Resuming six-year-old Ironstein will put their Doncaster Mile 2012 claims on the line at Rosehill this Saturday when they run first-up in the Ajax Stakes.
The Gerald Ryan-trained Zabeel gelding races for the first time since their smart two and a half length victory over Shootoff in the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) back on Emirates Stakes Day last Melbourne Cup Carnival.
One of 17 horses still engaged for the $175,000 Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) following the early scratching of #17 Knot Out, Ironstein could get a run in the $2 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 21 should they perform well on Saturday.
Originally Ryan was eyeing off the Doncaster for Ironstein’s return, but the local Rosehill-based trainer decided to bring him back a little earlier after their summer spell.
It is a top class Ajax Stakes field this year but many of the headline entries including Peter Snowden’s Group 2 winning colt Pied A Terre (13), Todd Howlett’s Star Of Octagonal (14) and Blamey Stakes fourth placed Speediness (16) have all suffered poor barrier draws.
Ironstein meanwhile has come up trumps with barrier seven, Brenton Avdulla engaged for the ride.
Out for second first-up win from five attempts on Saturday, Ironstein is a genuine stayer but has also won over the 1500-metres once before, Ryan confident they have come back in excellent order.
“The horse is flying,” Ryan said.
“If he happened to win on Saturday I’d run him second-up in the Doncaster.
“He was going that well that about five weeks ago I was even thinking about going first-up into the Doncaster.
“He would have 52 (kilograms) on his back, he’d never get that again in a handicap and he runs well fresh.
“He has ran well fresh in the past.
“In his first start for me he won and on Boxing Day in 2010 he resumed with a big weight and ran a huge race to finish third behind Top Drop.”
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