Gerald Ryan is eyeing off the Newcastle Cup 2013 in September for his veteran stayer Ironstein who will kick off their new season campaign in the $100,000 Listed Winter Challenge (1500m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
The Zabeel seven-year-old hasn’t raced since their mid-field finish in the Mornington Cup back in February which was their 16th straight loss.
Despite some promising form here and there including some nice spring runs in Melbourne last year they haven’t won a race since the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at Flemington during the 2011 Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Ryan is hoping they can regain some form for their eight-year-old prep this season starting with this weekend’s Winter Challenge where they will face the likes of Chris Waller’s Grade 1 winning import Bayrir and last start Winter Stakes winner Under The Sun.
While they’re getting on in the years Ryan doesn’t see their age as a barrier as they are showing their usual zest for racing leading up to their return.
“He has come up really well and is a happy horse,” Ryan told AAP.
“He doesn’t know how old he is and is bouncing around like a three-year-old.”
Should all go to plan and they run well on Saturday then Ironstein will progress onto the $200,000 Group 3 Newcastle Cup (2300m) on September 19 which would be their first look at the Newcastle track.
From there their spring campaign will depend very much on how they are performing with a third shot at the Queen Elizabeth Stakes on Emirates Stakes Day, November 9, a possibility.
Defending their title in that race last year Ironstein ran a competitive second beaten five lengths by current Melbourne Cup favourite Puissance De Lune.
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