Multiple Group One winning New Zealand mare Danzdanzdance has arrived in Sydney for a tilt at Saturday’s Gr.1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) and although the dismal weather forecast has many connections on edge, the same cannot be said for trainers Chris Gibbs and Michelle Bradley.
The Mastercraftsman mare put her rivals to the sword in the Gr.1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) and Gr.1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) on soft and heavy going respectively and she travels to Sydney on the back of a narrow defeat to New Zealand’s star mare Melody Belle in an epic showdown in the Gr.1 New Zealand Stakes (2000m), again on a heavy surface.
“Michelle is really pleased with the way she has travelled and said she ate about two thirds of her feed, despite arriving quite late, and she has drunk plenty of water which is the main thing,” Gibbs said.
“They are staying with Jim and Greg Lee in Randwick, the same place she stayed last year.
“She settled well last time so hopefully she will bounce out of it and put on that little bit of weight that she shed off on the trip, which is usually the normal thing.”
Gibbs said Danzdanzdance is a different horse to the physically and mentally fragile filly that finished fifth in the Gr.1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) and sixth in the Gr.1 Australian Oaks (2400m) 12 months ago.
“She is just more mature and doing really well between her runs this time,” Gibbs said.
“We set our plan regarding Sydney some time ago, whereas last year we threw a nomination in for Australia as an option.”
Gibbs said he felt Danzdanzdance didn’t show her best in Sydney as a three-year-old after a lengthy New Zealand campaign where she went from breaking maiden ranks to running third in the Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m).
The Ruakaka trainer is pleased with the way the mare has come through her narrow defeat in the New Zealand Stakes, which was a last-minute addition to her program.
“The way she came through it, I’m actually very happy we did run her because I think the track is going to be a bit testing on Saturday by the looks of it,” Gibbs said.
“I certainly want it to rain, that’s going to help us. You never want it bottomless but she will go into it fit and if I had a choice between one extreme or the other I’d take heavy over firm.”
Gibbs was proud of the mare’s effort in what was a thrilling New Zealand Stakes where Danzdanzdance and Melody Belle staged a two-horse battle for much of the length of the Ellerslie straight.
“It was just a great race and it was billed as being a match-race,” he said.
“Sometimes the event doesn’t match the hype but I think everyone got their money’s-worth out of that one, it was brilliant.
“I know how good Melody Belle is and I just hope that form stacks up over in Australia as that is where we would like to compete well.
“I think we can, we are in good order and the nice thing is she has been there before so that gives us a bit of confidence about going back.
“Everyone says ‘where are you heading next’ but it is all about this race on Saturday really.
“Our target is the Ranvet and then we will worry about everything else after that.”
Danzdanzdance is rated a $7 third favourite behind the James Cummings-trained Avilius and will be ridden by Opie Bosson. – NZ Racing Desk