Sydney’s Gerald Ryan will saddle-up two promising Caulfield Guineas 2014 hopes at home this weekend with Washington Heights and Ygritte resuming in the San Domenico Stakes.
Saturday’s $125,000 Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) has drawn just nine early entries this year, nominations extended until 11am on Tuesday morning.
Two of the confirmed hopefuls hail from Ryan’s local Rosehill Gardens’ stables and are Melbourne-bound this spring.
Ryan had to delay the return of his star colt Rubick, who is heading towards a run in November’s Coolmore Stud Stakes on Victoria Derby Day, after they fell ill with a virus.
“I went and saw him on Friday and he looks good,” Ryan said.
”I said I would give him a couple of weeks in the paddock and then send him to the water walker, and nothing has really changed.
“I want to get him back for the Coolmore Stud Stakes and there are couple of ways we could get there but I’m thinking the Blue Sapphire at Caulfield [in October] against his own age could be the right way to get there.”
The San Domenico was their original first-up target, but while they miss the race, Ryan still has two livewire chances.
Both Commands colt Washington Heights and their better tried stablemate, Snitzel filly Ygritte are in the mix for the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 11 and in the Ladbrokes.com.au markets for the classic.
He also hasn’t ruled out a run next month in the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) on September 13 with both promising runners.
“They have both come back better for a spell and this race fitted into a program that is aimed at the Caulfield Guineas and could include the Golden Rose,” Ryan said told The Sydney Morning Herald speaking of the duo this week.
Snitzel filly Ygritte, to be ridden by Kerrin McEvoy on Saturday, has had four runs so far and has proved very consistent starting with their win on debut over 1000m at Kembla Grange on February 1.
Since then they’ve race exclusively in Group 3 company for a hat-trick of second place finishes, most recently in the Keith McKay Stakes at Randwick behind Eloping on April 19, form Ryan rates quite highly.
“Ygritte might have only won a maiden but she has run second to Mossfun and Eloping as a two-year-old, which is pretty good form,” he said.
Washington Heights meanwhile remains a maiden after just the one run after they finished second best behind Hallowed Crown in the Group 3 Kindergarten Stakes (1100m) in the wet a week before the Keith McKay.
They trialed over 900m at Rosehill on August 4 and ran fourth to Tuscan Falls leading up to the San Domenico where Brenton Avdulla will take the reins while Ygritte goes into the weekend without an official hit-out.
“I have always liked Washington Heights and we just have to give him time,” Ryan said.
“He can have the run in the San Domenico then the Run To The Rose and it will either be the Golden Rose or the Spring Stakes in Newcastle after that.
“It will depend on him because he looks like being a big strong type and will be suited at a mile and beyond.”
The $125,000 Group 3 The Run To The Rose (1200m) takes place back at Rosehill on August 30 while the $125,000 Group 3 Spring Stakes (1600m) runs on September 17 four days after the 2014 Golden Rose.
Also Caulfield Guineas bound and nominated for the San Domenico is then the David Payne-trained Bold Circle out to atone for their dead last finish when eighth behind Scissor Kick in the Listed The Rosebud (1200m) at Randwick last Saturday.
Other notable San Domenico Stakes hopes also include the Chris Waller-trained stakes winner Law and the Team Hawkes-trained duo of Lighting Stakes graduate Bugatty and Nostradamus who ran seventh in the Blue Diamond Stakes back in February.
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