Trainer Peter Healey could never have dreamed Riyadh would be aiming at four straight wins when the gelding entered his Mornington stable.
But that’s just what Riyadh will be attempting in Saturday’s VRC Member William O’Grady Handicap (1700m) at Flemington.
Riyadh came into Healey’s care in late 2015 after showing ability in Hong Kong before his form dropped away.
He is raced by George Tong and Healey had previously resurrected the career of the Tong-owned Galbraith after he also raced in Hong Kong.
“When he came to us we took him up to Ballarat for scintigraphy and they said we wouldn’t get him to the races,” Healey said.
“He came good with a bit of care and won five city races for us.”
That success resulted in Riyadh joining Healey.
“When he came to us his form in Hong Kong was pretty dismal but then a lot of horses don’t handle the pressure and the tracks in Hong Kong,” Healey said.
“The handicapper rated him a 58 class horse when he came back which was a good thing as it allowed us to take him through his classes.
“We aimed low and let him gain confidence and as he raced he got more confidence.”
Since joining Healey, Riyadh has raced 17 times, winning five races, and more importantly collecting a prize money cheque at each outing.
Healey said Riyadh took a little time to settle into his new surrounds but is now content spending time in a paddock with a pony companion while 80 per cent of his work is done at the beach.
“The first thing that seems to scare them when they come back is when they see birds,” Healey said.
“They obviously don’t see a lot over there.”
Now Riyadh has a rating of 82, Healey said the handicapper will dictate his program should he win on Saturday.
“We’ll find the weakest races we can and we won’t aim high,” he said.
“We’ll aim for races that he can be competitive in.”