Standout no certainty to tackle Expressway
Trainers Gerald Ryan and Sterling Alexiou will decide on race morning whether Standout is given the chance to defend his Expressway Stakes title at Rosehill.
The four-year-old flopped at his only attempt on rain-affected ground in last year’s Canterbury Stakes and connections are loathe to run him if track conditions worsen.
Rosehill was rated a soft five on Thursday and showers are forecast over the coming days.
“If it got worse than a (soft) six he wouldn’t run,” Ryan said.
The Southern Cross Stakes at Randwick two weeks later is the obvious back-up option and while Standout is nominated for the Newmarket Handicap in Melbourne, Ryan’s preference is to stay closer to home – for now.
“He’s in the Newmarket but at this stage it’s not an option because the plan was to only give him a couple of runs early in the autumn and then back off him and perhaps go to Queensland,” Ryan said.
“That was the plan. We weren’t going to go deep into the Sydney autumn.”
Connections have identified the BTC Cup and Doomben 10,000 during the Brisbane winter carnival as ideal targets for Standout, who was just below the country’s top sprinters in the spring.
The flashy-looking entire won the Group Two Expressway Stakes (1200m) as a three-year-old last year but Ryan concedes Saturday’s renewal shapes as a stronger race.
Standout beat Alizee and White Moss 12 months ago and will be up against Group One winners Kolding, Flit and Ole Kirk, along with perennial top grade placegetter Star Of The Seas and Godolphin mare Savatiano, who is dynamic first up.
“They’re probably stronger than Alizee and those horses last year but I think it’s a suitable race for him. It’s an even race,” Ryan said.
“If the track stays firm he will run well.”
Ryan and Alexiou also welcome back Gimcrack Stakes runner-up Mallory, who is a pre-post favourite for Saturday’s Group Three Widden Stakes (1100m).
The filly showed good race sensibility to thread her way between runners at her only start and beat all but nominal Golden Slipper favourite Enthaar.
Ryan is looking forward to seeing where she fits in among the better Sydney two-year-olds.
“Lovely filly. She’s done really well since the spring and has grown taller,” Ryan said.
“She’s not a mad-running filly, she will be better when she gets to 1200 metres.
“She will sit back off the speed and if they overdo it up front she will be very strong to the line.”
Mallory is raced by Arrowfield Stud which has had several horses with Ryan throughout the years, including Baryshnikov and Spill The Beans.