A game of musical saddles has gifted Chelsea Burdan a shot at the perfect comeback to big-race riding at Ellerslie tomorrow.
Burdan is the new partner for Tiptronic as he tries to defend his Karaka Cup title in the opening race on Ellerslie's massive night.
Tiptronic goes into the 2200m handicap a last-start winner of the Group 1 Zabeel Classic but that has seen him lumped with 63.5kg, a weight rarely carried in a major handicap race.
Trainer Graham Richardson knows there is no arguing with the weight as Tiptronic was given 62.5kg in this race last year and won carrying 60.5kg with Wiremu Pinn claiming, and has won that Group 1 since.
But the huge weight means Richardson and training partner Rogan Norvall needed another claimer and originally had Erin Leighton, who rode Tiptronic to win a star-studded trial last week, booked to utilise her claim before she became unavailable.
By that stage Ashvin Goindasamy, who rode Tiptronic in the Zabeel, had already committed to Sir Nate so Richardson was happy to get Burdan.
"Her 2kg claim will really help and she is back riding winners after her time injured," says Richardson.
Burdan was showing great promise before breaking her collarbone in a fall in late 2020, with complications keeping her out of the saddle for almost all of last year.
Now she is back and into her groove she will be popular with her 2kg claim and gets a chance to remind a huge audience of her talent with a major race win.
While that still means Tiptronic has to carry 61.5kg, 7.5kg more than his nearest rival, the small field of mixed quality means he will start a warm favourite, with most punters struggling to find a horse they want to back to beat him.
"He is really well and that trial last week showed he is thriving," says Richardson.
"We have a good draw and it is only a small field so we have no complaints."
Richardson and Norvall also have high class filly Bonny Lass in race three and realise as good as she is this is a step up from her Boxing Day win.
"It is a very good field but she is a very good filly," says Richardson.
"She trialled well in behind Tiptronic last week and will be right there. I know there are some big reputations in that race but she can win for sure."