Van Gestel rolls dice with Casino Dancer

Hindsight tells Mike Van Gestel he should have accepted the money on offer for Casino Dancer at auction.

But rather than dwell on an opportunity that has gone begging, Van Gestel is confident Casino Dancer could be worth a lot more by the time her racing career is over.

A stakes-winning mare with more than $500,000 in prize money to her name, bidding for Casino Dancer reached $450,000 in the sale ring a month ago.

It was $50,000 short of a reserve that Van Gestel jokingly says was his wife’s doing.

“She reached my reserve but didn’t reach the missus’,” the trainer said.

“On the afterthought, OK we should have done it … it would have been the right price.”

Casino Dancer has since been placed in the Hawkesbury Gold Cup and she will be one of the favourites as she returns to city racing in the Eremein Handicap at Rosehill on Saturday.

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“It’s not all lost because we’ve got plans for her,” Van Gestel said.

“The way broodmares are selling now, if we put her in foal to something good we could get a lot of money for her.”

Van Gestel has engaged in-form Koby Jennings to ride Casino Dancer and the apprentice’s claim will reduce the mare’s weight to 58kg.

Jennings is gradually making inroads, riding a double at Randwick last week and suddenly finding himself in demand with Sydney’s biggest stables.

Casino Dancer is one of seven horses nominated for the 1800m race who are coming off last-start unplaced runs in the Scone Cup.

She wound up eighth of the 16 runners but in a blanket finish was only a length from the winner Pajaro.

Sons Of Jon (fifth), Aomen (15th), Goldstream (12th), Tales Of Grimm (10th), Less Is More (11th) and High Midnight (seventh) will also be trying to make amends at Rosehill.

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