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George Ryder Stakes Preview – Rangi To Go Back To Back

April 7, 2012

The Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) has attracted a sensational field for the 2012 running of the weight for age feature.

Manikato, Emancipation, Campaign King, Schillaci, Lonhro, Racing To Win, Haradasun and Weekend Hussler are some of the stars to feature on the honour roll of the George Ryder, named after a former Sydney Turf Club chairman.

This year’s running is as open as ever, and Just Horse Racing’s Andrew Hawkins has attempted to find you the winner.

Here is his preview of the 2012 George Ryder Stakes:


Kiwi galloper who has been in top form since he failed in this race last year. Since that time he has yet to finish out of the top two in any race he’s contested. He’s won four Group 1s, including two in Australia – the Toorak Handicap and the Futurity Stakes. As a result, he’s finally getting the recognition he’s always deserved. Given the form he’s in, it’s hard to make a case for why he can be beaten. He has placed in the George Ryder twice before, in 2009 and 2010, and he’s incredibly consistent. Must be considered.


Ain’t this horse a warrior? He’s been down plenty of times, but he fights back and keeps popping up. Second up last year, he was at huge odds but he weaved through to nab Love Conquers All on the line. Unfortunately, he was injured again after that race. He’s had a more intense campaign this time in, and I must admit to thinking after his first two runs that we may never see the best of “Rangi” ever again. But he improved to run fourth in the Chipping Norton Stakes, before running a tenacious second in the Ranvet Stakes to Manighar. Even if he’d had his head down on the line, he would have lost the race on protest. But still, to come back from injury again to get so close would have felt like a triumph to his owners. Personally, I reckon he can win back to back George Ryders. His run in the Ranvet was outstanding and I think he’s now in the same vein of form which saw him win races like the Doncaster. Top chance.


2009 Randwick and Rosehill Guineas winner who was surprisingly very good first up in over a year. He flew along the inside to grab third in the Canterbury Stakes. I’m always wary after they fly first up, because it is very common they flop second up. That said, I’d like to see him do well. I reckon you’ll see the best of him third up, which will either be in the Doncaster or the Queen Elizabeth Stakes. But he’s still a place chance.


Probably one of the worst names for a Group 1 winner, but still, you can’t take away the fact he’s a dual Group 1 winner. He won the Emirates Stakes in the spring off two very good lead up runs. He’s not going as well this preparation, although he’s not going poorly by any stretch of the imagination. Looks as though he’ll improve third up and he gets to a distance which suits. He’s probably suited under weight for age conditions too. I can’t have him personally but I’m expecting to see him run well enough ahead of the Doncaster Mile.


I can never catch this horse. When I think he’s going to run well, he runs appallingly, and when I dismiss him, he comes out and wins. So I’ll be careful with what I say. He worked into form slowly at his last three runs – running sixth in the Expressway Stakes, third in the Apollo Stakes and second in the Chipping Norton Stakes. He won this race as favourite in 2010 before running ninth, once again as favourite, last year. He’s looming as value as he’s in similar form to the last two years and he did win so well in 2010. Can’t be discounted.


Looked to have this race won at one point last year but Rangirangdoo came through and nabbed him. Despite so many good runs at the top level, he’s yet to win a Group 1. This preparation, he should get his opportunity. He was good first up in the Canterbury Stakes, and he should be improved for a further good showing here. His stats at the track are interesting – he normally runs well at Rosehill but he’s only won here once. That was in The Shorts last year when he was arguably lucky to win. Nevertheless, he’s a chance.


It’s not often you’d expect to see a Cox Plate placegetter at $26 for the George Ryder – in fact, I’d imagine it is fairly rare. I think he’s been forgotten a little bit by punters after his William Reid Stakes sixth two weeks ago. Truth is, he was unlikely to finish any better than that on a track which was favouring front runners over a distance short of his best. Up to 1500m, he’ll be much better suited. He has raced below his best twice second up but I doubt he’s had conditions to suit like this before. He’s in with a chance.

8. SINCERO (17)

George Main Stakes winner over this track and distance. He also won the Stradbroke Handicap as a three year old last year. I don’t know if he quite stayed 2000m when tried at that distance on three occasions last spring. He returned with a good fourth in the Canterbury Stakes behind More Joyous, Monton and Metal Bender. If he can recapture his best, he’s in with a chance but the outside barrier makes it that much more difficult. Place chance at best for mine.

9. WOORIM (13)

I love this horse – I never, ever thought I’d say that when I told a mate that he would struggle to win a race outside Queensland. How wrong I was. The Oakleigh Plate winner has grown on me with time, and I’ve even made a profit on the horse! Remarkable. A lot of people are saying he won’t stay a mile – I’m not convinced of that, but I do think he’ll be better suited in the Doncaster Mile than here. I can’t wait to see a horse with his turn of foot over the Randwick mile, it could be something special. Or, if those who say he won’t stay a mile are right, it could be a fizzer. As for today’s race, I’m not sure about him at weight for age and I think, from the barrier, he could end up too far back. He’s a place chance but expect more from him in two weeks time.

