Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has backed the new Canberra Community Chest to grow into a major ACT event as more charity partners jump on board.
The Ricky Stuart Foundation is one of 12 charities and community groups to receive a share of $50,000 after the inaugural edition of the race on Saturday.
Stuart's charity has been partnered with Al Mah Haha, while other organisations involved include Win The Day and Pegasus.
The Canberra Community Chest is loosely modelled on the Golden Eagle in Sydney, where 10 per cent of all prize money is distributed to charities selected by the runners.
Trainer Chris Calthorp selected the Ricky Stuart Foundation as his partner in 2021, and while the horse only finished 16th, the charity benefited from the exposure.
The Raiders coach praised Canberra Race Club officials for placing community organisations at the centre of the new event and hopes this time his runner is in the mix.
"It's a great concept, Canberra Race Club getting involved with the community and the charities," Stuart said. "So many people do so much hard work and it's a good opportunity for them to have a bit of fun.
"More importantly for the charities and foundations to be a chance to earn some big prize money, it's a great concept that creates such interest."
The charity partners were assigned to their horses at a black-tie event on Wednesday night, with Kristy Giteau's Win The Day partnered with Victorian raider and Snake Gully Cup winner Superazi.
Hometown hero and retiring veteran Handle The Truth will run for Roundabout Canberra, while three separate charities will fancy their chances after being aligned with the three joint favourites.
Super Helpful will run for cancer charity Rise Above, Cavalier Charles has been partnered with Lifeline Canberra and I've Bean Tryin' will race for the Daniela Dwyer Foundation.
While all the charities have their eye on the cash up for grabs, Giteau said the race provides more than just an opportunity to raise much-needed funds.
"It's something that's unique and special," Giteau said. "We're a relatively new charity, we're only three years old so having this opportunity, it's not so much winning the money but having the broader community understand the services we provide.
"My family loves racing, every Saturday we'd go to my parents house to watch the races. It was our way of bonding. The fact the charity can share a similar experience with the community is pretty special."
One of the central factors in selecting the organisations to be involved in the Canberra Community Chest was their status as a home-grown charity that plays a key role in the ACT community.
The groups have operated for differing lengths of time, but all have supported the city's residents in their own unique way.
Win The Day has been around for just three years, but has rapidly developed into a widely recognised and respected charity.
Giteau has been the figure behind the scenes fighting to provide a support network for children battling cancer and their families.
Win The Day hopes to use funds raised on Saturday to expand the food they're able to provide families in oncology wards and further a partnership with Bear Cottage to assist in funeral costs for children who died from cancer
The Giteau name has become synonymous with rugby in Canberra, courtesy of Kristy's brother Matt, a former Brumbies and Wallabies star.
Kristy, however, said the organisation has worked hard to ensure Win The Day connects with the wider community and said events like Saturday help increase awareness for their cancer support services.
"We have key people involved who are passionate and aligned to our values," Giteau said. "Having opportunities like Saturday to showcase the charity to new audiences is really important.
"Getting the opportunity to do community events and inform people how we're building and the gaps we're covering allows us to continue growing."
Emotional Dryden ready to say farewell
Trainer Keith Dryden has declared Handle The Truth can finish his career on a high with victory in Saturday's Canberra Community Chest.
The eight-year-old gelding will retire following the race, with Dryden desperate to secure one last win on his home track.
The trainer rates Handle The Truth in the top three horses he's trained in more than 40 years in the industry, alongside Tumble On and Into The Night.
The gelding has won more than $1.7 million prize money during a storied career, taking out the Kosciuszko and National Sprint.
As is so often the case, a new generation of sprinters have emerged in recent years as Handle The Truth has raced father time.
Super Helpful, Cavalier Charles and I've Bean Tryin' are the current joint favourites at $5, with Dryden's runner a $19 chance.
The trainer knows Handle The Truth faces a tough task, however he's confident the veteran will lift one last time to claim a piece of history in the inaugural edition of the $250,000 Canberra Community Chest.
"He's been a fantastic horse for the stable," Dryden said. "He's been in the top three horses I've trained. He's won $1.7 million, not too many horses do that.
"He's well-weighted in the race. His form hasn't been great over the last 12 months but he did run second in the National Sprint first up [in March], he has a liking for the Canberra track. It will be a tough race, there's a couple of other good chances, I just want him to run a nice race and get through it safely."
Dryden quickly recognised Handle The Truth's talent when he first arrived at the stable as a yearling.
The gelding romped to a three-length victory in his first start as a two-year-old and won seven of his first eight starts including the second edition of the $1 million Kosciuszko.
Success at Listed level followed, along with multiple placings in black-type races and various country cups.
His performances, however, have tailed off in the past year and Dryden decided the time was right to find a new home for his stable star.
"I'll be sorry to see him go," the trainer said. "The good thing about it is as long as everything goes right on Saturday, he's retiring sound and healthy.
"He's going to make a fantastic horse for somebody, we'll look for somebody to take him. We need to find a good home or we won't be letting him go, we'll look after him."
As to when he'll find the next one, Dryden is optimistic they're already sitting right underneath his nose.
"They could be there in the stable already as a young horse or it might never happen again," he said. "I've been training for 40 years and only had three really good ones.
"There could be a young one here that shows something or I might not see something like it again. A lot of trainers go through their careers without a good horse, I've been fortunate to have three."