By George, Ryder Stakes is a beauty! There may be only eight contesting it – but with fourteen Group 1 wins among them – that’s all the numbers needed to make this a great race. Four of the last five winners of the Ryder have been double figure odds – admittedly, each of those editions has seen at least 12 horse fields, but only Pierro and Danleigh have won as favourites in the past eleven years. Can Winx make it three favourites from twelve years and be the first mare to win the race since the great Emancipation in 1984? Most say yes with the mare $1.70 in early markets. Press Statement, who is looking to join the ranks of Pierro, Weekend Hussler, Haradasun and Racing To Win, as 3yo’s to have claimed this race, is $4.60.
1. TURN ME LOOSE – O Bosson (8)
Had to do a bit of work early to find the lead first up in the C F Orr Stakes (1400m) and that told the last 100m when finishing fourth (1.3 lengths) to Suavito. Benefited from that outing and a sweeter run in transit, when holding out Stratum Star in the G1 Futurity Stakes (1400m), three weeks ago. Talented horse who should roll along in front or on the speed and give them plenty to catch, but will have some outstanding galloper closing on him late.
2. KERMADEC – Z Purton (6)
Holding his ground well late when third (1.7 lengths) to Holler – who led all the way, in the G1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m). That run and the extra furlong both in his favour here and he finished strongly second up last prep to run second (1.3 lengths) to Complancent in the G2 Chelmsford (1600m). Ran a great third in this race last year before claiming the Doncaster Handicap and with a solid tempo on up front – which their should be, could easily repeat that effort on Saturday.
3. HUCKLEBUCK – D Tourneur (3)
After excellent efforts first and second up in the G2 Australia Stakes – won by recent Canterbury Stakes winner Holler, and C F Orr Stakes – when finishing third after jumping from the widest gate in a field of 18, it was a total surprise to see him fold from the lead position in the Futurity Stakes at his most recent out and no surprise to learn he recorded a poor post-race recovery. Forgive that run and go on previous efforts as the best guide to his chances here. He’s an honest customer and get the run from three that he rates a place chance.
4. HAPPY CLAPPER – B Avdulla (2)
Thought his effort first up in the in the Canterbury Stakes (1400m) was excellent when finishing fourth (2.4 lengths) to Holler. It was his first run in twelve weeks and attempt at WFA. Talented, lightly raced 5yo galloper who is rapidly improving and wouldn’t have gone backwards with last start under his belt. Look for him to be finishing well and producing the ideal Doncaster Handicap trial – just as Kermadec did last year.
5. WINX – J Bowman (7)
Made it seven in a row – four of which have been Group 1’s, with an easy 1.5 length win in the Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m). That was her second run back from a spell and she met a field, most of whom, where returning from a break or looking for a longer trip. Faces a tougher task here but won, as she does so regularly, with something to spare last time out and it’ll take a big effort from one of her competitors to being her winning sequence to an end.
6. FIRST SEAL – B Shinn (5)
Big win first up in the G2 Millie Fox Stakes – coming from last on the turn to pick up the five other fillies and mares, before losing no admirers chasing home 3yo Holler in the G1 Canterbury Stakes and finishing second (1.5 lengths). Third up, 1500m on a track where she hasn’t finished outside of the top two in her four starts – all reads well for the John Thompson trained mare and she does boast a win over Winx – G1 Flight Stakes. Only query would be, all of her five career wins have come against her own sex.
7. TINTO – C Williams (4)
Queensland mare who was scratched from last week’s Coolmore Classic (this course and distance) where she was at double figure odds. Each of her past three wins have been at 1800m – and in races of much lesser quality than this, and it’s hard to see how she’ll be able to match it with most here.
8. PRESS STATEMENT – J McDonald (1)
Cruising in the one/one position, the 3yo had the G2 Hobartville Stakes won a long way out from home. It was his first run back from a spell and he start $1.30f for his next and most recent start – again against his own age group – in the Randwick Guineas. Unlike the Hobartville Stakes though, he settled back and found plenty of trouble in the straight – getting out late, too late as it turned out, finishing a head second to Le Romain. Steps up to open company now but has all the credentials to succeed at this level and would be surprise if he wasn’t involved heavily in the finish.
RACE OVERVIEW –
Great race! Turn Me Loose crosses from wider out and Press Statement will be handy with the inside draw. First Seal and Hucklebuck also position up well, but still think Winx will be able to round them all up. She wasn’t devastating last start again a field of little depth, but like the good horse she is, does what she has to do – and this field will bring out her best which, third up from a spell over 1500m – you would think the perfect race for her too. Press Statement the big danger obviously. Just a touch concerned about the rails draw for him – would’ve prefer to have drawn wider. Kermadec might be the forgotten horse for mine and be able to finish well with the mare. Happy Clapper $11 for the Doncaster – where he drops to 50kgs. Kermadec ran well in this race last year before winning the Doncaster so might be worth a nibble at that price now – especially if a few in the top of the betting opt for a different path.
2. PRESS STATEMENT
4. FIRST SEAL