Top Queensland hoop Jim Byrne is looking down the barrel of his fourth Ipswich Cup trophy and believes he is on the right horse to win it for him with Lloyd Kennewell’s Adelaide raider Rialya engaged for the winter feature on Saturday.
Five-year-old Kempinsky gelding Rialya hasn’t won a race a race since the Group 2 Adelaide Cup over the two miles at Morphettville last March but Byrne is confident they can return to form this weekend.
Rialya races against a class field in the $200,000 Listed Channel 7 Ipswich Cup (2150m) which has attracted the likes of Peter Moody’s Eagle Farm Cup third place-getter Voila Ici after their maiden win down under, the progressive Gerald Ryan-trained Planetarium coming off a last start win in Brisbane and Kiwi visitor High Kin.
While those three dominate betting under double figures Rialya pays around $19 to score an upset.
Byrne believes that’s a price over the odds based on their last start run at Doomben on May 25 when finishing off strongly to cross two and a half lengths away seventh to the Bart Cummings-trained Precedence in the Group 3 Premier’s Cup (2200m).
“Going to the barriers at Doomben he was feeling that good he tried to nick off on me. He was feeling fresh and raced accordingly,” Byrne said.
“His effort was full of merit and with that run under his belt I always thought a race like the Ipswich Cup would suit him down to the ground.
“The strength of this race (on Saturday) is probably on a par with the Premier’s Cup and with the improvement I’m sure he’s taken out of his last run he should be hard to beat.”
The horse has never seen the Ipswich track before having only made their Queensland debut in the Premier’s Cup but Byrne, well acquainted with the course, believes the short 250m straight will be perfect for the front-running Rialya.
“I suppose you can say that (a horse is suited) about any race on any track but because it’s only a short run home at Ipswich you want to make sure your horse is in the clear and building momentum,” he said.
“This horse can take up a handy spot in his races and he’ll keep on grinding when the pressure goes on.
“They’re the sort of horses that are always suited in an Ipswich Cup.”
And if any hoop knows how to spot an Ipswich Cup winner Byrne is it having partnered with Sphenophyta (2006) who continued on to Turnbull Stakes success at elite level that year, He’s Back On Track (1997) and Ardeed (1995) for their victories in the end of season feature.
The only concern the jockey has is the barrier, Rialya drawn in gate 12 which will become nine if the four emergencies come out.
“I would have preferred to draw a bit better than 12 but he’s the type of horse who can put himself into a good position and he’ll be strong at the finish,” he said.
The favourite Voila Ici carries 60kg, Rialya meeting them five kilos better in the weights, and must overcome barrier 19 (possibly into 15) to win for the punters.