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Trainer Gerald Ryan is looking at the Golden Rose 2014 as the major spring assignment for his progressive colt Washington Heights who is now back in work ahead of their three-year-old season.
Sydney-based Ryan is starting to confirm definite Group 1 plans for the horses in his stables including Commands juvenile Washington Heights who he welcomed back a couple of weeks ago.
The lightly-raced youngster has had just the one start to date back in April.
It was an impressive debut, on the back of a winning Rosehill trial, when runner-up to Hallowed Crown in the Group 3 Kindergarten Stakes (1100m) at Randwick.
In a race that had no early speed, probably due to the Heavy (9) track conditions, Washington Heights was forced back in the field and was still at the tail end with 200m left to travel.
Ridden by Brenton Avdulla, also in the saddle for their two lead-up trails, the galloper did their best work over the final 100m and hit the line strongly one and a quarter lengths off the Bart & James Cummings-trained winner.
Ryan is confident Washington Heights, a $300,000 purchase from last year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, can rise through the ranks then when they return.
Their major goal is at Rosehill Gardens on September 13 in the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) so long as they can gain a start.
“He’s a nice horse,” Ryan told TVN.
“I’ve got a lot of time for him. I think he will run a mile (1600m), a mile and a quarter (2000m) too.”
Ryan has also announced first-up plans for his exciting Encosta De Lago colt Rubick on the same day in the $220,000 Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) but at Flemington in Melbourne.
The fellow two-year-old won their opening two starts at Randwick (1000m) and Caulfield (1100m) early in the year and then stepped up to Group 1 company in the Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m).
They led with 200m left to travel but faded to eventually finish fourth behind Darley’s subsequent Golden Slipper runner-up Earthquake.
More Group 1 success could then be on the cards for Ryan’s ATC Sires Produce winner Peggy Jean.
The daughter of Myboycharlie took out the Group 1 at Randwick on April 12 before failing to run out a solid mile in the Champagne Stakes when fifth to Go Indy Go a fortnight later.
She’ll be given another go over the 1600m however with Ryan targeting her towards the $400,000 Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on October 4 and then the $500,000 Group 1 Thousand Guineas on Caulfield Guineas Day in Melbourne the following weekend.
In early Thousand Guineas odds Peggy Jean pays $9, markets led by Earthquake ($5.50) who is now prepared by John O’Shea.
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