King Tomlola will have to defy a big weight to win at Randwick but trainer Gerald Ryan hopes that is countered by a drop in grade.
The gelding has 62.5kg in Wednesday’s Bowerman’s Office Furniture Handicap (1800m) with senior jockey Brenton Avdulla to ride.
Ryan was not tempted to to use an apprentice believing King Tomlola races best with a strong rider,
After being well beaten at his first two starts this campaign, King Tomlola finished midfield in a Benchmark 88 race over 1600m on December 14.
He drops to Benchmark 70 grade and is up to 1800m, a distance he has been successful at in the past.
“He’s taken a while to get fully fit,” Ryan said.
“But now he drops from Saturday grade to a midweek benchmark 70.
“He’s won over 1800 metres on the Kensington track before and this is the first time he’s drawn a barrier (2).”
Ryan also has Mansa Musa and King’s Champ running at the New Year’s Day meeting.
Mansa Musa, who also runs in Benchmark 70 grade, steps up to 1250m after two recent unplaced runs.
Ryan is drawing confidence from his 1100m-win three starts ago which was also on the Kensington track.
“He has been a bit disappointing at his past two starts,” Ryan said.
“He led when he won but over 1250 metres he doesn’t have to.”
King’s Champ, who runs over 1000 metres, will be having his first start as a gelding.
The three-year-old has had three barrier trials to prepare him for his return to racing.
“He needed to be gelded,” Ryan said.
“He was very naughty boy as a colt but he seems to have settled down.
“I’ve been pleased with his work and his trials.”
On Tuesday, the Ryan-trained Hyannis Port opened her winning account with victory in a maiden at Gosford at her second start.
She won the second of two races held before extreme heat forced officials to call the meeting off.
Hyannis Port is a three-year-old daughter of Mrs Onassis who Ryan trained to win the 2013 Group One Oakleigh Plate for owner/breeder Gerry Harvey.