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George Ryder Stakes preview

A great meeting lined up at Rosehill this weekend, at least if the fields hold up. The taps have been on all week in Sydney, and while the weather might improve over the weekend, it'd take a lot to dry this up. Regular contrbutor Manny Galouzis, @mannygalouzis, analyses the field.


George Ryder Stakes

Rosehill $1,000,000 Group 1
1600 local time, 0500 GMT.
1500m, track expected to be Heavy8-Heavy10 range.

Another Saturday, another day filled with high quality Group 1 racing. It really is a wonderful time to be a punter. Three Group 1s from Rosehill this weekend, but we are going to look at the $1million George Ryder Stakes; and this year's edition looks to be oozing with class.

A traditional lead up to the Doncaster Handicap, this race has been won by some absolute champions over the last few years. Pierro, Weekend Hussler, Haradasun and Lonhro just to name a few. More recently, Chris Waller has had a firm grasp on this race, winning three out of the last four. In the last ten years, three winners of this race have gone on to win the time-honoured Doncaster, but before that you'd have to go all the way back to 1983 too see that happen, when Emancipation did the double. 15 runners will take their place this time in and with what will probably be a heavy track, it's anyone's race.

1. Boban

If you know me at all, you know I am a huge fan of this horse. Waller has really taken him to another level and I think he could be one of the best WFA horses in Australia. It's pretty clear that this bloke needs Glyn Schofield on board, he just runs that much better with him. Two fairly disappointing runs this prep were all but forgotten when he won the Chipping Norton three weeks ago. He was very impressive in doing so, especially considering he beat It's a Dundeel. He should be able to lob into a lovely position from barrier nine and he will take a world of beating here. The only query is if he handles the heavy track. He is 0/2 on rain affected ground, but those two races were a while ago. If he handles it, he could just blow them away. I've got him on top.

2. Gordon Lord Byron

The most interesting runner in this race for mine. Trained by Tom Hogan, this guy has been all over the world lately, racing in England, Ireland, France and more recently Hong Kong, where he ran 4th beaten 2L in the Hong Kong Mile by Glorious Days. He should handle the wet fine and Williams will be able to put him wherever he wants in the race, though his first-up record is nothing to write home about and I'd like to see him show something here before he gets any of my hard earned. I can't entertain him here, but will be watching with interest.

3. My Kingdom of Fife

Now second-up after a lengthy spell, he did what you'd expect him to when he returned in the Canterbury Stakes. He will obviously improve up in trip but you'd expect he would need at least another run or two before you see anything out of him. Not here.

4. Sacred Falls

He returned brilliantly in the Canterbury Stakes, really finding the line late and showing he is in for a big prep. He's 3/3 on wet going and is in this up to his ears if he finds clear running in the straight. From barrier two, it could be the Doncaster all over again for this guy if he can shoot right up the rail. With as much as $11 on offer, I think he represents a big price. I've got him second pick.

5. Toydini

Up to 1500m should suit him better and his third-up record isn't too bad. Just not sure if he is up to this lot. Not for me.

6. Speediness

Very good in his first two races this time in, but I thought he was quite disappointing in the Canterbury Stakes. Heavy track shouldn't be an issue and 1500m is ideal for him. Will get a great run from the barrier too. Rough place chance, but don't think he can win.

7. Fat Al

Looks like Moody has finally turned him around. He won very nicely in the Golden Mile last start, but it is a long way from Bendigo to Rosehill. Hard to come into here, especially from the gate.

8. Lidari

Nolen put on a master class with Lidari last start, making every post a winner. Don't think he will get the same favours here though. Might find the rise in class a bit tough, and as such I don't think he will be in the finish.

9. Terravista

This guy just keeps doing everything right. He's been very good both times at the races this prep, and the form holds up with El Roca only being beaten a head in the Randwick Guineas. He's untested on a wet track and he might have to work too hard to find a position from barrier 12. He's well in the market, but I'm prepared to risk him here.

10. Ninth Legion

First-up this time in, he trialled well and will get a nice run from barrier seven. This is a massive rise in class though, but to be honest, with the way the Hawkes are going at the moment, anything is possible. I doubt it, but stranger things have happened.

11. Tres Blue

First-up after a dismal performance in last year's Melbourne Cup. It's good to see him back at the races, but you'd think this is just a pipe-opener for better things to come.

12. Red Tracer

With the recent retirement of Appearance, she probably now holds the title for best mare in Australia. Very unlucky last start when missing the kick and almost falling after 100m. She positioned up closer to last and showed a big turn of foot only to be beaten 1.4L. Obviously grows a leg in the wet, if Rodd can some how find cover in the run, she could prove very hard to beat. Though there is no guarantee she will be running. Waller has come out and said he will make a decision as late as possible, as she might be saved for another race against her own sex. If she does run, you'd expect her to go close. Big chance.

13. Streama

Just fair at both race starts this campaign, but she does get everything to suit here. Up to 1500m, rain affected ground and has drawn barrier 3. I don't think she can win, but if she brings her best she might be a place chance.

14. El Roca

Unlucky in the Randwick Guineas, only beaten .1L after shifting in on top of Dissident in the last 100m. He's going very well this time in and a wet track should suit. Barrier 11 makes things a bit tricky but he has enough early gate speed to get across. Place chance.

15. Eurozone

I thought he was very good in the Guineas, just running out of steam in the last 100m. Dropping back to 1500m should suit and he is 3/3 on wet going. I don't think he'll settle too far back from barrier 1 and with any luck he could be in the finish. I think he is a winning chance.

It looks like there could be a fair bit of pace in this race. From the 1500m start at Rosehill, they come out of a chute and have roughly 300m to get in before a big sweeping turn. Terravista and El Roca will have to work early to get across, possibly with Fat Al and Lidari. Streama, Eurozone and Speediness shouldn't be too far away either. I expect a fairly solid pace, and horses most advantaged will be sitting just behind the leaders or midfield. You probably don't want to be too far back given how wet the track will be.

I'm $3.50 the field in a 100% market. If Boban can settle midfield and get through the ground, he could blow them away. Sacred Falls is the most enticing bet for mine though, I've got him marked $5 and that is a considerable overly with double that on offer. All eyes will be on Chris Waller over the next few days too see if he runs Red Tracer and if she does, she goes very close to winning this.


1. Boban
2. Sacred Falls
3. Red Tracer
4. Eurozone

Recommended bet:

Back Sacred Falls the WIN with a saver on Boban.

Good luck punters, and as as always, there's no such thing as the last race.


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