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Rosehill trainer Gerald Ryan is confident his Zabeel gelding Ironstein is ready to hit peak form when they step up in distance for the 2012 Premier’s Cup at Doomben Racecourse this Saturday.
The always honest six-year-old has had a season of mixed results so far but looked close to their best when running a brave second to Hume in the Group 3 BTC Chairman’s Handicap (2000m) at Doomben on May 12.
Winner of the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at Flemington last Emirates Stakes Day, Ironstein is a born and bred stayer who will appreciate going up to the 2200-metres for the first time this prep when they take on a crack field in the $125,000 Group 3 The Channel Seven Premier’s Cup (2200m) on Saturday.
Two back Ironstein was disappointing when crossing six and a half lengths away eighth to Shez Sinsational in the Group 2 AD Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast.
The track that day was a Heavy (8) and while Ironstein has won on a Heavy track in the past, Ryan really believes they are better on a firmer track these days.
“I know people have him pegged as a wet tracker but I reckon he’s just as good, if not better on top of the ground,” Ryan said.
“He was still reaching peak fitness in the Hollindale and the heavy track that day did him no favours but he still ran a nice race.
“He had to start from barrier 12 in the Chairman’s and his performance showed he’s ready to win again.”
Due to be ridden by apprentice hoop Josh Adams who has been in the saddle for the horse’s two most recent runs Ironstein has drawn the inside alley in the big 16-starter plus two-emergency Premier’s Cup final field.
They are also the 58kg topweight meaning they give a notable amount of weight away to some classy contenders including their last start conqueror Hume (55.5kg), the in-form John Thompson-trained Shamadashing (54kg) and Warrnambool Cup champ Dance With Her (56kg).
Still Ryan rates the six-year-old gelding as a definite chance based on their good record in the sunshine state.
Back in July of 2010 Ironstein scored their first stakes victory beating home Tinseltown in the Caloundra Cup (2400m) at the Sunshine Coast.
The next winter they return to Queensland and after a brave fourth to Tullamore in the Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m) they held on in a tight finish to defeat Shuffle The Cash in the Group 3 Tatt’s Cup (22400m) at Eagle Farm.
“He’s been a terrific horse. He keeps improving with age,” Ryan said.
“Since he won his maiden as an October four-year-old he’s won more than $800,000 in prize money.”
Following the Premier’s Cup on Saturday Ryan plans to take Ironstein onto the Brisbane Cup once again, the $300,000 showdown to run at Eagle Farm Racecourse on Stradbroke Handicap Day, Saturday June 9.
“My only concern would be if we got a wet track on Saturday,” Ryan said.
“Carrying 58kg in the wet will make his task more difficult.
“Either way he’ll run, he needs to in preparation for the Brisbane Cup.”
Should they win the Brisbane Cup Ironstein would qualify for a run in the world’s richest handicap, the $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November which is a pipe dream for Ryan.
“He missed out on a start (in last year’s Melbourne Cup) by one spot. He was next in line,” Ryan said.
“The Brisbane Cup has been his mission all along but I wouldn’t be surprised if he won on Saturday.”
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