A capacity field of sixteen fillies will line up...
Rosehill trainer Gerald Ryan is confident with his decision to avoid a clash with star colts Pierro and All Too Hard in Sydney’s Run To The Rose this weekend with Amorino who will instead race in the HDF McNeil Stakes 2012 at Melbourne’s Caulfield Racecourse.
“When Pierro and All Too Hard looked like they were going to run here (Rosehill) we thought we’d go to Melbourne and run in the McNeil,” Ryan said this week.
The $150,000 Group 3 H.D.F. McNeil Stakes (1200m) field is without its headline nominee this year after Mick Price’s Blue Diamond Stakes winner Samaready was not accepted for, the smart filly suffering a minor infection.
Without Samaready the shortie in the McNeil Stakes betting markets is sure to be Elite Elle, Tony Vasil’s unbeaten Shamardal filly coming off a shock win in the Listed Quezette Stakes (1100m) – a race Samaready ran fourth in.
Ryan however isn’t scared of taking on Elite Elle rating his Snitzel colt Amorino a genuine first-up chance.
A winner of their opening two career starts at the end of last year Amorino went on to run a credible sixth to the Gai Waterhouse-trained duo Driefontein and No Looking Back in the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic at the Gold Coast in January.
They returned in the autumn to run a first-up fourth to Pierro in the Todman Stakes before their ninth behind Waterhouse’s star colt again this time in the $3.5 million Golden Slipper.
Spelled after their effort in the Slipper, Amorino beaten four and a half lengths, they return on Saturday in the McNeil having also originally been entered for the $125,000 Group 3 The Run To The Rose at their home track in Sydney a lot stronger than they were for their two-year-old campaign.
“Physically you wouldn’t say he’s changed a lot, he’s probably only about 10 kilos heavier on the scales, but to look at him he’s a lot stronger,” Ryan said.
“He’s a lot better through the front end, he’s better around the shoulders, his attitude’s great and the trial’s really switched him on.
“He used to be little bit colty as a two-year-old, but so far this time in he hasn’t been, so mentally I reckon he’s matured a lot.”
While confident they are ready to get back under race conditions, Ryan opted to give Amorino what he considers an easier run in Melbourne this weekend despite The Run To The Rose having attracted just six acceptors to the McNeil Stakes’ 12.
“He has had a few gallops the Melbourne way of going, which doesn’t seem to affect him,” Ryan said.
“When the track’s open here the reverse way of going I gallop a lot of horses that way so it’s not new to them.
“I know it’s different in a race, but he’ll be stabled at Caulfield and it’ll be basically like his home track and when he travelled up to the Gold Coast for the Magic Millions he settled in really quick, so I’m just hoping he does the same this time.”
In an early blow for Amorino, who enjoyed a trial win over 824m at Randwick on August 13, drew the extreme outside barrier for the McNeil, their Golden Slipper jockey Steve Arnold reuniting with them.
Along with Elite Elle Amorino’s other major dangers in the 2012 McNeil Stakes field look to be Waterhouse’s consistent Haradasun gelding Kabayan who ran second to Sizzling in the Group 1 TJ Smith over the Eagle Farm mile back in June, the Jason Warren-trained Pronto Pronto who resumed with a first-up fourth in The Rosebud, and Mark Kavanagh’s lightly-raced Iffraaj colt If I Could.
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