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Trainer Gerald Ryan is confident his smart colt Standout is up to the challenge of a weight-for-age clash first-up against star mare Alizee in this Saturday’s 2020 Expressway Stakes.
The Godolphin-raced defending champion Alizee is currently odds-on favourite in pre-field markets at Ladbrokes.com.au to defeat a small field in the Group 2 $200,000 Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens.
Despite the dominance in Expressway Stakes betting for the three-time Group 1 winning daughter of Sepoy, Ryan rates his three-year-old son of Exceed And Excel a genuine winning hope in his first weight-for-age test.
The lightly-raced chestnut has had four career starts to date for a trio of wins and a second-place effort.
His highest rated win was at the Rosehill track last September when he narrowly defeated Cosmic Force in the Listed Heritage Stakes (1100m).
One run later Peter & Paul Snowden’s Deep Field colt Cosmic Force turned the tables when beating Standout home to win Randwick’s Group 2 Roman Consul Stakes (1200m) by one and a quarter lengths.
Since then Ryan has brought Standout on fitness wise for his first-up assignment with two January hitouts in Sydney that produced a Rosehill win over 900m and a second at Randwick over the same distance behind Dreamforce.
“He gives the indication that he is a good horse it is just a matter of if he is up to weight-for-age level at his fifth start in a race,” Ryan told Racenet this week.
“I know Trapeze Artist won this race [in 2018] but he had five starts as a two-year-old and four starts in the spring so it was his 10th or 11th start.
“This horse is heading there at his fifth start in a race and it is not as if he has had heaps of trials.
“He has only had three trials, I think. He is learning and he is happy so we will get a good guide on where he is after Saturday.
“He is going good.
“His two trials have been good and he has come through those well. It is a different league on Saturday stepping up to weight-for-age but he is going good then just have to decide where to aim him after Saturday.”
The latest all-in Expressway Stakes odds have Standout at $4.80 just behind Kubrick ($3.60).
“He is a big solid horse,” Ryan added.
“He is a lovely individual to look at and has the colour to go with it.
“He is a big strong horse and I am hopeful he can measure up on Saturday.”
Original Expressway Stakes nominations attracted just seven entries with Standout and Chris Waller’s $1 million Bondi Stakes winner Kubrick the sole three-year-olds in the mix.
After Racing NSW extended the nominations, a further four horses have been added to the potential line-up including Alizee’s Golden Slipper winning stablemate Kiamichi.
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