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With a 40% chance of more rainfall in Brisbane later in the week, Sydney trainer Gerald Ryan is fearing a wet Doomben track will ruin the 2014 BTC Cup chances of his well fancied mare Snitzerlandon Saturday.
One of 15 sprinters nominated for this year’s $400,000 BTC Cup (1200m), Snitzel four-year-old Snitzerland is one of the top chances in the early markets for the opening Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival Group 1.
Currently the early BTC Cup betting markets are led by Rob Heathcote’s triple Group 1 champion Buffering who was fourth to Your Song in the race 12 months ago and the now John O’Shea-trained Royal Sovereign Stakes winning youngster Sidestep.
Also at single figures to win is then Snitzerland who is after her first win since her first-up success in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington in mid-February.
She could be a non-acceptor, or scratched closer to BTC Cup Day, with her winter prep cut short however if the predicted poor weather hits.
“It is weather dependant for her,” Ryan told AAP.
“If the track is rain-affected on Saturday then she won’t run. And if she doesn’t run then she will probably go to the paddock.”
A consistent Group 1 performer, Snitzerland backed up from her Black Caviar win to run second to Villa Verde as the beaten favourite in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) before coming unstuck on April 12 at Randwick.
There she failed on a Heavy (9) course running a disappointing 12th when beaten eight and a half lengths by Lankan Rupee in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m).
Punters started to forgive her that failure though when she went to Eagle Farm on April 26 and ran third to Temple Of Boom in the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m).
In the Victory she enjoyed a much firmer (Good 3) track, but she’s unlikely to get conditions like that again for her BTC Cup bid.
While the weather in Brisbane is currently cool and sunny, there is more rain predicted for Thursday and Friday meaning Snitzerland could encounter a mud track as she takes on many of the same horses that ran in the Victory.
Snitzerland’s only run on a Heavy track was the TJ Smith Stakes, and she’s never been on Slow going, something that obviously concerns Ryan ahead of the weekend.
If she doesn’t line-up in the BTC Cup then he believes continuing with Brisbane plans for other features like the $650,000 Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) on May 24 would be fruitless.
“She would need to run at Doomben [this Saturday] to go on to the longer races like the 10,000,” he explained.
Ryan could still be represented in the classic even without Snitzerland however having nominated for the in-form Hot Snitzel.
The improving Snitzel five-year-old has been in good form this season.
First-up they handled a Heavy (8) Rosehill track to run second in the Group 3 Sebring Stakes to Flamberge before winning the Group 3 Hall mark Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on a Slow (6) on April 26.
Along with their good recent form, Hot Snitzel is also proven in Brisbane.
Two lengths away sixth to Linton in last year’s Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm, Hot Snitzel won the 2011 Group 2 BTC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) and was also second to Benfica in that year’s Group 1 TJ Smith (1600m) as a two-year-old.
Victory Stakes winner Temple Of Boom is also in the mix for the BTC Cup as is their half-brother, the fellow Tony Gollan-trained Spirit Of Boom who ran second behind their stable mate in the Victory.
The 2014 BTC Cup field is announced on Wednesday morning and will be published right here at Races.com.au.
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