Having performed well over his short racing career so far, trainer Gerald Ryan has been thrilled with the form and class displayed by Washington Heights in the lead-up to his racing return in Saturday’s Blackwoods Gearwrench Handicap (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens.
Finishing outside the top three just once in his three start racing tenure so far, Washington Heights has not been seen on course since failing to match the late pace of talented three-year-old Panzer Division and sixth in the Group 3 Ming Dynasty Quality (1400m) at Randwick on September 6th.
Revealing the Commands colt chipped a bone in his front leg during the running of the Ming Dynasty Quality, Ryan told Racing Ahead he is confident his runner has the ability to overcome a talent-rich field first-up on Saturday.
“He’s done really well,” Ryan said.
“When he ran sixth in the Ming Dynasty he came out of it with a chip in his front joint and it was taken out.
“He’s done really well, he’s thickened up – he hasn’t grown because he was a big horse as it was but he looks really well.
“He’s had two jump-outs here and he’s down more speed in the jump-outs than what he did in his previous campaign so he might be just maturing and getting the hang of it.”
Yet to confirm a specific path for Washington Heights beyond his racing resumption on Saturday, Ryan underlined both the Listed Canberra Guineas (1400m) on March 8th and Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) on Day 1 of The Championships as likely targets.
“Probably only a light autumn – I maintain he’s a miler,” he added.
“Where we go after Saturday I’m not sure, perhaps a Canberra Guineas but he’s probably being aimed towards a race like the Carbine Club.
“We’ll probably go Canberra Guineas, then one other race and then the Carbine Club … and then probably go to the paddock.”
Debuting with an impressive second-place finish to subsequent Group 1 champion Hallowed Crown in the Group 3 Kindergarten Stakes (1100m) in April, Washington Heights ran on for an impressive second in the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m), in what was his only other start prior to the Ming Dynasty Quality on August 16th.
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