Rob Heathcote’s breakthrough Group 1 hero Woorim will be looking to bounce back from two disappointing runs when they tackle a top field in the George Ryder Stakes 2012 on Golden Slipper Day at Rosehill Gardens this Saturday.
One of 17 gallopers engaged to face off in the $400,000 Group 1 The Daily Telegraph George Ryder Stakes (1500m), running as Rosehill Race 8 at 4:35pm, Brisbane raider Woorim has come up with barrier 13.
Despite the double-digit gate ace Queensland trainer Heathcote remains confident of a form return from the Show A Heart six-year-old.
First-up at Caulfield on Blue Diamond Day Woorim handed Heathcote his maiden thoroughbred major with a gritty win in the Oakleigh Plate (1100m).
Next start they went down two and a half lengths when fifth to Hay List in the Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington.
Last start they suffered their worst defeat in five months when they failed to beat home any of their rivals, Woorim crossing 10 ½ lengths away eighth from John O’Shea’s upset winner Foxwedge in the William Reid Stakes (1200m) under the lights at Moonee Valley on March 23 where a firm track hampered their chances.
Retaining the ride for Saturday is jockey Damien Brown who has ridden Woorim for all three of their Melbourne starts this time in.
The George Ryder Stakes will be Woorim’s first run in Sydney, Heathcote hopeful they will adjust to that way of racing and be competitive against this field full of Group 1 winners, the trainer indicating that as long as the track suited his horse would turn up.
“I just hope the track’s not too firm and that the track’s got a little bit of give in it, that’s the key,” Heathcote said.
“This horse won’t travel on a firm track.
“One of the deputy chief stewards down there came on the radio the next day (after the William Reid Stakes) and he said the top of the track was okay but underneath the surface was very firm and there were a few horses that ran poorly because of it.
“That’s always been our plan, that run at Moonee Valley I didn’t really want to use it but I had to use it for a trial just to fit him up to this.
“This is what it’s all about isn’t it, the big stage and the best horses in Australia.
“I’m a little bullish. If Woorim takes his game day to the races, I tell you he can get home over the top of them – he’s proven it against the best sprinters in the country.
“He can do it over a mile as well if circumstances are there for him.”
Early favourites to win the 2012 George Ryder Stakes, which is unsurprisingly an open betting affair, include Futurity Stakes winning Kiwi King Mufhasa, Gai Waterhouse’s in-form colt Niagara coming off an Ajax Stakes win at the track and distance seven days ago, defending champion Rangirangdoo, the Hawkes-trained Love Conquers All and Grahame Begg’s Coolmore Classic runner-up Secret Admirer.
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