Ryan keeps promising pair close to home
TRAINER Gerald Ryan, buoyed by stable star Trapeze Artist's barrier trial return, hopes to exploit a home-track advantage at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Ryan has five runners entered for the meeting, including promising duo Miss Celebration and Zourhea, who the trainer hopes can join Trapeze Artist as autumn carnival contenders.
"I had a couple of horses nominated for other meetings but with the hot weather forecast, I decided to run them here at home as they can walk across the road to the track rather than have long float trips,'' Ryan said.
The week started off well for Ryan even though Trapeze Artist, winner of three Group 1 races and more than $5 million prizemoney, ran fourth in his trial behind Sandbar at Rosehill on Tuesday.
Trapeze Artist ran without blinkers but his competitive trial effort has Ryan believing the outstanding sprinter can win a second successive Group 2 $200,000 Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on February 2.
"The plan has always been to go to the Expressway Stakes first-up,'' Ryan said.
"I might trial him over 740m at Randwick next Thursday, just over a short course as I don't want to trial him over any further before the Expressway.
"He won this race first-up last year and he is just going as well this time.''
Miss Celebration, a winner of four of her five starts, leads the stable charge when she steps out in the Maurice Rolfe Handicap (1100m). Ryan said he wasn't surprised when Miss Celebration made a winning return to racing at Randwick on Boxing Day.
"Miss Celebration is a handy mare and I thought she was going well leading into that race,'' Ryan said. "She won her first three starts in her debut preparation before I gave her a chance in city grade (Warwick Farm, August 1) but she ran unplaced.
"I think she had probably come to the end of it that day but she has returned in great order.
"This is a race where she should be very competitive again, although she doesn't map well. She worked impressively Tuesday morning, I'm very happy with her.''
Zourhea, a three-year-old filly by Zoustar, makes her comeback to racing in the Doug Carroll Handicap (1300m). She hasn't raced since winning two of her only three starts during her initial race preparation last winter, culminating with a tough win over 1800m at Hawkesbury,
Ryan revealed he has classic ambitions for Zourhea, a half-sister to Winter Cup and ATC Australian Derby runner-up Harper's Choice,
"Zourhea is a very nice filly and everyone who rides her remarks about her beautiful action,'' Ryan said. "She was a bit dour last preparation but she has been a lot sharper in her work this time in.
"I'm hoping we can get her to the (ATC Australian) Oaks in the autumn. She has to earn some stakes morning and show she can measure up but I feel she can.''
Platinum Tycoon, a winner of 10 of his 22 starts in North Queensland, makes his Sydney debut for the Ryan stable in the JHB Syndications Sprint (1100m).
Ryan has had Platinum Tycoon in work since October with the sprinter creating a good impression romping home by four lengths in a recent Rosehill barrier trial.
"This horse has got good speed, he's fit and well and it will be interesting to see how he goes,'' Ryan said. "He's got a good winning record and only has to carry 52kg - he's never carried such a light weight in his life.''
Pipeline lines up in the Roger Hawke Handicap (1350m) and King Tomlola contests the Richard Hutt Handicap (1500m).
Ryan admitted he wasn't expecting Pipeline to get so far back early when a first-up fifth to Deprive three weeks ago while King Tomlola is on the quick back-up after his seventh to Turnberry last Saturday.
"Pipeline got run off his feet the other day,'' Ryan said. "We always thought he would run 1600m and that was the first time he ever raced like he was looking for that distance. He closed his race off well first-up and appears in very good order.
"King Tomlola is starting to look for a fraction further but I thought it suited him backing up at Rosehill (Saturday) before we step him up in journey.''
Hawkes pins hopes on Reflectivity
HALL of Fame trainer John Hawkes is an admirer of Reflectivity's attitude to racing.
"Reflectivity is no world-beater but he's an honest horse, he always tries hard so you can't ask more than that,'' Hawkes said.
Reflectivity is the Hawkes stable's only runner at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday and lines up in the Richard Hutt Handicap (1500m).
Hawkes has taken advantage of apprentice Brock Ryan's 3kg to reduce Reflectivity's weight to 58.5kg. Ryan partnered Reflectivity to win over the Rosehill 1500m two starts back and then again at Randwick when fifth to Tip Top over 1600m.
"Reflectivity didn't have the best of runs last time but the good barrier (three) is a held (Saturday),'' Hawkes said. "It still won't be easy for him even the claim but he's going well and you know he will give it everything.''
Team Hawkes does have three runners at Flemington on Saturday, including smart sprinter Glenall, who is resuming in the Listed $140,000 Kensington Stakes (1000m).
A noted first-up performer, Glenall hasn't raced since June but he looked sharp winning a Rosehill barrier trial earlier this month defeating subsequent Magic Millions Sprint winner Egyptian Symbol.
"He did trial well and we felt this was a good race to get him going,'' Hawkes said. "He goes there wit a chance.''
The Hawkes stable also has Kilmacurragh contesting the Bitalli Handicap (1800m) and Top Me Up in the Victorian Owner Gold Card Handicap (1200m).
"They are both in races to suit, they should be competitive,'' Hawkes said.
Hawkes, who trains in partnership with his sons Michael and Wayne, also has two definite chances at Canterbury tonight - first starter Bucephalus in the Friday Night Racing Handicap (1100m) and Quadriga resumes in the Agency Real Estate Handicap (1250m).
Bucephalus, a well-bred three-year-old colt by super sire Redoute's Choice out of the stakes-winning mare Miss Stellabelle, was given an easy trial when third to Mr Dependable at Rosehill on January 2. At the same trials session, Quadriga impressed winning his heat.
"They both trialled well and are ready to go to the races,'' Hawkes said.
"Bucephalus is a lovely horse and although he will be better with the experience, he will run well. Quadriga can win if he has his mind on the job.''