Rob Heathcote’s special little filly Startantes...
Last weekend’s $5 million The All-Star Mile withdrawal Arcadia Queen has again been scratched with the heavy rainfall in Sydney deterring the stable from heading up to Rosehill for the 2021 George Ryder Stakes this weekend.
Rosehill Gardens is already at a Heavy (8) rating before another 80mm plus rain is forecast to fall across Sydney ahead of Golden Slipper Stakes Day on Saturday.
WA trainers Grant & Alana Williams have already pulled the pin on running their star mare Arcadia Queen who was forced to scratch out from last Saturday’s The All-Star Mile at The Valley after failing to pass three vet checks.
She will instead be saved for the Group 2 Emancipation Stakes (1500m) Saturday week with the team hoping the course dries out in time to get the mare back racing this autumn.
The updated field for the Group 1 $1 million George Ryder Stakes (1500m) features 10 remaining runners and it is a tight betting battle.
Current favourite at George Ryder Stakes odds of $3.80 and firming through Ladbrokes.com.au is the Chris Waller-trained Adelaide mare Funstar.
The four-year-old is a proven mudlark with excellent form on Heavy tracks (4:2-1-0) and she presents fit third-up this weekend.
It has been a long time between drinks for Funstar who hasn’t won a race since her Group 2 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) success at this track and distance run on a Heavy (9) a year ago.
She has been competitive in plenty since however including her Group 1 Queen Of The Turf second last April, her second in Randwick’s Group 1 Epsom over the mile last October and her two lead-up runs this time in.
She comes off back-to-back fourths at Randwick in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes and Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes, the latter seeing her just a half-length behind her star stablemate Verry Elleegant in an ideal lead-up into Saturday’s race.
Waller is looking to add to his excellent record in the George Ryder Stakes having won the event seven times thanks to the four-peat of his champion mare Winx (2016-19).
Occupying the second and third lines of George Ryder Stakes betting are the closely-rated duo of Avilius ($4.40) and Kolding ($4.60) drawn in barriers one and three respectively.
The Godolphin-raced Avilius is another Chipping Norton graduate backing-up in the George Ryder having finished a quarter-length back third first-up at big odds.
He is two-from-two on Heavy going, has a strong second-up record (7:3-1-1) and loves the Rosehill track (5:3-0-2).
It has been 545 days since Avilius last posted a win in the 2019 George Main Stakes, but trainer James Cummings is confident going into Saturday with the Heavy track a big boost for the evergreen seven-year-old.
“I don’t think the horse has been beaten on a heavy track,” Cummings told Racenet this week.
“It’s been a while since he’s put his best ratings down two years ago but they [the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes and Group 1 Tancred Stakes wins] were on Heavy tracks.
“I think this is as good an opportunity as he’s had for years on Saturday.
“I’m excited that the conditions give the horse a chance, the chance he needs.”
Stablemate to the favourite, Kolding also rates well for this with the Ocean Park five-year-old having his fourth run this campaign.
He was second in the Expressway and Apollo before running fifth in a blanket finish in the Chipping Norton.
2021 George Ryder Stakes Field & Barriers
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Probable Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||x02110x225||KOLDING (NZ)||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||3||59kg||114|
|2||3x462605x3||AVILIUS (GB)||James Cummings||Nash Rawiller||1||59kg||111|
|3||2810x017x5||DREAMFORCE||John Thompson||James McDonald||4||59kg||111|
|4||15x11624x8||SAMADOUBT||Bjorn Baker||Joshua Parr||5||59kg||111|
|5||34x3240x41||GEM SONG||Kris Lees||Jason Collett||6||59kg||107|
|6||9x440825x3||CASCADIAN (GB)||James Cummings||Ms Rachel King||7||59kg||105|
|7||2x235407x0||DALASAN||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||Kerrin McEvoy||10||59kg||105|
|8||1117x332x7||DAWN PASSAGE||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Tim Clark||11||59kg||105|
|9||37x311918x||JUNIPAL||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||John Allen||9||59kg||103|
|10||5x523151x2||ARCADIA QUEEN||Grant & Alana Williams||Damien Oliver||2||57kg||116|
|11||42x6220x44||FUNSTAR||Chris Waller||Tommy Berry||8||57kg||108|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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