Gerald Ryan has two main missions at Eagle Farm tomorrow, to bring down Darley in the TJ Smith and conquer the Brisbane Cup.
The two-year-old Group 1’s this season have been dominated by Darley but this will be their toughest challenge yet with Hot Snitzel standing in the way.
He blew them away last start in the Sire’s Produce Stakes and Ryan says he hasn’t taken a backwards step since then.
“Reports are very good, he’s bright and well and hasn’t missed a feed,” he said.
He also dismisses any concerns people may have of him running twice in seven days.
“We’ve backed him up twice before, he ran huge,” he said.
Obviously the other contenders, headlined by Benfica, are in the same boat anyway so there’s not a lot of downside to Hot Snitzel going into tomorrow’s race.
The only excuse for Benfica’s sixth in the Sire’s was a disrupted start putting him in a poor position, but Ryan said that shouldn’t take anything away from Hot Snitzel’s win.
“He got in a good spot, he made his own luck and quickened when Hughy (Hugh Bowman) went on him,” he said.
There will be no change in the forward striding race pattern and it’ll be a catch me if you can style run from barrier 10 of 11.
“I think he can back up again, he’s going to be the same tomorrow, he’ll be in the first three and he’s going to give himself every possible chance,” Ryan said.
His Brisbane Cup chance isn’t quite as favourable in the betting markets but Ryan can see a lot of upside to the horse.
Ironstein was pulled out of the Winter Cup in Sydney because of a wet track and the gamble has paid off with clear skies above Brisbane and a Good 3 rated surface.
It’s a change of circumstances Ryan is excited about.
“He was struggling on the wet ground, we weren’t going all that crash hot,” he said.
“He’s found his form right, three weeks between runs he seems to race alright off that.”
There have been no issues with the horse in transit and Ryan feels if he’s going to run well it will be tomorrow.
“His work on Tuesday morning was as good as he’s done this time in,” he said.
“He’s going to be very competitive.”
Despite that he’s well aware of the task that faces them in trying to bring down the favourite Glass Harmonium.
“I think the top weight is going to be very hard to beat,” he said