Gerald Ryan is happy with both Washington Heights and Ygritte heading into the 2014 San Domenico Stakes, but the veteran trainer believes that Ygritte is his best winning chance in the Group 2 event at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Ygritte is yet to record a metropolitan race win, after winning on debut at Kembla Grange, but was placed behind the likes of Mossfun and Eloping in the Group 3 Widden Stakes (1100m) and Group 3 Royal Randwick Stakes (1200m) during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
Ryan told Racing Ahead that he believes Ygritte has returned from the spelling paddock in excellent condition and is expecting a forward performance from the daughter of Snitzel in the San Domenico Stakes this weekend.
“She is terrific, stronger and has come up well,” Ryan said.
“She hasn’t had a trial, but she has had a couple of jump outs and she doesn’t cop a great deal of work.
“Everything we threw at her in the autumn she copped every bit of it, she only won her maiden, but she was probably unlucky not to win one or two others.
“I am really happy with the way she is heading into the race.”
Washington Heights has only had one race start to date, when he finished second behind Hallowed Crown in the Group 3 Kindergarten Stakes (1100m) at Royal Randwick on April 12 and Ryan believes that the Commands colt will need to step-up to win the San Domenico Stakes this weekend.
The three-year-old will jump from the inside barrier in the San Domenico Stakes, but he still expects jockey Brenton Avdulla to settle the colt towards the tail of the field before working home strongly in the final stages of the race.
“I am always happy with barrier one no matter where you are, but he won’t be able to make use of it because he has no gate speed and he will get back,” Ryan said.
“At least he won’t covering ground and it is just a nice kicking off point for him.
“His work has been really good since his trial and he has done well.
“He appears to come up really good, but he is still only a maiden and he has to step-up on raceday.
“He will find his feet, balance up and they look as though they will run quick in the race and that might get him out of his comfort zone, but as long as he is hitting the line and runs top four I will be happy with him.”
Washington Heights will likely run in the Group 3 The Run To The Rose (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 30 and will run in the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at the same venue a fortnight later if he is able to earn a start in the race.
Washington Heights is currently available at $4 in the 2014 San Domenico Stakes betting market with Ladbrokes Australia, while Ygritte has been the best-backed runner in early markets and he is into a quote of $5.