Rosehill-based trainer Gerald Ryan has all but ruled out his in-form galloper Ironstein defending their Caloundra Cup title at the Sunshine Coast this Saturday.
Five-year-old Zabeel gelding Ironstein has been in blistering form this prep having won two black-type cups in their past three runs.
After success in the Listed WJ McKell Cup (2400m) at Rosehill in May, Ironstein backed up with a brave fourth to Tullamore in the Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 11 before their gritty win in the Group 3 Tattersall’s Cup (2200m) last Saturday.
Another Cup success on Ironstein’s record is the $200,000 Listed Caloundra Cup (2400m) which they took out by a quarter of a length over the Michael Moroney-trained Victorian stayer Tinseltown twelve months ago.
Despite being one of the 20 nominees for this year’s Caloundra Cup clash, Ryan has said Ironstein will likely bypass the race and focus on other Cup races in New South Wales before a Sydney Spring Carnival campaign.
In the 2010 Caloundra Cup Ironstein carted 53kg to victory, but with a duo of black-type victories added to their record since, this year Queensland Racing handicap Nathan Bourke said Ironstein would receive 58kg.
Although doable, Ironstein having had this weight on their back with Brenton Avdulla in the mount for their last-start Tatt’s Cup victory, it would be a weight-carrying record for the Caloundra Cup.
“Last year we ran in it because we weren’t going on (into the spring),” Ryan explained.
“But this year I want to freshen him up and come back and aim at the Wyong and Newcastle Cups and the Metropolitan.
“If we ran again Saturday that will be hard to do, so at this stage I’m not in favour of doing it.”
The Listed Wyong and Newcastle Gold Cups take place in September while Ironstein’s major spring aim, the $400,000 Group 1 Metropolitan Handicap (2400m), is one of the four elite level features held at Randwick on October 1 for Epsom Handicap Day.
If Ironstein is not accepted into the Caloundra Cup final field, last year’s runner-up Tinseltown and this year’s Ipswich Cup winner Gold In Dubai would both be allocated the top-weight of 57kg.