of Mind by Wild Rampage) clinched a trip to Melbourne after the first-up victory. “I was very concerned about the inside draw,” trainer Shaun Ritchie said. “And horses resuming were struggling in the ground. But she was ready and doesn’t need a lot of racing.”
A decision is pending on whether Keep The Peace contests the Spring Classic (2000m) at Hastings on October 2 or heads straight to Australia. “I think her best trip is 2000m but she would get into a race like the Caulfield Cup with a good weight,” Ritchie reasoned. “The weight-for-age horses in Australia are particularly strong with Shoot Out and So You Think and I’m not too keen to throw her in the deep against them just yet.
“Hopefully, we can pick up a handicap race on the way through rather than taking on those top horses right now.”
Ritchie enjoyed a bumper season in 2009-10 winning the G1 NZ Derby with Military Move (Volksraad) and the G1 NZ Oaks with Keep The Peace. After winning the Oaks at Ellerslie in March, his filly crossed the Tasman for a hit-and-run raid on the AJC Australian Derby but only beat a handful home behind Shoot Out.
Keeper (Danehill) also stood up at Group 1 level earlier this year with Keep The Peace and Queensland Oaks winner Miss Keepsake. They joined Insouciant (NZ 1000 Guineas), Keepa Cruisin (Levin Classic) and Linky Dink (QTC T J Smith Classic) as his winners at the elite level.
Cambridge Stud will stand Keeper for a $15,000 (+ gst) fee this year.