Gerald Ryan’s veteran sprinter Oakfield Commands is one of the known mudlarks set to appreciate a likely bog track and Royal Randwick this weekend for his run in the 2014 Show County Quality.
Drawing 19 nominations, this year’s edition of the $125,000 Group 3 Show County Quality (1200m) is one of five black-type features on the Warwick Stakes Day program in Sydney on Saturday with the best odds on all the events offered by Ladbrokes.com.au.
Chris Waller dominates the entries with 10 nominees in the mix including the likes of dual Doncaster Mile winner Sacred Falls and improving European import Our Voodoo Prince.
Ryan meanwhile has just the one hopeful in Commands seven-year-old Oakfield Commands, the gelding continuing a preparation that started back in early May.
He has won two of his four runs this campaign most recently a BenchMark 95 over 1200m at Rosehill on August 2.
Saturday will be the old warhorse’s first stakes’ assignment since running fourth behind Generalife in a luckless run in the Listed Civic Stakes (1350m) on July 5.
Winner of the Winter Dash before that second-up at Randwick in June, Oakfield Commands has been ridden by Ryan’s stable apprentice Lester Grace for his three most recent runs.
Those were the opening three starts the galloper had for Ryan who took over training after a stable transfer from Darren Smith.
Grace retains the mount for the weekend in the Show County Quality then with Oakfield Commands set to appreciate the wet track.
“Lester has a good record on the horse so I see no reason to take him off,” Ryan told AAP.
“And the horse has a good record at Randwick. He has three wins from his last three starts there.”
Sydney has been copping plenty of heavy rainfall over the past few days with Randwick currently rated a Heavy (10).
The Australian Turf Club (ATC) however is confident of an upgrade to make the track suitable and safe for racing by the weekend with an improving forecast to help.
Oakfield Commands though will have no issues handling the soft ground having won on both Slow and Heavy rated tracks.
“He’s adaptable and he’s good in the wet and has fitness on his side,” Ryan said.
The big wet in Sydney has interrupted the preparation of a number of Ryan’s other spring hopes.
He was to trial a handful of new season three-year-olds at Rosehill on Monday morning.
The trials were called off due to the wet however forcing Ryan to reschedule hit outs for Group 1 hopefuls Peggy Jean, Charlie Boy and Bachman to Randwick’s Friday jumpouts.
“I took the precaution last week of entering six horses at Randwick when I saw the forecast,” Ryan said.
“But horses not trained at Randwick are the first balloted out so I was concerned they might not get a run.
“It’s thrown things out a bit but in saying that, we badly need the rain.”
Group 3 winning All American colt Bachman was last seen running second last when suffering interference and spitting out his bit in the Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on April 26.
Ryan has his first-up run scheduled for September 13 in the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m), for which the youngster pays $41 to win through Ladbrokes.com.au, but ensuring they get in two trials before then is key.
“The plan is to start Bachman first-up in the Golden Rose but I’d really like to give him two trials to do that,” he said of the 2014 Caulfield Guineas nominated colt.
Peggy Jean meanwhile also ran in the Champagne Stakes, the Myboycharlie filly finishing fifth.
That came on the back of her half length win over Scratch Me Lucky in the Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) on a Heavy (9) at Randwick 14 days earlier.
She too is in the mix for the Golden Rose paying a much shorter $15 and is also well liked for the $500,000 Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) on October 11 paying $9 as the fourth favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au for the Caulfield feature.
“Peggy Jean is scheduled to go first-up into the Furious,” Ryan said.
The $175,000 Group 2 Furious Stakes (1200m) runs at Randwick on September 6.
Check out all the prices on the upcoming spring features and back Ryan’s runners at the hottest odds online at Ladbrokes.com.au who will also match your initial investment dollar for dollar up to $250 as a bonus welcome bet!