Thoroughbred syndicator Fortuna have experienced a stellar season-to-date with Group One-winning mare Melody Belle, but the return of another top-class horse has Fortuna Director John Galvin just as excited.
Multiple stakes winner Chance to Dance made a pleasing return to the racetrack at Awapuni last month for trainer Jamie Richards, after a ten month absence through injury, placing behind Beefeater over 1500m.
“It was one out of the box really,” Galvin said. “He had ten months away from the track and starting over 1500m I thought it was a very encouraging run. It has set him up pretty nicely for our ongoing plans.
“There was always going to be a question mark about his first-up performance, but Jamie was pretty stoked with the run.”
Chance to Dance’s previous start had been the Gr.3 Trentham Stakes (2100m) in January and a series of unfortunate events resulted in his extended layoff.
“The horse has had a few issues, so we had deliberately taken our time with him to get those issues right,” Galvin said.
“He just pulled up a bit sore from that run in the Trentham Stakes. Some examinations showed that he had some fetlock issues, so they were treated in the autumn.
“We gave him a long break. We had a spring campaign planned for him, but after a trial at Taupo he presented with some blood count issues, so we pulled the pin on that campaign and gave him a bit more time.”
Chance to Dance will continue his current preparation in the Lodge City Rentals (1600m) at Te Rapa on Saturday.
The nine-year-old gelding will carry 59kg, after claiming four kilograms with apprentice jockey Chelsea Burdan aboard, and Galvin is looking forward to a strong showing from his charge.
“Like it was at Awapuni, if he hits the lead and no one else wants to take it then we will be happy to bowl along and if he’s able to stave them off in the straight we will be really happy,” Galvin said.
“It’s a Dead6, with more rain today (Thursday) and that won’t do him any harm at all as it will make it more of a staying test.”
With a rating of 103, Galvin said the gelding was a hard horse to place, but has earmarked a number of black-type targets for him over the coming months.
“With his high rating, races like the New Zealand Cup (Gr.3, 3200m) and Wellington Cup (Gr.3, 3200m), which are handicaps, are really out of reach for him,” he said.
“Our plan is to go to an Open 2100m race at Ellerslie on January 13, and then the Avondale Cup (Gr.2, 2400m) and Auckland Cup (Gr.1, 3200m). – NZ Racing Desk