Ruakaka trainers Chris Gibbs and Michelle Bradley are delighted with their talented four-year-old mare Danzdanzdance who will line up in Saturday’s Group 1 Rydges Wellington Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) at Trentham.
The multiple Group 1-placed galloper hasn’t raced since charging into third behind Savvy Coup in the Group 1 Livamol Classic (2040m) at Hastings in early October after being held up at a crucial stage.
“We’ve freshened her up again nicely and she looks in great order,” Bradley said. “She’s the type of filly that doesn’t need that much racing or that much work. She keeps herself pretty fit, so we’re happy with her at this stage.
“I think she is in just as good order as she was down at Hastings and we’re expecting a bold run from her.”
Danzdanzdance had an unorthodox preparation for the Livamol Classic, having just the one run over 1400m more than a month prior to the Group 1 feature.
“We were thrilled with her run in the Livamol,” Bradley said. “Stepping up from 1400m to 2040m is a big ask and she pulled it off.”
With Danielle Johnson sidelined with a shoulder injury, Gibbs and Bradley have found an able replacement for Saturday’s assignment.
“Opie Bosson will ride, so we’re pretty happy about that,” Bradley said.
The Trentham track was rated a Slow8 on Tuesday, with the weather likely to clear later in the week.
“Over 1600m, I don’t think a slow track will be too great an issue, but we’d prefer to see it come back into the dead range for her,” Bradley said.
The Ruakaka trainers will assess where the daughter of Mastercraftsman sits after the Captain Cook Stakes.
“We will just see how she comes up,” Bradley said. “Obviously if she comes up as well as last time there are big races to look at in Sydney in the autumn, but we will get through this weekend first.
“Every time we put her out and she comes back, she returns stronger and stronger. She is maturing really nicely, and she is going to continue to develop as an older mare.”
Gibbs and Bradley have a thoroughly-planned trip for their quality mare, who will make the nearly 800km journey south to Wellington during the week.
“We take her down to Cambridge on Thursday and she will stay overnight at Samantha Logan’s and from there we go to Otaki and stay with Howie Mathews before travelling on to Trentham on raceday,” Bradley said.
“She will go back to Otaki after the races and continue her journey home on Sunday. It breaks the trip up a bit.”
Danzdanzdance is raced by a syndicate headed by international supermodel turned breeder and syndicator Kylie Bax.
It could be a big weekend for Bax, who purchased Danzdanzdance for just $5,000 as a yearling from New Zealand Bloodstock’s Select Sale.
Bax purchased Beauty Generation for $60,000 at the same sale two years earlier and since his subsequent sale to Hong Kong he has gone on to be the world’s top-rated turf miler.
The Hong Kong Horse Of The Year and triple Group 1 winner is a strong favourite to defend his title in Sunday’s HK$25million (NZ$4.6million) Group 1 Hong Kong Mile (1600m).