Patience paying off with Riyadh
IT took trainer Peter Healey a preparation to work out how to handle ex-Hong Kong galloper Riyadh but since he’s found the key the only way has been up.
The eight-year-old is on target for four straight wins in the William O’Grady Handicap (1700m) at Flemington tomorrow.
After a 13 start campaign in 2016 and tried up to 2500m, Healey said he’s learned he’s not a stayer likes his runs spaced.
“Initially everybody thought he was a 3000m horse but when we tried him over a distance he doesn’t stay. I think he will get 2000m,” he said.
“He only has three gallops between runs and the rest of the time he’s at beach or doing nothing that routine seems to suit him.
“He came back from Hong Kong with jarred bones that are a bit stressed being in small boxes and it takes time to come back from that.
“We were lucky they rated him 58 when he came back and that gave me the chance to work through his classes.”
While Riyadh won two of those 13 starts last year he certainly wasn’t considered a genuine Saturday class horse.
But the benefit of going through that learning curve can be seen in the gelding being in a position to notch three straight Flemington Saturday wins.
But there are no grand plans win, lose or draw.
“Last time in the form around him always stood up and he didn’t have a lot of luck,” Healey said.
“This time in he’s had the luck and that goes a long way.
“He’s going as well for this race as he was the last one, if not better.
“The handicapper will tell us where we go from here, we’ll look to find the right race in three weeks time and try to keep him in his own grade if we can.”
Meanwhile, Healey has taken over the training of ex-WA galloper Hazzabeel.
A Group 3 winner the West, Hazzabeel hasn’t been competitive in 2017 and Healey is going to take the same approach as he did with Riyadh and start from scratch.
“He’ll go out to the paddock next week with a pony for some company and we’ll work through his issues if he has any,” he said.
‘The key is just getting them happy and pain free.”
Riyadh is chasing his four th win in a row when he lines up at Flemington