The theory that the current crop of three-year-olds is the best in two decades will be tested this weekend when two of the most promising step up to weight-for-age company for the first time.
Shooting To Win and Kermadec will take their place in the George Ryder Stakes – a race which will also mark the Australian debuts of Japanese pair World Ace and Real Impact.
Beaten as favourite at his past two starts, Shooting To Win has stretched the patience of punters but trainer Peter Snowden’s belief hasn’t wavered.
He expects the colt to repay that faith at Rosehill.
“I don’t want to talk my horse up, I want him to do the talking,” Snowden said.
“I’ll just sit on the fence and watch Saturday.”
Shooting To Win’s George Ryder performance will provide an important form reference for the three-year-olds in The Championships.
The colt was a last-start third to Hallowed Crown who shares favouritism for the Doncaster Mile.
For Snowden, the George Ryder will provide a different kind of insight.
The race will determine whether Shooting To Win heads to the Doncaster Mile, the All Aged Stakes, or both.
Frustrated the horse was forced into an uncomfortable leadership role in the Randwick Guineas, Snowden has taken the blinkers off Shooting To Win, a gear change he didn’t make lightly.
“I thought long and hard about it,” Snowden said.
“He’s been getting keen of late but only because there’s been no pace in the races and he’s found himself in front.
“He should get cover from that good draw on Saturday but I don’t want him pulling off the speed, I want him to relax.
“And if he does we should see the real Shooting To Win on Saturday.”
Shooting To Win is equal favourite for the George Ryder at $5 with Kermadec and Cosmic Endeavour.
World Ace is the more highly rated of the Japanese duo at $7.50.
HISTORY OF THE GEORGE RYDER STAKES
* First run in 1903. Changed from a quality handicap after 1973 and renamed in honour of the long-time racing administrator whose legacy is the Golden Slipper
* Of the jockeys riding this year, Hugh Bowman (Hooked) and Jimmy Cassidy (Sacred Falls) are the most successful with two winners
* Chris Waller has made the race his own, winning it with Danleigh (2010), Rangirangdoo (2011) and Metal Bender (2012)
*Pierro in 2013 the last three-year-old to win.
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au