WARRNAMBOOL Cup winner Dance With Her will get the chance to make the transition from country feature race performer to city star.
Trainer David Brideoake, who prepares the hardy mare in partnership with David Leek, is now eyeing the Caulfield and Melbourne cups with Dance With Her, such has been her strike rate.
The next step on that path will be the group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) at Moonee Valley under lights tonight.
The mare’s rise began when she posted her first city win at Moonee Valley in June last year.
She went on to win six of her next 19 starts and place in another seven, including consecutive seconds at group level during the Brisbane winter carnival.
Brideoake concedes that her last preparation was “quite amazing” as she collected wins in the Golden Mile at Bendigo, Pakenham and Warrnambool cups and an Adelaide stakes race.
“That’s the sort of preparation that’s almost too good to be true,” he said.
But Brideoake said he was always confident Dance With Her would develop in time.
“It’s just been a maturity thing,” he said.
“She’s been most definitely under-rated and, as with the development of a stamina horse, things improve over time.
“We knew it wasn’t a fluke. It was in her.”
Dance With Her resumed with a fifth of 11 runners in the group 2 Makybe Diva Stakes won by Southern Speed at Flemington on September 8, a run Brideoake said was “terrific”.
“We were very happy with her first-up performance. We thought that was a good starting off point for the spring,” he said.
“She was against the big guns and I thought at weight-for-age she measured up very well.”
He is looking for improvement tonight.
While any rain will be in her favour, Dance With Her has barrier 16 against her.
“I don’t know whether we can cross from there but she can sit in the first half dozen and if she’s posted wide we’ll just have to deal with it,” Brideoake said. “She’ll show well but whether she can win from that gate, I don’t know.”
Dance With Her needs to win her next couple of starts to attract a penalty for the cups.
Brideoake plans to give her every opportunity to do just that.
“One more run after Friday night and we’ll take a path to either the Geelong Cup or the Moonee Valley Cup,” he said.
Dance With Her is $9 in TAB’s fixed odds markets for the JRA Cup, which is headed by Excluded at $2.90.AAP TURF