Veteran trainer Gerald Ryan has four horses in the 2014 Sires Produce Stakes field and rates Lucky Raquie as his best chance in the Group 1 event at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Golden Slipper fourth placegetter Believe Yourself and Triple Crown Syndication-owned Peggy Jean are both rated better chances in 2014 Sires Produce Stakes betting markets, but Ryan told Racing Ahead this morning that he is leaning towards Lucky Raquie in the $1 million race.
Lucky Raquie made her racing debut with a third place finish behind Alpha Miss and Tetsuko in the Listed Gimcrack Stakes (1000m) at Royal Randwick on October 5 before starting her autumn preparation with a poor performance in the Group 3 Widden Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on February 15.
The Encosta De Lago filly scored her maiden race win in the Listed Black Opal Stakes (1200m) in Canberra on March 9 and was far from disgraced when fifth behind Earthquake and Mossfun in the Group 2 Reisling Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 22.
Ryan believes that Lucky Raquie has the strongest form lines of his four runners heading into the Sires Produce Stakes this weekend and is confident that she will run extremely well – as long as the Royal Randwick track remains in the dead to slow range.
“I think her form lines are stronger than any of them going into it,” Ryan said.
“She ran good in the spring in the Gimcrack, and you forgive her first-up run here on a slow track because she was probably gross.
“She improved on the run and went into the Black Opal and the form from the Black Opal has been proven since.
“She ran terrific here behind Earthquake and I was tempted to run her in the Slipper.
“She will handle the wet track here on Saturday because she is fitter and stronger.
“She has been set for the race since September and she is going really, really good.
“I think that she will run very, very well.
“On a dead track I think I would have a leaning to Lucky Raquie.”
Believe Yourself ($3.90) is currently a narrow favourite in 2014 Sires Produce Stakes betting markets from Peggy Jean ($6.50), Lucky Raquie ($6.50), Darley colt Kumaon ($6.50) and the undefeated Ryan-trained colt Time For War ($8.50).
Ryan is chasing his first win in the Sires Produce Stakes after finishing third with Hinchinbrook in 2010 and My Duke in 1996.