Despite running second as the beaten favourite first-up in Sydney over the weekend trainer Gerald Ryan is pleased with the return of his class mare Solicit who now heads south for the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival Group 1s.
The five-year-old Street Cry mare had her first run since last November in Saturday’s $200,000 Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens where she jumped the $2.60 favourite.
Despite the betting plunge on the last start Group 3 Summoned Stakes (1500m) winner, Solicit and jockey Tye Angland could only manage to cross three lengths away second to the all-the-way winner Our Boy Malachi who was also first-up in the weight-for-age feature.
The Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained Our Boy Malachi could stay on in Melbourne or head straight to Sydney to clash with star stablemate Chautauqua in the lead-up to April’s 2016 TJ Smith Stakes.
Solicit still managed to impress Ryan with her second on return and he couldn’t be happier with the six-time winner ahead of her shot at Group 1 glory in Melbourne this February.
“She’s taken on a gun sprinter at his own game and I thought she ran super,” Ryan told The Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday.
“I’m very happy with it.”
Solicit has winning form up to 1500m but has been tested over as far as 2500m when third to Kirramosa in the Group 1 Crown Oaks as a three-year-old back in 2013.
She was runner-up in the following autumn’s Group 1 Vinery Stakes (2000m) in Sydney and her other best elite level performance was a Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) fourth over the Flemington mile to Bonaria in 2014.
Since then her best run in Group 1 company was a disappointing eighth in last year’s Myer Classic, won by Politeness, but Ryan is convinced she is still in the frame for a top level win of her own.
Possible targets in Melbourne include the $500,000 Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 13 and the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) a fortnight later on Blue Diamond Stakes Day.
Long term plans are to bring her back to Sydney where Ryan confirmed her run in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill on March 12.
Plans are to avoid a run at Royal Randwick this preparation after her other two runs at the track produced two last place efforts.
She was defeated over 21 lengths in the 2014 Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) when ninth to Diamond Drille and walked home nearly 50 lengths from the winner Adorabeel in the Group 3 Aspiration Quality (1600m) in March last year.
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