Vonnie Passes Bulli Test In Style

MARK Gatt is doing his best not to get too carried with his emerging star Ritza Vonnie, an outstanding winner of Saturday night’s Graham Gibbons Memorial Maiden Final (472m) at Bulli.

Adam Dobbin

18 March 2019

MARK Gatt is doing his best not to get too carried with his emerging star Ritza Vonnie, an outstanding winner of Saturday night’s Graham Gibbons Memorial Maiden Final (472m) at Bulli.

But if the 20-month old daughter of Sh Avatar and Jingjing keeps turning in performances like she did at the south coast venue on Saturday – winning the $8,000 to-the-winner maiden in a sizzling 26.17 – the Metropolitan Trainer of the Year isn’t going to find keeping a lid on things all that easy.  

“She definitely excites me and keeps stepping up to the plate, which at her age is all you can ask for,” said Gatt on Monday.

“I thought her effort on Saturday night was huge. She got caught off the track and lost ground in the run but still managed to pick herself up and win in that time, I really liked how she took the run up the inside as well.

“Some dogs seem to just know what to do in a field and find a way to win and some don’t, it’s not something you can teach, but she’s definitely got it, there’s something about her for sure.”

Kicking off her career with two outstanding wins in Bulli’s flagship maiden event, Gatt told the Recorder he’ll now trial Ritza Vonnie at Wentworth Park in the coming week, with a possible tilt at the Group 3 New Sensation over the Golden Easter Egg Carnival on the radar.

“I’ll take her to Wenty for a trial or two and probably look to try and win a fifth grade before the New Sensation starts if we go that way,” added Gatt.

“She’s showing all the makings of being a stayer but she’s only 20 months of age. If she can keep showing the pace she did the other night at Bulli she may sprint for longer than I probably first thought, she ran about 10 seconds to the first mark which is good going.

“In the end she’s really going to tell me what direction we go, but later on her future will be over longer.”

Ritza Vonnie’s outstanding maiden victory on Saturday night is a feather in the cap of dam Jingjing, the daughter of Barcia Bale and Hidden Assets enjoying a spectacular start to her career as a brood for owners Sonia and Peter Davis.

In a touch of irony, Tullabung Rock, a half-brother to Jingjing, was the winner of the Graham Gibbons Memorial Maiden in 2016 for Neil Staines.

Jingjing with her SH Avatar litter, including Ritza Vonnie, at a tender age

“She gives you the feeling she’s above average but so far she’s won two races at Bulli from good draws so I’ll be keen to see how she handles herself when she draws the guts at Wenty,” added Gatt.

Gatt has enjoyed a stellar start to 2019 at Wentworth Park, winning nine races from the 25 events he’s contest, a top winning strike-rate of 36%.

One gets the feeling come the pointy end of 2019, the Thirlmere conditioner will be vying for another Metropolitan Trainers title, something Ritza Vonnie may very well play a strong hand in determining.