Gerald Ryan will have up to three runners in the Group One Sires’ Produce Stakes and regards his best chance as the only member of the trio yet to be tested at black-type level.
Return With Honour, Mission River and Cultural Amnesia will be Ryan’s squad for Saturday’s 1400m-contest, the middle leg of the two-year-old triple crown, which also comprises the Golden Slipper (1200m) and Champagne Stakes (1600m).
Return With Honour was the hard luck story of the Black Opal Stakes in Canberra when he was strung up for a run and finished fifth.
He again had no luck when caught wide in the Baillieu Handicap last Saturday and Ryan is happy to back him up provided Randwick is not heavily rain-affected.
“He is good as gold. I just thought he got too wide on the track and got out into the bad going last start,” Ryan said.
“He will not run if it’s wet, he will go to the paddock.”
Stakes placed Mission River finished down the track behind Saturday’s rival and Sires’ Produce favourite Mamaragan in the Skyline Stakes.
Before that he posted back-to-back seconds to Rulership and Supreme Idea and Ryan felt he had genuine excuses last start.
“He did a few things wrong and was knocked from pillar to post,” Ryan said.
“He gives the impression he is a horse who will appreciate 1400 metres, although on a wet track, I’m not real sure.”
Cultural Amnesia rounds out Ryan’s arsenal and is the least seasoned of the three, but he is a talent on the rise.
He was narrowly outpointed by subsequent Magic Night Stakes winner Thermosphere at Newcastle two starts ago then broke his maiden on the Kensington track, defeating Rock My Wand who was successful at Rosehill midweek.
The Sires’ Produce Stakes represents a significant rise in grade but Ryan believes Cultural Amnesia is up to the challenge.
“It wouldn’t surprise me. He is my pick out of the three of them,” Ryan said.
“He has trained on well since Kensington. It doesn’t matter if it’s wet or dry with him. He’s a nice horse.”
Ryan will have up to five Group One runners at Randwick with Standout in the TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) and Chains Of Honour in the ATC Australian Derby (2400m).
He has put blinkers on Heart Of The Oak in the Group Three P J Bell Stakes (1200m) and is hopeful of a cheeky showing despite her wide draw.
The three-year-old beat subsequent Group Two Emancipation Stakes winner Positive Peace two starts ago and was not far away from the leading fillies when midfield in the Group One Surround Stakes.
“She jumped out with blinkers on the other morning and was really good,” Ryan said.
“She can run well at good odds.”