Two internationally trained horses made the trip to Sydney for the autumn carnival and both will leave as Group One winners if Hana’s Goal can land Saturday’s All Aged Stakes at Randwick.
Irish horse Gordon Lord Byron upstaged the locals in the George Ryder Stakes and Japanese mare Hana’s Goal will get a final chance to follow his lead in the All Aged, a race reduced to nine runners with the defection of Snitzerland and Politeness.
Nash Rawiller has picked up the mount, replacing Japan’s Kyosuke Maruta who made a hit-and-run mission to ride the five-year-old when she closed late for sixth in the Doncaster Mile.
The top Sydney jockey tested Hana’s Goal for the first time this week and came away satisfied she still had something to offer this preparation.
“I had an opportunity to ride her on Tuesday morning and she seems to be holding her form very well,” Rawiller said.
“There’s not a lot of her but she’s put the writing on the wall and if a few things fall in her favour she’s up to winning a Group One for sure.
“The Japanese lad the other day rode her very quiet and that’s the best way for her to be ridden, she finishes a lot better.”
The top jockey heads into Saturday as the autumn carnival’s leading Group One rider with four elite victories and has two great chances to add to that on Saturday when he also partners favourite Peggy Jean in the Champagne Stakes.
Hana’s Goal, a specialist miler, is an $11 chance with bookmakers to win over 1400m for the first time in more than two years.
Rawiller doesn’t expect the sharper distance to be a concern.
“I was able to get her to relax in her work the other morning so she didn’t do too much,” he said.
“They’ve kept a bit of spring in her step.”
Weary is the only other All Aged Stakes runner with a Doncaster formline after trainer Chris Waller opted not to extend him to the 2000m of last weekend’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes at his first racing preparation in Australia.
“He wasn’t ready for that yet,” Waller said.
“He’s done well since the Doncaster. I’ve kept him fresh and haven’t worked him too hard.”
Weary and Hana’s Goal will have to break a 10-year hoodoo for Doncaster runners in the All Aged with Private Steer in 2004 the last horse to claim the sprint after contesting the feature Mile.