For Donna Riordan it was a complete bolt out of the blue and a decision that took her by surprise, albeit by admission a pleasant one.
After an approach by owners, Riordan has been entrusted to take over the training duties of God Has Chosen from Lindsey Smith.
On a Group 1 path to the Railway Stakes (1600m) in November, God Has Chosen came to Smith last year after starting his career in Albany for trainer and part-owner Neil Lee
A five-year-old son of Playing God, God Has Chosen won six races under Smith’s guidance, highlighted by a career-peak in the Group 3 Belmont Sprint (1400m) in May.
Riordan has trained more than 60 winners in her career and returns to the training caper for the first time since she had Bunker Buster run at Belmont in 2019.
She’s been able to keep a close eye on God Has Chosen, having headed up Smith’s Perth team after he moved to Victoria and established a satellite stable in Warrnambool.
Although still coming to terms with the change, Riordan said it’s not everyday you are presented with an opportunity to train a good horse.
“It was a surprise, I guess,” Riordan told The Races WA.
“Lindsey (Smith) is probably going to scale back in WA eventually and he just wanted me to take over the reins of the horse.
“He thought that would give everyone confidence and to roll with it.
“I’m excited by the opportunity, it’s incredible leading to the Railway, who would have thought.
“For the past 12-months everything has been rolling towards this race for this horse.
“I know the horse pretty well and not much will change; he’ll stay in the same stable.”
God Has Chosen’s Railway Stakes campaign kicked off in The Eurythmic Stakes (1400m) a fortnight back and he impressed.
He didn’t play a part in the finish, but wasn’t far away. Under Paul Harvey he ran home powerfully from the tail of the field, running the quickest final 600m.
Thrilled with the first up effort, Riordan said God Has Chosen had come through it in great fashion.
“He was absolutely super,” Riordan said.
“It was a super run and shame he didn’t settle closer.
“We’ll go to the Lee Steere next and hopefully the Railway.
“It’s very exciting, I never thought I’d get a horse like this.”
The Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) is on November 5, two weeks before the Railway Stakes.