Local Sydney trainer Gerald Ryan is hoping his recent stable acquisition Capital Commander can break an eight month winning drought with an upset in Saturday’s 2014 Civic Stakes at Rosehill Gardens.
The six-year-old Commands mare is one of 12 original entries for the $100,000 Listed Civic Stakes (1350m) this year, the handicap clash to be her second run for Ryan if accepted.
Previously trained in Canberra by Nick Olive, Capital Commander joined Ryan’s Rosehill stables only a couple of months ago after Damion Flower purchased her at a recent Sydney broodmare sale.
She debuted for her new trainer on June 21 but failed to impress when six lengths away sixth behind Kristy Lee in a fillies and mares Benchmark 85 handicap.
Saturday though she steps up in class for her shot at the Civic Stakes where she’s tipped for improvement going up in distance.
The mare hasn’t won a race since her mile victory at Randwick in early November last year, something Ryan hopes can change on the weekend before she retires to stud later this season.
“Capital Commander will definitely run in the Civic,” Ryan told AAP.
“Capital Commander goes to stud this year so we are trying to get some black type for her.”
To date she’s won just nine of her 43 career starts, all of her victories being in non-Black Type races.
Her last stakes assignment was in mid-March where she ran a disappointing 11th when suffering interference, getting caught wide and dropping out late in the Group 3 Aspiration Quality (1600m) at Randwick.
Ryan could be dually represented in this year’s Civic Stakes field too having also nominated for another recent addition to his lot, Oakfield Commands.
Also a Commands six-year-old, the gelding was transferred from Darren Smith’s Newcastle stables last month with their previous trainer under investigation for the use of cobalt.
They debuted for Ryan in the $85,000 Winter Dash (1200m) at Randwick on June 21.
They caught the eye immediately when winning the open handicap by one and a quarter lengths over Zaratone, their first win since June last year, after coming from the back of the field.
Having spent much of the past 12 months sidelined, Oakfield Commands now looks set for better things being only lightly raced with 22 starts to date.
In the Winter Dash though they carried only 52kg and will likely have to handle a few kilos more in Saturday’s showdown, their first ever stakes assignment if accepted.
Ryan though could bypass the Civic Stakes and instead go straight into the $150,000 Listed Ramornie Handicap (1200m) at Grafton on Wednesday week, July 9.
“I’m not sure yet about Oakfield Commands,” he said.
“The way he raced he won’t have any trouble with the 1350 metres but the Ramornie is there for him too.”
Other notable Civic Stakes nominees this year include the Grahame Begg-trained General Nediym mare Bennetta who ran third in the Group 2 QTC Cup and fourth in the Group 3 WJ Healy Stakes this prep, and David Vandyke’s Hussonet mare Breakfast In Bed coming off a Listed third over the distance at Ipswich.
Final fields for all the weekend’s races are due out on Wednesday and will be published here at Races.com.au so stay tuned.
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