Ruakaka trainers Chris Gibbs and Michelle Bradley are daring to dream that they can cause a massive upset at Randwick on Saturday when they take on the world’s best racehorse, Winx, in her last raceday appearance.
They will line-up Group 1-winning mare Danzdanzdance in the star-studded Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) and believe their mare will perform well after her recent third- placing behind Avilius, and Saturday race rival He’s Eminent, in the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m).
“We were pleased with her run in the Ranvet, we think there is a few things that we can improve on,” Gibbs said. “She got back a little bit further than what we would have liked and ended up in the worst part of the track.
“When she over-raced that made it a little bit harder. I was quite pleased that she sprinted as well as she did to finish third and there was a nice gap between her and fourth.
“We only need to have improved a little bit I think to be somewhere in the finish.”
Gibbs has been pleased with the way his mare has been since that run last month and is looking forward to testing the daughter of Mastercraftsman on Saturday.
“She’s been really good, we couldn’t be happier with her,” he said. “She has galloped nicely, is in good order and has eaten everything. That’s the main thing, she’s very bright.
“It’s going to be an interesting race where we are going to be able to get a bit of a line on her of where we sit as far as weight-for-age is concerned.”
Danzdanzdance will be ridden by New Zealand hoop Opie Bosson and will jump from barrier five, which Gibbs is pleased with. “The five, I think, is perfect,” he said.
“Five is exactly where I wanted, we are much happier with that than if we had drawn one like we did in the Ranvet.
“I can’t see anything other than He’s Eminent leading and I’d imagine there are a couple of others who will go forward. One out and three back is probably where we would want to be sitting.”
While Gibbs is realistic about Danzdanzdance’s chances in the race, he is daring to dream that his grey Kiwi mare can cause one of the biggest upsets in racing on Saturday. “You always dream about it, you’d be silly if you don’t,” he said. “But if she came second to Winx, to us, it would be like winning any other Group 1.
“That’s what you are realistically looking at. If we can run up to as good as we can and run second, we would be over the moon.
“But in the back of your mind everyone wants to try and beat her. It does look like an impossible task, but we are certainly there to run our own race and Opie knows that.
“You just don’t worry about Winx being there, you have just got to go and do the best you can and if she beats you she does, which everyone is expecting her to do.” Gibbs said Danzdanzdance will head straight to the spelling paddock after Saturday before being set for spring racing.
“She will go straight back to the paddock at Kylie Bax’s. She is back on the plane on Monday night. We will then start putting some plans in place for the spring.”
Meanwhile, Gibbs and Bradley will be vying for stakes glory on home soil on Saturday when they line-up Rikki Tikki Tavi in the Listed NZB Finance Sprint (1200m) at Hastings.
The five-year-old daughter of Tavistock finished third in the race last year and her connections are hoping she can go two better in this year’s running.
“Michelle is very happy with her,” Gibbs said. “She went down and ran third in that race last year. Her form has been very solid.”
While her trainers are happy with how she is heading into the race, Gibbs is hoping for improved racing manners from Rikki Tikki Tavi on Saturday.
“She’s a little bugger in that if she hits the front too soon then she tends to ease up,” he said. “When she’s actually won she seems to get up by a nose or half a head at the best.
“She’s not the easiest to ride, but I am sure she will be hitting the line strong.
“It’s a black-type race for her on Saturday. If she can win it, that would be great. I don’t think we will head to Brisbane (with her), but there are some nice races for her at our meeting with open handicaps, which she is still well weighted in.”