Gerald Ryan’s veteran stayer Ironstein has opened narrow favourite to break a lengthy winning drought with a victory in the Ipswich Cup 2014 in Queensland this weekend.
The rising nine-year-old son of noted sire Zabeel is one of 16 gallopers making up the field for this year’s $175,000 Listed Channel 7 Ipswich Cup (2150m) running as Ipswich Race 7 at 3:40pm on Saturday.
Drawn in barrier six Ironstein carries the equal 58kg top weight with the Peter Moody-trained Full Of Spirit and sits top of the Ipswich Cup odds at a quote of $6.
They were last seen running a close fourth over 1800m at Rosehill on May 31 carrying the same weight, a nice improvement on their two earlier runs this year with the blinkers back on.
Group 1 performed, most recently beaten under a length when fourth behind Seville in The Metropolitan over the mile and a half at Randwick back in October, Ironstein hasn’t won a race in two and a half years.
The last time they were in the winners’ stall was back in November of 2011 when taking out the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m), something Ryan is hoping they can change this weekend with a win.
It’s a super tight Ipswich Cup betting market this year however with four other single figure fancies including the close second elect Brave Ali.
Paying $7 to beat home their rivals, Tony Gollan’s O’Reilly seven-year-old comes off some very nice Brisbane Racing Carnival form.
They won three on the trot, including the Listed Tails Stakes (2128m) at Eagle Farm on April 26, before their last start third behind Pretty Pins in the Group 3 Chairman’s Handicap (2000m).
Brave Ali will appreciate getting back up over 2150m on Saturday with in-form apprentice hoop Tegan Harrison staying on for the weekend’s assignment.
Also at $7 is Garud out wide in barrier 13 for Michael Moroney.
High Chaparral six-year-old Garud comes off two third place finishes, most recently over 2000m at Flemington on May 24 when beaten nearly five lengths by Zuma Roc.
They get in on 55kg here with Michael Cahill riding and should appreciate the extra distance getting out further than 2000m since their fourth to Pelicano in the Listed Werribee Cup (2600m) back in December last year.
The other single figure fancies are then Flying Spur mare Full Of Spirit ($9) and High Aims ($9.50) drawn at opposite ends of the Ipswich Cup field in barriers 14 and two respectively.
Five-year-old Full Of Spirit has the big weight and wide gate but excellent lead-up form including a Scone Cup second two back and a third to Transonic at Rosehill over 1800m on May 31.
Another mare in the mix, Southern Image four-year-old High Aims is also in top form leading up to the Ipswich Cup having won the Tatura Cup over the mile in April before their third to Crucial in a mares’ handicap on May 3.
Other notable hopes just outside the top chances but with genuine claims then include the Pat Carey-trained Angola ($10) who is over their pet distance here, Rob Heathcote’s Dehere gelding Volkhere ($12), Grey Assignment ($15) and early market mover Brayroan ($17) to be ridden by Chris Munce.
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