Ritza Lenny defies career threatening injury to win Cyril Rowe Cup

Ritza Lenny winning at Maitland earlier in his career. PIC: Steve Whalland Race Images.

RISING four-year-old Ritza Lenny (Barcia Bale x Lagoon Lowanna Jun ’14) recorded his second group victory when saluting in Saturday’s Group 2 Cyril Rowe Cup (472m) at Bulli.

Prepared by Mark Gatt, the blue dog was drawn awkwardly in box six, but was able barge his way through the pack in the charge around the turn.

Once he found the front Ritza Lenny proved too sharp for his rivals, stretching out to defeat Victorian Jimmy Newob by three and three quarter lengths in a new personal best 25.95.

Ritza Lenny’s younger half-brother Lagoon Pirate finished third for the duo’s breeder Sharron Webster.

Gatt was thrilled with his kennel star’s performance, his sixth win from nine starts since resuming from an eight-month spell.

“It was helter skelter early on, but he just kept pushing – he really wanted it,” Gatt told Australian Racing Greyhound.

“I thought he might struggle to get across because there as a lot of pace on the inside, but he came out really well and showed what he can do.

“It’s the best he’s ever gone on the clock – he is going as good as ever.”

Ritza Lenny, which also took out the 2016 Group 2 Bob Payne Spring Sprint, has now won 25 races with 13 placings from 51 starts, his prize money closing in on $200,000.

Gatt said the win was particularly impressive given his 35.5-kilogram powerhouse is now racing without a toe – an injury which can take several lengths off a dog.

“It was only three or four months ago that I was watching him limp around the paddock after his surgery wondering if we’d ever get him back to the track let alone making group races – so I am very proud of him to come back and do what he has done.

“The good chasers put their bodies on the line, they want it more than the other dogs – he showed that again on Saturday night.”

Ritza Lenny will now head towards the heats of the Group 2 Richmond Derby this Friday night, with the ultimate goal being a crack at the Group 1 Golden Easter Egg at Wentworth Park next month.

“He loves Richmond and he is going good – hopefully he can get a bit of luck and I am sure he will perform well.

“Realistically though I’m rapt with what he has done already so everything he does from here on in is a bonus.”

It was a big week for Ritza Lenny in more ways than one, with the talented greyhound also becoming a dad for the first time last Wednesday.

He has six youngsters out of Group 2 Gosford Cup winner Ritza Hattie and also has two more litters on the way.

“They are going well – they were on top of their mum having a feed while he was winning the Bulli Cup which was pretty cool,” Gatt said.

“I have confidence in him as a stud dog – he is by Barcia Bale, he has a massive motor, he has a good temperament and he has good chase – he ticks all the boxes so I am sure there are some breeders out there who will use him when that time comes.”

Ritza Hattie (Bombastic Shiraz x Midnight Flare Nov ’11) won 19 races and $240,000 for Gatt, who also has high hopes for her daughter Ritza Millie.

The July 2016 whelp is by champion sire Collision and will be aimed at the heats of the Group 3 Magic Maiden next month after an impressive 30.09 performance trial at Wentworth Park last week.

“She looks like she has a bright future, but I am not getting too excited just yet,” Gatt said.

“I have had them go well as pups and then not step up once they get into full fields, but she has definitely got the ability so fingers crossed she can live up to her mother.”

2018 Group 2 Cyril Rowe Cup results

1st – Ritza Lenny (6) – Mark Gatt – $6.30
2nd – Jimmy Newob (1) – Kel Greenough – $3.10
3rd – Lagoon Pirate (4) – Sharron Webster – $24.40
4th – Sleek Master (5) – Garry Erwin – $42.30
5th – Precious Sal (2) – Darren Russell – $5.90
6th – Lucky Chap (3) – Jodie Lord – $3.40
7th – Black Hole Sun (8) – John Little – $6.40
8th – Elantris (7) – John Callaughan – $49.30

Margins: 3.75 x 1.75
Time: 25.90
First section: 9.96
Second section: 19.43
Run home: 6.52