Million-dollar earner Riodini will make his first New Zealand appearance in almost four years when he lines up in the Gr.3 Sweynesse Stakes (1215m) at Rotorua on Sunday.
The Proisir gelding began his career in the Pukekohe stable of Nigel Tiley, making a winning debut as a winter two-year-old in June of 2019. Riodini went on to have another five starts on home soil as a three-year-old, recording three wins including the Gr.3 Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m). He also ran second to Dragon Leap in the Gr.2 Auckland Guineas (1600m) and third behind Travelling Light and Harlech in the Gr.1 Levin Classic (1600m).
Riodini relocated across the Tasman in early 2020 to join the stable of Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott. Still racing in the colours of his breeder and part-owner Alan Galbraith, he had a total of 22 starts in Australia, winning last year’s A$1 million The Gong (1600m) and placing in the Gr.1 Epsom Handicap (1600m), Gr.1 George Main Stakes (1600m), Gr.2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) and Gr.2 Shannon Stakes (1500m).
Riodini has now returned to his old home at Tiley’s stable, and he has had two trials including a win in a 1150m heat at Waipa last Friday.
The seven-year-old will resume in Sunday’s $100,000 Sweynesse Stakes, where he will be ridden by Sam Spratt and is rated a $5.50 third favourite by the TAB.
“He did such a good job in Australia and we definitely followed his career over there with plenty of interest,” Tiley said. “We watched every race.
“It’s great to have him back in the stable again now, and he seems to be a very happy horse. He’s not like some others who come back after long careers overseas – he seems to still have plenty of life in his legs.
“I’ve been really happy with how he’s come up in this preparation. I’m expecting him to need the run on Sunday. He’s a seven-year-old now and will probably take a run or two to build his fitness. But I’ve been pleased with his progress.”
Riodini’s rating of 98 limits his options over the next few weeks, but Tiley is working backwards from the Gr.1 TAB Classic (1600m) at Trentham on December 9 – a race formerly known as the Captain Cook Stakes.
“The Captain Cook is the main race that we’ll be targeting with him at this point,” Tiley said. “What we do with him apart from that hasn’t been decided yet, but his position in the ratings means we’ll have to focus on weight-for-age and set weight and penalty races. He’s going to be weighted out of the handicaps.”