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Sydney horseman Gerald Ryan knows the first-up assignment he has nominated Hot Snitzel for on Saturday at Warwick Farm is a tough one and is wary of both the Group 1 winning Manawanui and up-and-comer Moment Of Change in the 2012 Royal Sovereign Stakes.
The official field of acceptors for the $175,000 Group 2 Royal Sovereign Stakes (1200m) will be released on Wednesday after 14 three-year-old colts and geldings were nominated on Monday.
It is a crack list of hopefuls with the Royal Sovereign Stakes 2012 talk dominated by the likes of Ron Leemon’s resuming Golden Rose champion Manawanui, the unbeaten Moment Of Change from the Peter Moody stables, gun WA galloper King Saul, Spring Champion Stakes winner Doctor Doom and Patinack Farm’s 2012 Australian Guineas-bound Isopach.
Also in the mix is Ryan’s Snitzel three-year-old Hot Snitzel, the Triple Crown Syndicate-owned gelding last seen finishing two and a half lengths away sixth to superstar Sepoy in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Derby Day.
Hot Snitzel has been a consistent force for Ryan over their 11-start career to date that has included a Group 2 win at Eagle Farm and a Group 1 second place behind Benfica in the TJ Smith over the Eagle Farm mile last June.
Ryan hopes their good run continues this season starting on Saturday, but knows a first-up win against this class of competitors is a big ask.
While Manawanui is the obvious headliner in the Royal Sovereign on Saturday, there is also plenty of hype surrounding the first-up run of Barley A Moment gelding Moment Of Change.
Heading towards the $500,000 Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) on March 17, as is Manawanui, Moment Of Change made an instant impression with their 10 length win on debut at Murtoa last August.
They backed up to put four lengths on Meethaq winning over 1300m at Sandown in September before heading to the paddock.
While untested against this level before, the lightly-raced Moment Of Change caught Ryan’s eye when they narrowly beat home Hot Snitzel in a 900-metre barrier trial at Rosehill on February 7.
“At set weights Manawanui will be hard to beat but Peter Moody’s horse is one to watch,” Ryan said assessing the Royal Sovereign Stakes hopes.
“He trialled good and he beat Hot Snitzel in the trial.”
While it is Group 1 aims on the agenda for the big two after Saturday, Ryan is keeping things a little more low-key for Hot Snitzel at this stage.
He also plans to bypass the longer-distance tests in the autumn such as the $1.5 million Group 1 Australian Derby over 2400-metres at Royal Randwick on April 14 and keep Hot Snitzel to the mile events.
“He will run in the Hobartville Stakes after Saturday and we’ll assess things from there,” he said.
The $200,000 Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) runs at Rosehill on March 3.
Ron Leemon has a similar plan to keep Manawanui to a mile and under this prep to keep him fresh-legged enough to go for gold in the $3.5 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley in October during the spring.
“We will keep him to 1600-metres this time and he will have a light autumn,” Leemon confirmed.
“The Cox Plate in October is the long-term aim.”
Check back at Races.com.au on Wednesday to view the race fields for all of the weekend’s major races including the 2012 Royal Sovereign Stakes.
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