Circumstances force unconventional approach

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Co-trainer Graham Richardson's hand has been forced with Defibrillate, who will resume his career without a preparatory outing ahead of Saturday's Group 1 Livamol Classic (2040m) at Hastings.

His lead-up plans for the multiple Australian black-type winner were upset by the abandonment of the middle day of the Hawke's Bay and the Group 1 Stud Plate (1600m) then rescheduled to last Saturday's meeting.

“He will run first up over a mile and a-quarter, it's not ideal but at the end of the day it would have been worse to run him last Saturday and then back him up,” said Richardson, who trains in partnership with .

“I didn't have much option, it was one or the other and I thought this is the better one.

“He hasn't had a run for five months and I didn't want to back him up. It was a tough call, but I'm quite sure I have made the right one.”

Defibrillate showed early promise and won two of his first three starts for Richardson, who also co-bred and part-owns the gelding.

He then relocated to Victorian trainer Patrick Payne, who prepared him to claim a further eight races, with three at Listed level including two editions of the Prelude (2000m).

Defibrillate re-joined Richardson earlier this year and has since had three trial outings.

Stablemate and dual Group One winner also held a Livamol nomination, but will be absent following his unplaced run in the Arrowfield Stud Plate.

“He never, ever does much until Christmas time and it's of those things,” Richardson said.

“Sam Spratt rode him and she did a good job, but said he just switched off and needs blinkers on. He did win the Herbie Dyke (Group 1, 2000m) with blinkers on.

“I'm going to give him a week or 10 days out and start again and get him ready for the Zabeel Classic (Group 1, 2000m) and so on and do what he does best at that time of the year.

“He is what he is and he's a dude. He didn't come to any harm, he just pulled up and had a yawn and went back to the stable.”

Richardson and Norvall enjoyed a satisfying weekend on their home track on Saturday, most notably with Paisley Park's second-up win in the Listed Matamata Cup (1600m).

“We were on the back foot a bit as he got really crook with a virus a couple of months ago and I had to tip him out for 10 days,” Richardson said.

“He did a bit of pre-training at JK Farms for a change of scenery and the plan of attack was then the Matamata Cup, he loves Matamata.

“He ran at Te Rapa over 1200m because there was nowhere else to run him and then stepped up to a mile. The goal was the Cup and I'm just going to wait and see how he is before deciding where we go next.”

However, a long-term plan is in place for Channel Surfer following his third placing in Saturday's Group 2 Hawke's Bay Guineas (1400m).

While unsure just yet about the son of Derryn's distance limitations, Richardson will give the three-year-old every opportunity to prove himself worthy of a crack at the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m).

“I really like Channel Surfer and I don't know how far he'll go. He'll go a mile, certainly against his own age group, and we'll aim at the Derby,” he said.

Placed in last season's Listed Castletown Stakes (1200m), he was gallant when resuming and backed that up with another sound effort in the Guineas for rider Jasmine Fawcett.

“He's a nice horse and when he ran third first-up at when he was trapped three wide the whole way,” Richardson said.

“It was , the horse that beat him last time was The Intimidator and he won well again.

“I was a little bit worried on Saturday because he drew awkwardly too, but she rode him well and he went to the line really well.”

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