Lad keeps trainer on his toes


Danza Lad continues to be a stern test of Rudy Liefting’s training skills.

While the eight-year-old has won 10 races on the flat and two over hurdles, his form in between times has been a source of frustration to the Pukekohe Park conditioner.

"Racehorses are unpredictable, but this one has been twice as unpredictable as most,” Liefting said.

"He’s been a bit of a training test and you have to keep entertaining him mentally and keep him fresh.

"He also has to be ridden a certain way, he doesn’t like being cluttered up on the fence.”

Danza Lad has put together two genuine runs this month, having won a hurdle race at Te Rapa – where the subsequent Waikato Hurdles winner Thenamesbond ran third – and he was then placed in an open handicap.

"They have been good, but three starts back he was a lonely last at Awapuni,” Liefting said. "Sometimes he’s just not interested and doesn’t try.”

Danza Lad will revert to the jumps at his next appearance in the K.S. Browne Hurdle at Ellerslie on Queen’s Birthday Monday.

"I want to have a go at a decent money race,” Liefting said. "You don’t mind them getting to the higher weights as long as they get some good money on the way through.”

Meanwhile, stablemate Just Got Home’s position at the top of the handicap in hurdle contests will see him switch to the bigger fences in either the McGregor Grant Steeplechase or the maiden steeplechase at Ellerslie.

"He’s up in the weights and his jumping has been letting him down,” Liefting said. "It used to be his strong point so we’re going to steeplechase him.

"We’ll look at the options with him and give him a few here and maybe let him finish up in Australia.” – NZ Racing Desk.

UPDATE: Versatile performer Danza Lad side-lined

Rudy Liefting was in a philosophical mood late this afternoon when he received unfortunate news about his Group Three winner Danza Lad.

"He had some filling in a leg so had I to take him to the vet for a scan and he’s out for the year,” the Pukekohe Park trainer said.  "It’s a tear of the flexor tendon.”

The winner of 10 races, including the Gr.3 Thompson Handicap, Danza Lad has won twice over fences and was being prepared for a return to that role.

"I was going to run him in the KS Browne Hurdle next Monday and I thought that race was his for the taking, but that’s the way it goes,” Liefting said.

He will now be looking to stablemate Just Got Home to lift stable spirits when he runs on Queen’s Birthday Monday. He is leaning toward the McGregor Grant Steeplechase over the maiden steeplechase.

"I can’t really see the point of running a good horse for $10,000, we might as well have a go at the big one,” Liefting said. – NZ Racing Desk.


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