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Trainer Adam Durrant will saddle veteran gelding Ranger alongside just six competitors in the featured Group 3 Hyperion Stakes (1600m) at Belmont Racecourse on Saturday, but has conceded he is not sure if the seven-year-old will be overcome some of his talented rivals.
Claiming a total of six race wins and 13 minor places from 35 competitive race starts so far, Durrant has been pleased with the form and work displayed by the Testa Rossa gelding over two races this preparation, but is worried Ranger has forgotten how to find the line in the clear, having not secured a race win since 2011.
“I am as pleased as you can be with a rising eight-year-old,” Durrant said.
“He has been around the traps and I’ve only had him this preparation.
“His run first-up was excellent, he only got beaten a neck and ran fourth, and the other day he was ridden upside down and carried more four kilos more than anything in the race and probably covered 100 metres more than anything in the race.
“He is the sort of horse that you have to ride basically like you are not trying until the 300 and then have the last jab at them.
“He is going to get the perfect run tomorrow, even if he is last he is only going to be two or three lengths off them and he can reel off a good sectional.
“He is back to weight-for-age where the weight is in his favour and his work is excellent, but he is a little bit of non-winner.
“I think that it is coming up to something like 950 days since his last win, so you would have to take him on trust with that kind of record next to his name.”
Finishing fifth amongst similar company in both the Group 3 Roma Cup (1200m) and Group 3 Belmont Sprint (1400m) so-far this year, Ranger will leave from barrier 5 in the 2014 Hyperion Stakes and will be partnered jockey Peter Hall once more.
One of the most experienced runners confirmed for the Hyperion Stakes, Ranger is currently featured as sole occupant of the third line of betting for success on Saturday, at a quote of $6.50.
Returning to the track in typically scintillating form this time in, Elite Belle is clear $1.55 favourite to add the Hyperion Stakes to an impressive record, ahead of Kalahaar ($4.60).
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