Pa­tience pay­ing off with Riyadh

The Sportsman Weekend - - News - By RAY HICKSON

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

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