Guy Walter’s champion mare Appearance will shoot for her fifth Group 1 triumph this weekend, the last start Canterbury Stakes winner heading the George Ryder Stakes 2014 nominations in Sydney.
The richest race on the Rosehill program on Saturday, this year’s $1 million Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) has attracted 18 nominations.
Leading the nominees is five-year-old Commands mare Appearance who made it four Group 1’s last time out on March 15 with her victory in the Canterbury Stakes over the 1300m at Randwick.
Before that she also enjoyed a Group 2 winning double to kick off her Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival campaign winning both the Expressway Stakes and Apollo Stakes in February.
Being touted by Walter as possibly the best horse he’s ever trained, Appearance broke her Group 1 maiden in the 2012 Myer Classic with an upset win as a $31 outsider.
She proved that was no fluke in her subsequent preparations however racking up more Group 1 success with victories in last year’s Coolmore Classic, Queen Of The Turf Stakes and as mentioned the Canterbury this autumn.
Appearance is also the $6.50 second pick for the $3 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) on April 12, markets there narrowly led by Messene who won the Ajax Stakes on the weekend.
Walter has also nominated for his fellow Doncaster Mile 2014-bound Toydini who, like Appearance, is out to become the first George Ryder – Doncaster double winner since Vision And Power (2009), and Streama.
A $12 chance for the lucrative handicap next month, Bernardini four-year-old Toydini comes via a Canterbury Stakes fifth that they’re tipped to improve on getting up to the 1500m here.
Third in last year’s Epsom Handicap behind Boban over the mile, Toydini also has winning form over 1600m having won Moonee Valley’s Crystal Mile one run later.
Smart Stratum mare Streama also ran in the Canterbury like her fellow George Ryder nominated stable mates, the five-year-old finishing a credible sixth after getting caught three wide early.
Winner of the George Main Stakes last September, Streama has bucket loads of Group 1 experience with her other elite level victories being in the 2012 Australian Oaks and the 2011 Flight Stakes.
She was competitive last autumn too with a Queen Of The Turf third behind Appearance and a Docnaster fourth before travelling to Brisbane in the winter for a Stradbroke third and Tatt’s Tiara second behind Linton and Red Tracer respectively.
Also coming via a run in the Canterbury Stakes this year meanwhile is beaten favourite Red Tracer for premier Sydney trainer Chris Waller.
The multiple Group 1 winning daughter of Dane Shadow is third-up on the weekend following a Group 2 Millie Fox Stakes win at Rosehill and her Canterbury third.
Red Tracer will have lost few admirers with her Canterbury Stakes effort, the six-year-old blundering the start and nearly falling before making up ground late with a smart 200m sectional to grab a minor placing.
Her main aim this season is the $1 million Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on Sydney Cup Day, April 19, for which she’s the $5 second favourite for at Ladbrokes.com.au behind Appearance ($4.40).
Waller has an outstanding recent record in the George Ryder Stakes too having trained three of the past four winners with Metal Bender (2012), Rangirangdoo (2011) and Danleigh (2010).
Waller’s other 2014 George Ryder Stakes nominees are his last start Chipping Norton Stakes winner Boban, veteran English import My Kingdom Of Fife who ran dead last in the Canterbury in their first run in two and a half years and reigning Doncaster Mile winner Sacred Falls who returned with an eye-catching Canterbury Stakes fourth.
Last year’s George Ryder Stakes winning trainer Gai Waterhouse (Pierro, 2013) meanwhile has one nominee this autumn in Tres Blue who hasn’t raced since their disappointing 22nd in the Melbourne Cup in their Australian debut last November.
The other big name George Ryder Stakes nominees then include Trent Busuttin’s Randwick Guineas runner-up El Roca, third in that race Eurozone who is also nominated for the three-year-olds’ Rosehill Guineas on the program, William Reid Stakes runner-up from last Friday night Fontelina, and the Joe Pride-trained Terravista unbeaten this time in with wins in the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes and Liverpool City Cup.
See below for the full George Ryder Stakes 2014 nominations, the final field due out on Wednesday.
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2014 George Ryder Stakes Nominations
Rosehill Gardens – 29/03/2014
|2||BEL THOR||Wez Hunter||92|
|4||EL ROCA||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||104|
|5||EUROZONE||Bart & James Cummings||100|
|6||FAT AL||Peter G Moody||104|
|8||GORDON LORD BYRON (IRE)||Tom Hogan||114|
|9||LIDARI (FR)||Peter G Moody||104|
|10||MY KINGDOM OF FIFE (GB)||Chris Waller||112|
|11||NINTH LEGION||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||100|
|12||RED TRACER||Chris Waller||115|
|13||SACRED FALLS (NZ)||Chris Waller||111|
|18||TRES BLUE (IRE)||Gai Waterhouse||104|