Trainer Peter Moody has both Fat Al and Lidari in the 2014 George Ryder Stakes, but admits that both his gallopers face a tough challenge against a strong field in the Group 1 event at Rosehill Gardens this weekend.
Fat Al and Lidari have both been set for the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 12 and are both taking winning form into the George Ryder Stakes, but are both considered outsiders in the $1 million event; with the pair available at George Ryder Stakes odds of $41.
Moody admits that Fat Al and Lidari may be outclassed in the George Ryder Stakes and told Racing Ahead that he will be instructing jockeys Craig Newitt and Chad Schofield to ride the duo in a forward position.
“Both horses are in good form, they are both going to run on the speed and they both handle soft ground,” Moody said.
“It is an extremely strong race and we are not kidding ourselves, but they are going to race in the first three or four.
“They have drawn the right part of the track on heavy ground and both are very fit and well for a run at this trip.
“This gives them the best lead-in to a Doncaster and whether they are good enough we will learn more tomorrow.”
Fat Al has previously performed strongly at Group 1 level, winning the 2012 Epsom Handicap (1600m) when prepared by Gai Waterhouse, but he will be having his first start at the highest level of racing since joining the Moody stable.
The Al Maher gelding failed to fire during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, but returned to his best form with a third place finish in the Group 3 TAB Rewards Stakes (1400m) before winning the Listed Yalumba Golden Mile (1600m) in impressive fashion at Bendigo on March 15.
Lidari has performed consistently since arriving in Australia at the end of 2012, following 11 starts in France, and bounced back from a flat performance in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 22 to win the Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on March 8.
Moody is chasing his first win in the George Ryder Stakes after finishing third with Sky Cuddle in 2005 and missing the placings with Manighar (2013), Huegill (2012), Tickets (2011) and Cinque Cento (2007).