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New chance for NZ trainers in Sydney Cup

Jamie Richards and Stephen Autridge face an unusual training challenge a week after preparing Gingernuts for the Australian Derby.

While Autridge has looked after the Te Akau Racing stable in New Zealand, Richards has been in Sydney with Gingernuts, who won the Rosehill Guineas before finishing fifth in the Derby.

Now there is another Group One on Richards’ schedule on Saturday, this time with a horse he has seen once, at a Sydney beach.

Richards sent Gingernuts home on Monday and less than 24 hours later he caught his first glimpse of a seven-year-old gelding that runs in the $2 million Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick.

Formerly trained by Robert Hickmott, Chance to Dance changed hands at last week’s Chairman’s sale in Sydney after the Fortuna Syndicate headed by John Galvin paid $260,000 for the stayer who arrived from owner Lloyd Williams’ Victorian base at Mt Macedon on Tuesday.

“It’s certainly a pretty fascinating sort of process we had to get through to get the horse,” Richards said.

“Obviously when you buy a horse and they’ve got a nomination for a $2 million race the next week, it’s quite enticing.”

Chance to Dance, who last raced in Sydney in October 2015, has settled in smoothly as he prepares for the 28th start of a career that started in Ireland in 2014.

“He’s been out to the beach for a wander. This week is just about getting to know him a little bit more,” Richards said.

“I had a good chat to Rob (Hickmott) who gave me an indication of what he’d do if he was still getting him ready.

“We’ll stick to that and give him a little bit of work on Thursday.”

Chance to Dance will eventually get to New Zealand but first he will be freshened in Sydney before heading to Brisbane for the Group One Doomben Cup on May 20.

“He’ll stay here and stay warm in the Queensland winter and then possibly head home a bit later in the spring,” Richards said.

Gingernuts is back in his home paddock for a short spell before he is prepared for a Melbourne spring campaign.

“I was happy how he pulled up. He bounced through it well,” Richards said.

“He can have a month in the paddock now then we’ll try and get him ready for Melbourne in the spring.”

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