Brenton Avdulla is pointing to the Winx form line when assessing the chances of Red Excitement in the Group 1 $1m Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.
“He’s kept raising the bar, he nearly beat Winx,” Avdulla told AAP.
Avdulla takes over the reins from the suspended Josh Parr who has been aboard Red Excitement for his three runs this preparation and two starts back almost caused the boilover over of the Spring Carnival with a daring front running ride on the Gerald Ryan trained eight year old in the Group 2 $250,000 Tattersalls Club Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 2.
Parr set up a substantial lead in the middle stages on the $26 outsider and at one stage it looked like Winx would be in trouble of running down the tearaway leader but the super mare hit top gear in the straight to claim her nineteenth straight win.
Red Excitement has had one more run for a well beaten seventh to Winx in the Group 1 $500,000 Colgate Optic White Stakes (George Main Stakes) (1600m) at Randwick on September 16 but Avdulla is willing to forget that effort and is giving him plenty of hope in the Epsom Handicap.
“I thought he might have just felt the edge and been found wanting a little bit,” Avdulla said.
“This is a winnable Epsom. It’s not overly strong and Gerald’s team’s obviously flying, you probably couldn’t ask for a better stable to ride for at the moment,” Avdulla said.
The Gerald Ryan stable is firing on all cylinders at the moment and his recent wins include the Group 1 $1m De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill last Saturday with Trapeze Artist.
Red Excitement (barrier 3) is marked at $16 for the Epsom Handicap at Ladbrokes.com.au but Avdulla will carry plenty of confidence into the race and said that the $3 favourite Happy Clapper in beatable.
“My bloke is rock-hard fit,” Avdulla said.
Blake Shinn will again be aboard Happy Clapper who has to carry the top weight of 57kg from barrier four.
The Pat Webster trained seven year old goes into the Epsom Handicap with impeccable form and after scoring a first up win in the Group 2 $200,000 Tattersalls Club Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on September 2 finished a brave second to Winx in the George Main Stakes.