10. HAPPY ZERO (14)

Former Hong Kong galloper who looked a world class sprinter at one point. He came back to Australia following injury problems and his first up run in the McEwen Stakes was quite promising. In fact, I even tipped him in the Manikato Stakes, ahead of Sepoy and More Joyous. Alas, it wasn’t to be – he finished 7th of the eight runners. He ran disappointingly once more in the spring before being tipped out. First up this preparation, he ran home very strongly for sixth in the Canterbury Stakes. It looked to me like he was on the verge of returning to some of his old form. If that happens, he’ll be going very close in a race like this. Obviously, he’s a huge risk until he shows that form. Nevertheless, be wary of him. Each way chances.


This Rosehill specialist disappointed in the Canterbury Stakes. I was expecting a better run from him after his Blamey Stakes run, where he didn’t see daylight for the entire Flemington straight but was still less than five lengths from Green Moon. Prior to that, he’d been going okay. But really, even at his best, he’d need to run to a new personal best to figure here. Not for me.

12. MONTON (5)

This galloper looked to have the world at his feet after he beat a pretty hot Hobartville Stakes field in 2010 – behind him that day were the likes of Randwick Guineas and Australian Derby winner Shoot Out, Epsom Handicap winner Captain Sonador, Cox Plate and Golden Slipper placegetter Manhattan Rain and Railway Stakes winner Gathering. But he looked like he would never recapture that form for a long time. However, he won the Festival Stakes first up in December last year, before recording a very impressive win in the Villiers Stakes at his next start. He was immediately spelled with the Doncaster in mind. However, even at his best, it was hard to believe he’d run as well as he did first up when he beat all bar More Joyous. On that run, you’d say he’ll be going very close here. Big chance.


Plenty has been written about last year’s Railway Stakes in Perth, and let’s face it – He’s Remarkable should be a Group 1 winner. But he’s not, thanks to that ridiculous decision by the Perth stewards. Anyway, the Kiwi galloper was very good that day, and he was good two weeks ago when winning the Newcastle Newmarket Handicap first up. He beat Star of Octagonal that day, who in turn finished second to Niagara in the Ajax Stakes last week. I’m not sure he’s suited at weight for age, but he’s another one who I’d like to see run well here ahead of a Doncaster tilt. Wait for him in two weeks.


2010 Australian Guineas winner who actually isn’t going that badly as he returns from a serious tendon injury. He ran well down the Flemington straight under the heavy impost of 61kg, giving the winner Liveandletdie 6.5kg. He was only beaten four and a half lengths, so all in all it wasn’t a bad effort. He then finished 17th in the Newmarket Handicap, but he was only five and a half lengths from Hay List, so once again, not a poor effort. He’ll be better suited here, up to 1500m. He’s another one who’ll be better in two weeks and I couldn’t have him until he shows a little more. But still, don’t be surprised if he runs well. I’m looking elsewhere though.


Epsom Handicap winner who can be a little bit quirky at times. In the Shannon Stakes over this track and distance, she by far and away looked the best horse in the race, particularly after the withdrawal of Torio’s Quest. But she finished a labouring fourth behind King Lionheart, Fast Clip and Lone Command. I have no doubt she was better than those three horses, but she is one-dimensional in the sense that she needs pace on. It was a similar story in the Wiggle Quality, where she had that touch of class but finished a long way from Steps In Time. She rectified that last start in the Coolmore Classic, when she just failed to grab Ofcourseican. I think the fact Grahame Begg has come here with Secret Admirer is a positive, as she’s likely to get more pace here than in the Queen of the Turf. Still, she’s two weeks away from peaking. I do reckon she’s a big chance though.

16. NIAGARA (16)

Where on earth did he pull the Ajax Stakes win from? I’ve liked the horse for a while, ever since his two year old days, but not for a minute did I think he’d be able to win like he did last weekend in the Ajax Stakes. It was contemptuous. And it wasn’t like they were average horses – he thrashed Star of Octagonal, which gives him a good line through He’s Remarkable. His form before that was pretty good – he should have won the Norman Robinson Stakes, he ran very poorly in the Victoria Derby, before he almost won the Sandown Guineas when down 900m in distance in two weeks! So really, he’s always had the promise – but now he’s delivering! I’m not sure he deserves to be favourite, but he is definitely a promising galloper and so he must be considered.

17. HUEGILL (1)

Caulfield Guineas placegetter (who was beaten four lengths in that race) who looks well outclassed here. He couldn’t even win the Bendigo Guineas two starts back, so I’d be very surprised if he was to figure here. His form outside of that Bendigo Guineas has been average this autumn, with his best result a fifth last time out in the Phar Lap Stakes. The inside barrier and the Moody/Nolen combination look to be the only two positives. No.


Real wide open affair here, with many chances. I think I changed my mind seven or eight times while doing the form as to who I’d have on top, but in the end, I’ve gone for RANGIRANGDOO. His second in the Ranvet Stakes was outstanding and I think he’s ready to peak here. He can join Emancipation, Manikato, Campaign King and Lonhro as dual winners of this race. I’m always wary of the three year olds in this race, and I’m particularly wary of a horse with the profile of NIAGARA – the lightly raced improver who’s already smashed his rivals in open company. Weight for age may test him though. DANLEIGH is going well and did win this race two years ago, you just never know if he’ll bob up or not, while at odds HAPPY ZERO will run a bold race. Next best Secret Admirer, then King Mufhasa.



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