Having earmarked Thursday’s feature race as likely to be the talented eight-year-old veteran’s racing swansong, trainer Gerald Ryan has been pleased with the form of Ironstein and is confident of success in the 2014 Grafton Cup (2350m).
Continuing to perform to a competitive standard over five race starts this preparation, Ironstein has been a notable performer in each of his racing campaigns since first appearing on course in the spring of 2008.
Nominating the Grafton Cup as a final target at the beginning of his current prep, Ryan told AAP retirement is not set in stone for the Zabeel gelding, with the connections to make a call following Thursday’s headline race.
“It’s not set in cement that the Grafton Cup will be his last race,” Ryan said.
“If the owners decide to keep going then that’s what we will do.
“He is in good order and we’ll see what happens later this week.”
Claiming a total of eight race wins and fourteen minor places from 63 competitive race starts, Ironstein has taken out several notable events including the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) in 2011; unlucky not to repeat the feat when second to Puissance De Lune one year later.
Finishing fifth in the TAB Early Quaddie 3.y.o+ (1400m) first-up on April 26th, the gelding out of Gentle Genius was unlucky to be blocked for a run and seventh in the Listed Scone Cup (1600m) on May 16th, but has since finished fourth in both the Eremein Handicap (1800m) and Listed Ipswich Cup (2150m) and fifth in the Listed Caloundra Cup (2400m) last time out on June 28th.
Allocated the ideal barrier 2, Ironstein has been confirmed to be partnered by Eremein Handicap jockey Paul Hammersley and will be required to carry just 54.5kgs.
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