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Image: Steve Hart
Gerald Ryan says the Expressway Stakes is not a one-horse race

Having prepared two three-year-olds to win the Expressway Stakes in recent years, Gerald Ryan figured the Group 2 sprint would attract a handy young horse.

He just wasn’t expecting it to be boom colt Anamoe.

But Ryan, who trained both Trapeze Artist (2018) and Standout (2020) to Expressway victories at three, doesn’t concur with punters that the $1.70 Sportsbet favourite has a stranglehold on the race as he prepares to saddle up Standout for another tilt.

“Good three-year-olds have got a good record in the race,” Ryan said.

“Standout was one and Trapeze Artist was one. I expected a good three-year-old to be in it, but I didn’t expect Anamoe to be in it.

“Is he screwed right down? I don’t know. He’s trialled all right. I thought they’d have bigger fish to fry and he’d have good improvement in him.”

Outside of Anamoe, Standout and Forbidden Love are the only other Expressway runners with a benchmark rating above 100.

The query with Standout is he has been winless since the 2020 Expressway Stakes, losing form last autumn when his preparation was interrupted by wet tracks before undergoing a spring renaissance in which he ran some cracking races behind the best sprinters in the land.

He finished less than a half-length second to Masked Crusader in the Premiere Stakes and was third behind Eduardo and Lost And Running in the Classique Legend Stakes.

“I know he hasn’t won for a long time but his placings in the spring were behind the fair dinkum sprinters,” Ryan said.

“His fresh form is good and when he gets the right conditions, he runs well.

“I’d be disappointed if he wasn’t top-three and he will improve off it.”

Given Standout’s aversion to wet tracks, Ryan and co-trainer Sterling Alexiou have deliberately brought him to hand early in the hope of dodging the worst of the autumn weather.

Races like the Group 3 Liverpool City Cup (1300m) at Randwick on February 26 are on the radar but his program will be weather dependent.

 
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