If anything can beat Chris Waller’s champion mare Winx in Saturday’s 2016 George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill Gardens it is her dual Group 1 winning stablemate Press Statement according to their trainer.
Waller saddles-up three of the eight weight-for-age hopefuls in this year’s $1 million Group 1 China Horse Club George Ryder Stakes (1500m) including the odds-on favourite Winx who pays $1.70 for the win through Ladbrokes.com.au.
She is the deserving favourite having won her last seven starts including four Group 1 races, the most recent being the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) on February 27.
While a step up to 2000m for the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes on April 9 is her major Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival, Waller has her dropping down to 1500m on Saturday where the Cox Plate champ jumps from barrier seven with Hugh Bowman aboard.
Waller’s other runners in the George Ryder this season, a race he has prepared three past winners in with Danleigh, Rangirangdoo and Metal Bender saluting from 2010 -12, are last year’s Doncaster Mile winner Kermadec and young Hinchinbrook colt Press Statement.
Kermadec jumps one inside of Winx from barrier six with Zac Purton aboard second-up, the $12 shot in betting coming off a Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) third at Randwick a fortnight ago.
Waller doesn’t believe the $2.6 million earning Teofilo four-year-old has what it takes to beat home Winx, but he’s not so quick to write off the winning chances of his JJ Atkins – Caulfield Guineas winner Press Statement.
“We know where Kermadec is at, but with Press Statement he could really step up,” Waller told Racing Ahead on RSN 927 on Friday.
Press Statement is the $5 second pick in the George Ryder odds for the weekend, a race he comes into off the back of a shock second to Le Romain in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) on March 5.
He jumped the odds-on favourite that run after his breezy first-up Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) success at Rosehill on February 20, but went down a long neck.
Rising to 1500m, Press Statement will appreciate the extra metres and smaller field from a better barrier after working hard from 12 of 13 last time out.
“He did get beat in the Randwick Guineas but he didn’t have a lot of luck go his way, so he could easily be the next boom horse that we are eagerly waiting to see,” Waller said.
He also has a nice Rosehill record of three wins and a second from five looks at the track as he looks to be the first three-year-old George Ryder Stakes winner since Gai Waterhouse’s star colt Pierro (2013) three years ago.
All that said, Waller still believes Winx is the best horse in the race and the one they are likely to be chasing home on Saturday.
“She’s fantastic,” he said.
“She takes everything very seriously, does everything right and on game day, she’s so zoned in at that winning post it’s not funny and I’m hoping that she can take it to a new level tomorrow.
“I hope she wins. Obviously we’ve got Press Statement there – a high-prized colt and for him it’s probably more important in terms of his value, but for the punter, the public, they have really gotten behind Winx and so it would be special if she could win.”
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