Rosehill’s Gerald Ryan has a light autumn in mind for his three-year-old Washington Heights who he hopes can develop into a livewire hope for the Emirates Stakes over a mile in Melbourne next spring.
Still a maiden after three career runs so far, Commands colt Washington Heights is looking to Ryan like a potential miler who could target the $1 million Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington Racecourse in early November during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
He debuted at Royal Randwick back in mid-April and ran second behind Hallowed Crown when beaten one and a quarter lengths in the Group 3 Kindergarten Stakes (1100m) after doing his best work over the final 100m.
Washington Heights hit the line strongly that day in the mud, the Kindergarten Stakes run on a Heavy (9), and was sent out for a spell after the run.
He returned four months later at Rosehill on August 16 in the Group 3 Smithfield RSL San Domenico Stakes (1100m) where he encountered totally different track conditions with his home course rated a Good (3).
The expensive $300,000 yearling buy from the Gold Coast Magic Millions Gold Coast Sales in January 2013 had the inside running in the San Domenico but was slow away from barrier one.
He got caught back three on the fence until the turn and was still six lengths off them by the bend.
In a nice effort in the end he was level with the leaders at 150m and only just run down in the end when three-quarters of a length off Nostradamus in another narrow second.
His latest start was then back at Randwick on September 6 for the Group 3 Ming Dynasty Quality (1400m) where he was sent right back from the get go.
It was a disappointing run and Washington Heights could only manage to finish five lengths away sixth behind Panzer Division in a run the stewards queried his regular rider Brenton Avdulla over.
Eventually Ryan discovered a bone chip that the horse had surgery to remove over the spring.
Ryan has no major autumn targets set for Washington Heights who will make only a brief appearance next time in before being turned out again ahead of a more testing Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival campaign.
During the spring Ryan will head towards the Emirates Stakes on November 8 via the traditional races including the $400,000 Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on October 11 and or the $220,000 Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day, October 25.
“In the spring he could end up in the Toorak, Crystal Mile or Emirates, I think he can become a really good miler,” Ryan told TVN on Monday.
He has a bigger autumn being planned out for a number of other promising runners however including his Group 1 winning filly Peggy Jean after her disappointing spring and Rubick.
Winner of the Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on April 12, Myboycharlie three-year-old Peggy Jean had two below par runs in the spring that Ryan is confident she can bounce back from after a proper spell.
“She went out a three-year-old filly and came back a mare,” he said.
“She has really strengthened and thickened and looks really good.
“She wasn’t really right in the spring, she didn’t spell well after the autumn, but this time she spelled really well.”
He plans to kick off her campaign at Randwick on February 14 in the Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m).
Three weeks later Ryan is then looking at the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at the same track as the autumn starting point for stable mate Rubick.
A first-up winner over Platelet in the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1000m) on October 11 when dead-heating for the victory with Bel Sprint, the Encosta De Lago colt was last seen fading in the final stages to run a distant 12th when beaten 11 lengths by Brazen Beau in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Derby Day.
He has been back with Ryan for 10 days and his main spring target is the $350,000 Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 21.