Jamie Richards saw a lot to like about Chance To Dance in his first run under a new training regime.
He just hopes that inconsequential exertion in the abandoned Sydney Cup won’t count against the gelding when the Group One $2 million staying feature is re-run at Randwick on Saturday.
Had the Cup not been called off on April 8 after Almoonqith suffered a catastrophic leg injury, Chance To Dance would be preparing for the Doomben Cup in Brisbane on May 20.
Instead, the seven-year-old will head to his new home at New Zealand’s Te Akau Racing next week after being asked to cover 3200-metres twice, a fortnight apart.
“It’s not ideal is it? We wouldn’t back up a horse after a two-mile race. That would be the horse’s grand final,” Richards, who trains in partnership with Stephen Autridge, said.
But with the prize money on offer, connections had no hesitation challenging the veteran to replicate his efforts when he crossed the line second to separate Godolphin visitors Polarisation and Penglai Pavilion in the no-race.
The former Lloyd Williams-owned Chance To Dance joined Autridge and Richards when the Fortuna Syndicate bought him for $260,000 at the Inglis Chairman’s Sale and raced him practically sight unseen in the Sydney Cup.
Richards was impressed by the performance, although it was unfortunate Damian Lane was one of six jockeys unaware the race had been called off at the midway point.
“Obviously to split the Godolphin horses in the finish was a good effort,” Richards, said.
“You sort of shook your head and had to watch the rest of the race unfold knowing full well it was over.
“I guess we’ll never know if the back-markers were going to catch the horses that were racing handier to the speed but guess it gives you a bit more confidence in the horse.”
He was also encouraged by Chance To Dance during trackwork at Randwick on Tuesday, when Christian Reith, who replaces the suspended Jason Collett, was on board for the first time.
“Christian was happy with his work,” Richards said.
“We’ve just to make do with the card’s we’ve been dealt. We haven’t done a lot with the horse. He’s very fit and he doesn’t need a lot of work.
“It’s just about keeping him happy and fresh mentally. Hopefully we’ve been able to do that.”
Eleven of the original 14-horse field will run again on Saturday.