Two significant changes for Eurozone this week could be the all-important ingredients that will help the three year old deliver the knockout blow to his rivals in the Group 1 $1m George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
The addition for blinkers and the important booking of in-form jockey Jim Cassidy has Bart and James Cummings brimming with confidence as Eurozone lines up in the weight for age contest against the older horses.
Eurozone has two placings and a fourth from his last three starts at Group 1 level and James Cummings is looking for that special extra something to get the Northern Meteor colt across the line first.
“His form has been consistent in Group One company in his three runs but he hasn’t won,” James Cummings told AAP.
“And he is taking on Boban, Gordon Lord Byron and a stack of weight-for-age horses when he has just been running holes in three-year-old company.
“But with the blinkers on and Jimmy Cassidy on, there’s a big chance of him improving.
“Glen Boss rode him perfectly but for the past week Jim has been driving to the track of a morning as confident as any other jockey.”
Cassidy takes over from the suspended Glen Boss who has been aboard Eurozone at his two latest runs when beaten less than two lengths when fourth to Shamus Award in the Group 1 $500,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 1 and then third to Dissident in the Group 1 $600,000 Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Randwick two weeks ago.
Cummings tested Eurozone at weight for age at his first run back in the Autumn and was beaten a whisker by the front running Moment Of Change in the Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 8 when ridden by Damien Oliver.
Cummings had reported to Racing New South Wales stewards earlier in the week that Eurozone had been treated for a minor leg injury after being galloped on in the Randwick Guineas but has cleared the three year old, saying the colt doesn’t have any issues going into the George Ryder Stakes.
“If there were he certainly wouldn’t be running,” Cummings said.
Eurozone’s wet track record of three wins from three starts on the slow should be to his advantage on the Rosehill track which is currently rated a heavy 9.
Last start weight for age Chipping Norton Stakes winner Boban is untested on wet ground while Sydney’s best wet tracker Red Tracer looks the one to beat in the conditions.
The Chris Waller trained mare has three wins and a second from four starts on the slow and five wins from six goes on the heavy and comes into the George Ryder Stakes with great form.
The Group 1 winning mare kicked off her Autumn Carnival campaign with a win in the Group 2 $175,000 Millie Fox Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill on March 1 on a slow 7 and then finished third to Appearance in the Group 1 $500,000 Guinness Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Randwick on March 15 after receiving severe interference shortly after the start.
Red Tracer is a clear $3 favourite for the George Ryder Stakes with Ladbrokes.com.au with stablemate Boban the second pick at $6 while Sacred Falls, also from the Waller stable, is next in the betting at $7.
Eurozone has been marked as a $10 chance just ahead of the other three year old El Roca and Streama at $11.
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