A win in the Listed $150,000 Sportingbet Sandown Cup (3200m) at Sandown tomorrow will see the Gerald Ryan trained Ironstein burst through the one million dollar prizemoney barrier.
The $90,000 first prizemoney cheque will be enough to lift Ironstein into the million dollar club but the seven year old is also eligible for a $100,000 bonus if he can win after failing to gain a start in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 6.
Ryan is stepping Ironstein up to the 3200m of the Sandown Cup for the first time after finishing second to runaway winner Puissance De Lune in the Group 3 $250,000 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at Flemington last Saturday.
The Zabeel gelding has pleased the Rosehill trainer since last week’s run and is confident Ironstein has shown enough to run out a solid two mile.
“He’s come through last weekend’s race in terrific order and done very well,” Ryan said.
“The question is how he’ll go on the seven-day back-up.
“I’m not certain how he’ll go with it.”
“He ran his heart out on Saturday and was beaten by a horse that might be a freak.”
Queen Elizabeth winner Puissance De Lune was immediately installed as next year’s Melbourne Cup favourite after scoring a effortless five lengths win and Ryan noted that no other runner was making any ground on Ironstein who was leading the chase behind the winner.
Ironstein’s Spring form has been consistent with the seven year old not finishing further back than fifth spot from six starts since his first fourth in restricted company at Rosehill at the beginning of September.
“He’s racing in the best form of his career,” Ryan said.
“Even though he’s not winning he’s carrying four and five kilos more than he was last year and he’s coping with it well.”
One of Ironstein’s best run was two starts back when an unlucky third to Vatuvei in the Group 2 $250,000 Drake International Cup (2500m) at Moonee Valley on October 27 and he kept that form going last start at Flemington.
The Luca Cumani trained Ibicenco is another looking to collect the $100,000 bonus at his third run in Australia after missing a start in the Melbourne Cup.
Ibicenco ran an improved race when fourth to Kelinni in the Group 3 $250,000 The Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on Derby Day and the 3200m is what the five year old will be looking for at this stage of his preparation.
The Gai Waterhouse trained Reuben Percival, David Hayes import Fictional Account, Spechenka and New Zealand trained Back In Black are all eligible the bonus.
In a hotly contested market, Ibicenco is the $3.40 favourite just in front of Ironstein and last start Flemington winner Verdant at $3.60 with Crafty Cruiser the next best in the betting at $8.